Upfront vs. up front

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The one-word upfront, meaning (1) straightforward or (2) paid or given in advance, works as an adjective preceding the noun it modifies—for example, upfront payment, upfront answers, upfront agreement. As an adverb or predicate adjective, it’s usually two words—for example, The payment was up front, He was up front with his answers, We made the agreement up front. Yet the one-word form is gaining ground in all uses and may soon be considered standard.


The more consistent use of upfront is as an adjective preceding the noun it modifies—for example:

If you want a reasonable, upfront view, you won’t get any change out of £200. [Telegraph]

There is an upfront deposit of $25. [Houston Chronicle]

It offered an upfront payment of $35 million to win the deal. [Sydney Morning Herald]

Where it follows what it modifies, upfront is sometimes two words and sometimes one:

A council spokesman said the pupils had raised the money upfront. [BBC News]

Second, the nonprofits will need to raise at least some outside money up front . [Boston Globe]

[I]t is best to be upfront with consumers about the preservatives. [New York Times]

New Leafs assistant coach Greg Cronin was up front Monday about being suspended. [Toronto Sun]

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