Compounds

Q. What style do you recommend for the words “health care,” two words or one? If two words are preferred, do you hyphenate it when it appears as an adjective, as in health-care company? Thanks.

A. For the answers to questions about word definitions and spellings, we recommend that you use a dictionary. (Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, eleventh edition, is a favorite of ours.) Since “health care” is now listed as two words in Webster’s, we would follow suit. Webster’s also notes that the compound is “usu[ually] hyphenated when used attributively.”