Reuse or Re-Use – Which Spelling Is Correct?

A small spelling difference can make a huge difference in the meaning of a phrase or word. Small changes in punctuation can have the same effect. One example of this can be seen in the words re-use or reuse. These words are spelled almost identically. But do they have the same meaning? Read on to learn the difference between these two commonly confused words.

Main Differences Between Re-use or Reuse?

Thinking about the difference between re-use or reuse

The main difference between reuse and re-use is the use of a hyphen. This really illustrates the importance of grammar and punctuation in your writing. If you read enough, you have more than likely seen both word forms from time to time. But which spelling is correct?

Takeaway: According to the Chicago style and AP style guides, the correct spelling is reuse. No hyphen is needed when using the prefix “-re”.

This is actually very similar to the hyphen rules for in person! Now, in very formal texts you may see both reuse and re-use used correctly. This holds true for both the noun and verb form of the words.

Sentence Examples

Just like we the words pricey vs pricy, sentence examples often make it much easier to understand words.

  1. I always try to reuse shopping bags whenever I can to reduce waste.
  2. The company has a policy of encouraging employees to reuse office supplies, such as envelopes and paper clips.
  3. One way to reuse household items is to donate them to thrift stores or give them to friends or younger family members.
  4. Some cities offer programs to collect and reuse electronics, such as computers and cellphones for the poor.
  5. Reusing materials is an important aspect of sustainable living, as it helps to conserve natural resources and minimize waste.

Common Synonyms For Reuse

If you are tired of using the word reuse over and over again, don’t panic. There is a long list of synonyms that can be used interchangeably in your writing. And if you’re not sure if you found the correct synonym, consider using Wordtune or Grammarly to check your work.

  • Recycle – Process of converting used materials into new products.
  • Repurpose – Using something for a different purpose than it was originally made for. (i.e. Using your old grocery bag to pick up dog poop)
  • Refurbish – Repair or restore something to a good condition. Make it like new.
  • Reclaim – Retrieve or recover something that has previously been lost or discarded.

Examples Of Things To Reuse

Now you understand the correct spelling and definition of the word reuse. But what are some real life examples of things to be reused?

  1. Shopping bags – People often reuse shopping bags to pick up after their dogs or to store miscellaneous supplies around the house.
  2. Clothing – Ever heard of hand-me-downs? People reuse clothing and give it to their younger cousins and siblings.
  3. Furniture – You can easily donate furniture to Goodwill or to families in need.
  4. Water bottles -These plastic bottles are often recycled and made into other popular plastic products. This is both environmentally and cost friendly!

This by no means a complete list of things that can be reused. There are many other things that can be reused, depending on your resources. Reusing materials is an important way to save money and reduce waste!

You should also consider checking out our post on year and a half hyphen rules to learn more about how this punctuation is used! As it turns out, it is highly dependent on the context of your writing.

What About British English?

If you weren’t aware already, there are often differences between American and British English. For example, what Americans call an apartment is considered a flat in British English.

However, there is no spelling or punctuation difference between reuse & re-use. Both British and American English rules have this word spelled the exact same. This makes things easy!

Remember, spelling makes a huge difference! There are writers who struggle with simple concepts like how to use contemptible in a sentence. Focus on spelling to improve your writing!

Frequently Asked Questions

Does reuse need a hyphen?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word “reuse” does not require a hyphen. It is typically written as a single word, without any punctuation. However, many writers mistakenly add a hyphen in between the two vowels.

Is reuse a real word?

Yes, “reuse” is a real word. It is a verb that means to use something again. For example, you might reuse a plastic grocery bag or an old shirt as a cleaning cloth.

What is the example of reuse?

An example of reusing something would be using an old water bottle over again. Another example is cities that recycle plastic to make other plastic products. The process helps the environment and saves money.

What is the past tense of reuse?

Reused is the past tense of reuse. For example, you might say “Mark reused his grocery bags to carry his clothes.”

Is reuse a noun?

Reuse is most commonly used as a verb. However, it can be used as a noun to refer to the action of using something again or for another purpose.

The Bottom Line

It can often be confusing to know when to use a hyphen and when NOT to. Now you know that the prefix “re-” does not require a hyphen. The dictionary has reuse as one word. Now you know the standard spelling of the transitive verb reuse. If you’re still having trouble, try using our best grammar checker free tool!