“Good Night” or “Goodnight”: Quick Summary
If you want to send someone good wishes when parting ways at night or before going to sleep, good night is the standard spelling, whereas goodnight is an informal alternative.
- Good night, Mom.
- Goodnight, Mom.
However, use the two-word spelling as a noun phrase to describe a night and the closed compound word as a modifier to describe a noun.
- We had a really good night.
- I wanted a goodnight hug.
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Which Is Correct: “Good Night” or “Goodnight”?
The answer is simple: when used as a farewell expression, good night and goodnight are both acceptable, but good night is the standard spelling, whereas goodnight is an informal alternative.
However, if you’re meticulous about your grammar and spelling, there’s more you should know about how to properly use the phrases good night and goodnight.
Intrigued? Let’s dive in!
When To Use “Good Night”
Good night is an interjection (or exclamation) used when parting ways at night or before going to bed. It’s a shortened version of longer expressions.
I hope you’ll have a good night, Lidia.
Have yourself a good night, Lidia.
Good night, Lidia.
The longer expressions aren’t necessary, as we can interpret what one means when they say good night. However, if you use a full phrase, it’s recommended to write good night and not goodnight.
I hope you’ll have a good night, Lidia.
I hope you’ll have a goodnight, Lidia.
Furthermore, when spelled as two separate words, good night is a noun phrase. Good functions as an adjective that describes the noun night.
We had a good night together.
You know it will be a good night when all your friends coincidentally end up in the same spot.
Julie and Thomas sang, danced, and had a good night together.
When using good night in this sense, using the spelling variant goodnight is incorrect.
We had a goodnight together.
“Good Night’s Sleep” or “Good Night Sleep”
The more grammatically correct way to say this expression is good night’s sleep. This is because noun phrases can indicate possessions; therefore, a good night’s sleep conveys that the sleep belongs to the good night.
He said he had a good night’s sleep.
He said he had a good night sleep.
When To Use “Goodnight”
When used as a farewell expression, goodnight is a more casual spelling of the interjection good night.
Goodnight, Frank. See you in the morning.
It was nice seeing you. Goodnight.
Get some rest. Goodnight.
In this sense, goodnight is typically used as an isolated expression. As we previously mentioned, using goodnight as part of longer expressions is not recommended.
I hope you have a goodnight, Frank. See you in the morning.
Goodnight can also be used as a modifier. In this case, it should be spelled as a closed compound word.
I read her a goodnight story.
Here, goodnight is used to add information to the type of story that was read—one that is told at night before going to sleep. Take a look at what happens if we use the two-word spelling as an adjective:
I read her a good night story.
This sentence can be interpreted in different ways: Someone read a story that took place at night, or someone read a good story that happens to be told at night. Do you see how confusion can arise?
Here are a few more examples of goodnight being used as a modifier.
I told Sarah to give Jonny a goodnight kiss and then go to bed.
Lily asked that I sing her a goodnight lullaby.
Before going to sleep, I sent her a goodnight message.
Synonyms of “Good Night”
When using good night and goodnight as interjections, there are other expressions you can try instead. Here are a few of them:
Have a pleasant night
Sleep Tight Knowing Your Writing is Bright
We know there’s a lot to remember when it comes to using good night and goodnight correctly. So, here’s a recap:
- When you want to send someone well wishes before going to bed or parting ways at night, good night and goodnight are both acceptable, but good night is the standard spelling. You can remember this by considering the expressions good morning and good afternoon, which are never spelled
- If you intend to describe a night, use the two-word spelling (good night, not
- To modify a noun, use the closed compound spelling (goodnight kiss, not
When in doubt, use LanguageTool as your writing assistant. This multilingual spell and grammar checker can verify the correct usage of good night and goodnight while ensuring optimal tone and style. Give it a try today and start writing flawless and moving goodnight messages.