In the English language, self-defense can be written as one word, “selfdefense,” or as two words, “self defense.” The hyphenated form is somewhat more common than the one-word form, but both forms are acceptable.
The meaning of self-defense is the same regardless of whether it is written with or without a hyphen. It refers to the use of reasonable force to protect oneself or others from imminent harm. This can include both physical force, such as punching or kicking, and verbal force, such as yelling or threatening.
There is no official rule that dictates whether self-defense should be written as one word or two words. However, there are some general guidelines that can be followed to help make the decision.
- If the two words are being used as a noun, they should be hyphenated. For example, “Self-defense is a fundamental human right.”
- If the two words are being used as a verb, they should not be hyphenated. For example, “I have the right to defend myself against attack.”
- If the two words are being used as an adjective, they can be either hyphenated or unhyphenated. For example, “The self-defense class was very informative” or “The self defense class was very informative.”
Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to hyphenate self-defense is a matter of style. There is no right or wrong answer, so writers should use whichever form they prefer.