Upfront or Up Front – What’s the Difference?

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

In the world of words, a simple space can make all the difference. As a former editor for authors, I saw confusion between upfront and up front all the time. Are they the same? Do they mean different things? Should there be a hyphen?

So, this guide will teach you the meaning of both and will show you how to use each one correctly. So, sit back and read on!

Is Upfront One Word?

Upfront or Up Front Whats the Difference

Yes, upfront is meant to be used as one word but only when used as an adjective or adverb. It’s supposed to describe something open, honest or paid in advance.

  • Can I be upfront with you?
  • We paid for it upfront.

Upfront or Up Front: Which Do You Use?

The choice between upfront and up front depends on the context you’re dealing with, and I touched on upfront above. But let’s elaborate.

Upfront is classed as both an adjective and adverb for describing honesty and openness or some kind of advance payment.

In contrast to that, up front is a two-word noun phrase mostly used to describe a physical location near the front end of something, like the front of a room or the front of a ship.

Up-Front or Upfront: Is There a Hyphen?

Upfront vs Up Front Ngram
Upfront and up-front usage trend.

There’s absolutely no need to use a hyphen when writing upfront as an adjective. But Merriam-Webster states that the hyphenated version is also accepted, so it just boils down to stylistic preferences. Just make note that the unhyphenated version is the more common of the two.

Upfront Synonyms

  • Straightforward
  • Honest
  • Forthright
  • Candid
  • Advance
  • Prepaid

Up Front Synonyms

  • Near the front
  • At the front

Upfront Examples in a Sentence

  • The real estate agent was upfront with us about the extra fees associated with buying a house, and we were very grateful for that.
  • I always ask for an upfront payment before starting a ghostwriting project.
  • Madeline’s upfront approach made it easy to trust her, which might not be a good thing.
  • Adam was upfront about his intentions from the beginning, and I knew this wasn’t meant to be a serious relationship.

Up Front Examples in a Sentence

Upfront or Up Front Whats the Difference 1
  • Please sit up front with the driver so you don’t miss your stop.
  • My son’s teacher called on him to come up front and present his project.
  • I always prefer sitting up front at the movie theater because it’s easier to see everything.
  • The VIP section is located up front, near the stage, where you can enjoy an up close and personal view of the band and some free food.
  • They stuck me up front on the plane and separated me from my family.

The Debate Ends on Upfront vs. Up Front

I know they seem like they’d work interchangeably, but after reading my quick guide, you should understand why that’s not the case. Upfront is the action/description, and up front is the location. Check out my other easy grammar guides and see what else you can learn!