'Without' or 'With Out': Which is Correct?

By Amy Gilmore, updated on May 5, 2023

Are you stuck on whether to use 'without' or 'with out?' I can help!

Take a look at this guide to learn which to use and why.

Need a quick answer? 

Here it is:

  • With out' is a misspelling. 
  • The correct spelling is 'without.'

You have the short answer. However, this is a commonly used word in the English language. So, whether you are learning English or trying to become a better writer, you need to understand why 'without' is correct.

So, read this guide to the end. I promise you will have a firm grasp of which version is correct and why.

Which is Correct?: 'Without' or 'With Out'

You know that between 'without' or 'with out,' 'without' is correct, and 'with out' is a misspelling. However, do you know why?

In English, with is used as a suffix in some compound words. For example:

  • Withstand
  • Withstood
  • Withhold

When to Use 'Without'

'Without' is a commonly used English word. So, it is important to know how and when to use it.

So, when do you use 'without?' 

  • Use 'without' to say that something is not with something else.

For example, I might say:

                    'Without' the scholarship, Carrie cannot attend college.

How to Use 'Without' Correctly

To use 'without' correctly, you must always turn the two words into one word, also known as a compound word. There are quite a few two-word phrases that you compound in English.

For example:

  • Outstanding
  • However
  • Forefront
  • Shutout
  • Shoutout
  • Therefore
  • Stronghold
  • Yourself
  • Somewhere
  • Somewhat
  • Somehow
  • Sometime
  • Someway
  • Someone
  • Worthwhile
  • Timeout
  • Timestamp
  • Anything
  • Anywhere
  • Anyhow
  • Anyway

You can use it as a preposition.

For example:

  • You went to the store 'without' us.

You can also use it as an adverb.

For example:

  • Please bring me the float 'without' running near the pool.

It can also be a conjunction to join independent clauses.

For example:

  • You can't make it 'without' everyone knowing that.

Definition of 'Without': What Does 'Without' Mean?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the compound word 'without' as:

  • Something lacking or absent

It can also mean:

  • Outside
  • With a lack of someone or something
  • Unless
  • In the absence of

Synonyms of 'Without'

'Without' has a few alternatives, including:

  • Sans
  • Minus
  • Absent
  • Withheld
  • Withholding
  • Wanting

Terms with 'Without'

Some of the terms that include 'without,' include:

  • Without love
  • Without want
  • Without a leg to stand on
  • without a prayer
  • Without a chance
  • Without a doubt
  • Without a fuss
  • Without fail
  • Without further ado
  • Without a fuss
  • Without blinking an eye
  • Without batting an eye
  • Without scratching the surface
  • Without a care
  • Without a sound
  • Without a peep
  • Without much effort
  • Without a shadow of a doubt
  • Up a creek without a paddle
  • Goes without saying
  • Make do or do without
  • Without a shadow of a doubt
  • Go off without a hitch
  • Without fanfare
  • No smoke without fire
  • Without fear
  • Without cause
  • Without hope
  • Without recourse

Pronunciation of 'Without': How to Pronounce 'Without' Correctly

You should have a good understanding of how and when to use 'without.' However, you still need to know how to pronounce it.

So, here is a little guide:

  • To pronounce 'without,' you use the phonetic spelling:


How to Use 'Without' in a Sentence

Now you understand why 'without' is correct and how to use and pronounce it. So, look at the sentences below to ensure you know how to use 'without' in a sentence.

  • Without love, life is dull. Sure, you can avoid a lot of heartbreak, but it is lonely without someone to share your joys and sorrows.
  • I have lived without the things I want for entirely too long.
  • Are you going to tell her that the order arrived without her dress? Without it, she will not be able to get married this weekend.
  • We are going to have to go without for a little while. However, living in our dream home without those pesty neighbors next-door will be worth it.
  • How long do you plan to go without the essentials? We know you will not survive for long without water and a source of food.
  • They had to play without music because the sound technician was late.
  • He had difficulty finding a job without marketable skills and a college degree.
  • When he asked her out, she said no without batting an eye.
  • Without your best player, you do not have a chance of winning the championship.
  • Some jurors said they could not convict the defendant without a shadow of a doubt. So, the trial resulted in a hung jury.
  • The students had no idea what to do without the teacher giving them instructions about completing the assignment.
  • Without groceries, we will not have food to cook for dinner. We have a half gallon of milk and a leftover pizza in the refrigerator.
  • Would you mind helping me? Without significant help, I do not know how I will finish.
  • The runt of the litter was tiny, without special attention, we are afraid he won't make it.
  • Without a doubt, we will be there by 10:30 tomorrow morning. Please do not be late because we can't start without you.

Final Thoughts on Whether to Use 'Without' or 'With Out'

You should know by now whether 'without' or 'with out' is correct. However, here is a quick recap: 

  • 'With out' is incorrect. 
  • It is grammatically correct to use the compound word 'without.' 
  • 'Without' can be a preposition, adverb, or conjunction. 
  • The definition of 'without' is lacking or with the exception of something. 

Even with a clear understanding, many people struggle with whether to use two words or one. So, if you get stuck in the future, you can always come back here to brush up on this grammar rule.

You can also learn a lot from the other guides here. Look at the confusing words section to learn the difference in many other commonly misused or misspelled terms. You will improve your verbal and written communication by learning how to define, use, and pronounce these words correctly.

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Written By:
Amy Gilmore
Amy Gilmore is one of the lead freelance writers for WritingTips.org. She has been a professional writer and editor for the past eight years. She developed a love of language arts and literature in school and decided to become a professional freelance writer after a demanding career in real estate. Amy is constantly learning to become a better writer and loves sharing tips with other writers who want to do the same.

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