Telling someone “good night” is a nice way of wishing them a peaceful evening or sleep. But knowing whether and when the phrase is capitalized is challenging.
Is Good Night One Word or Two Words?
Before we get into whether “good night” is capitalized, let’s understand whether the phrase is one or two words.
The phrase “good night” maybe one word or two words depending on the situation.
Goodnight, as one word, is used when someone is leaving and wishing others “goodnight”.
“Good Night” as two words is used to describe how someone’s night is going or went. For example, “I hope you had a good night last night“.
The confusion generally arises because the word “goodbye” is one word while “good afternoon” and “good morning” are two words.
For this reason, people have recently begun using the phrase “good night” to mean “goodnight” for consistency. After all, you wouldn’t write “goodmorning” or “goodafternoon”.
So, Is Good Night Capitalized? What About Goodnight?
Generally, the phrase “good night” is not capitalized when used in a sentence. The same goes for “goodnight”.
However, the phrase “goodnight” is capitalized when used in an email exchange, especially when it is used as a salutation at the beginning of an email. Email salutations (Dear, Hi, Hello, etc.) are capitalized anyways and “goodnight” is no exception. The same would apply for “good morning.”
Examples of Using Good Night and Goodnight
“Goodnight, Mr. Kim!” said Jack as he was leaving work. It had been a great day at work and would be a good night. Before he went to sleep, he texted his wife, who was away on a business trip, and said “Goodnight!”
In the paragraph above, all three examples of the phrase “good night” were used. When Jack leaves the office he says goodbye to his boss so “goodnight” is capitalized. In the next sentence, the phrase is used generically in a sentence so it is not capitalized. Finally, in the text, Jack once again uses “good night” as a salutation so it is capitalized.
When Do You Say Goodnight?
You should say goodnight only after about 5 pm. Until 5 pm you should say “good afternoon.”
Do You Use a Comma After “Goodnight”?
If you writing an email or letter and not using a salutation, you should use a comma right after saying “goodnight.” For example:
Please find attached the report you were asking for.
If you are including a salutation in a formal email or formal letter, then you will add a comma before and after the salutation. For example:
I hope you are doing well.-Jack
Or for a generic salutation you can write:
I hope you are doing well.
A list of some common salutations are:
- Goodnight, name,
- Goodnight, all,
- Goodnight, everyone,
- Goodnight, ladies,
- Goodnight, gentlemen,
- Goodnight, team,
The same applies even if the sentence ends after the salutation. In this case, you can say “Goodnight, Jim.” or “Goodnight, everyone.”
If you include another salutation beforehand, include a comma between that salutation and “goodnight.” For example, “Hello, goodnight.”
Adding a comma before the salutation is considered formal and does not need to be included in an informal email. The following is perfectly acceptable in friendly communications:
We’re getting dinner at 5 o’clock at the steakhouse.