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Goodnight Vs Good Night: Which One To Use?

by subhasree nag

Farewells are important. It could either be a promise to meet again or a final goodbye once and for all. And with that, we wish them a good life. There are many variations through which we can wish them. But the most common one is a good night. But again, there are two spellings that are used for this. Is it goodnight or a good night? 

Today, we are going to look into goodnight vs good night in detail. Good night is basically a farewell interjection or, in other words, a small phrase that we use to express our emotions and wish someone a good night. The interesting thing about interjections is that these can suffice as a complete sentence and stand alone.

Goodnight Vs Good Night: The Difference

Goodnight vs good night_ The difference

The main question here is whether this is one word or two words. The phrase is spelled in both ways, and both ways are correct. Both spellings are acceptable. Both good night and goodnight are correct and can be used to wish someone a good sleep or when you are parting ways.

But when addressing a formal matter or writing some formal email, the phrase is spelled in two different words. This two-word spelling is also used when two people are going their separate ways and wishing one another to have a good night.

Goodnight As A Noun

Following the general standards of English grammar, goodnight plays the role of a noun. But there is no such purpose of the word as a noun. In these cases, farewell is actually the action of wishing the other person to have a good night.


  • They wished their goodnights before they went to bed.
  • Mrs. Hudson’s kids are so well-behaved that they announce their goodnights always. 
  • I never knew it would be so hard to bid them goodnight and goodbye.
  • The children wished everyone goodnight and went to bed.
  • Goodnight, I will see you the next day in college.

Goodnight As An Adjective

The phrase good night is only applicable when we are using it for greeting someone. Goodnight is an adjective that is used to describe a noun in grammar. For example, a goodnight prayer or a goodnight walk. And again, when we give someone a goodnight kiss, we wish them to have a good sleep for the night. 

When we use the term together as one single word, it mostly denotes an adjective. And the two-word phrase is mostly used as an interjection.


  • She signed off for the night with a goodnight kiss.
  • She went for a goodnight walk before going to bed to clear her mind.
  • I think it is time for your bed and your goodnight kiss.
  • She took me for her goodnight walk and told me all about her ex-husband.
  • The children did their goodnight prayer and went to bed.

Some Outside Examples Of Good Night And Goodnight

In English literature, you will find the use of both spellings. Let’s check out a few examples from there to see how it has been used in books.

  • “The Librarian looked at his charges approvingly, made his last rounds of the slumbering shelves, and then dragged his blanket underneath his desk, ate a goodnight banana, and fell asleep.” – Sourcery, Terry Pratchett
  • “Good night, good night! parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say good night till it be morrow.” – Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare
  • “One by one, families broke off with a good night and a squeeze of the hands, suddenly grateful for the company of neighbors. Doors closed to warm houses. Candles were lit in windows.” – The History Of Love, Nicole Krauss
  • “The woman who picked up the other end of the phone was named Michelle. And I told Michelle that I was a kid and did not need an exercise machine, but I hoped she was having a good night. That’s when Michelle hung up on me.” – The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky
  • “It’s when I’m sitting alone with the phone in my hand dialing your number and hanging up that I would trade a thousand tomorrows for just one yesterday. Then I could just call you to tell you goodnight.” – A Million Little Pieces, James Frey

How Do You Remember The Difference Between Goodnight And Good Night?

It is always better to see the term separate, like “good night,” when you are using it as an interjection. It is a safe choice to use the two-word spelling since this is the one that has been accepted for a long time in the English dictionary. 

How do you remember

When you are using it as an adjective, it is okay if you are using it without the space and like one word. So I think it is clear by now when and how you can use this word, but remember, if you are using it like one word without a space, it is not incorrect. Both the spellings are accepted.

Bottom Line

To get things clear, you can use both the spellings in all the places, but it is better to use it like one word when you are using it as a noun or an adjective and use it like two separate words when you are using it as an interjection. 

However, the examples that have been provided to support the arguments clearly show that both spellings are accepted and can be interchanged, so even if you forget to put a gap between the word or use it as one word, it would not be incorrect. I hope the confusion between goodnight vs good night is clear for now.

But if you have to find it out and use the words separately, then you can, depending on the noun, adjective, and interjection.


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