Difference between check in or check-in

In the English language, “check in” and “check-in” serve different functions and contexts, highlighting the importance of understanding their specific uses. “Check in” functions as a verb phrase, indicating the action of registering upon arrival at a hotel, airport, or event. On the other hand, “check-in” serves as a noun or adjective, referring to the process of checking in or related to the check-in process, such as a check-in counter.

Quick Facts Table

AspectCheck InCheck-In
Part of SpeechVerb (phrasal)Noun/Adjective
FunctionDescribes the action of registering or reporting one’s arrivalRefers to the process of checking in or items/locations associated with it
Example UsageI need to check in at the hotel by 3 PM.“The check-in process was smooth and quick.”
Related TermsChecking in, checked inCheck-in counter, check-in time

Difference Between “Check In” or “Check-In”

Definition of Check In

"Check in" is a phrasal verb used to describe the act of registering upon arrival at a location, such as a hotel, airport, or conference. It often involves confirming one's presence and possibly obtaining keys, boarding passes, or other items necessary for the stay or participation in an event.

Definition of Check-In

As a noun, "check-in" refers to the process involved in checking in. It can also be used as an adjective to describe something related to this process, like a check-in desk or check-in time.

Origin of Check In

The phrase “check in” originated from the idea of checking one’s name off a list or registering it upon arrival, a concept that has been around since the establishment of lodging and transport registration systems.

Origin of Check-In

The term “check-in” evolved alongside the phrasal verb “check in,” becoming more commonly used as air travel and hotel stays became prevalent, necessitating a term for the process itself.


  • Check In: /ˈtʃɛk ɪn/
  • Check-In: /ˈtʃɛkˌɪn/

Comparing Check In and Check-In

AspectCheck InCheck-In
UsageVerb phraseNoun or adjective
ContextAction of registering or reporting one’s arrivalThe process or items related to checking in
Examples– “Please check in at the front desk.”– “You can leave your bags at the check-in counter.”

Usage in Sentences with Explanations

Use of Check In in Sentences

  1. Before boarding the flight, passengers are required to check in online or at the airport counter.
    • Explains the necessity of the check-in action for flight procedures.
  2. Guests should check in at the hotel lobby upon arrival.
    • Indicates the location and action guests must take when they arrive at a hotel.
  3. Please check in with the receptionist for your appointment.
    • Advises confirming arrival for an appointment.
  4. I’ll check in with you later to see how you’re doing.
    • Uses “check in” in a figurative sense to mean making contact or updating.
  5. Can you check in on the kids before we leave?
    • Requests to verify the kids’ situation or well-being.

Use of Check-In in Sentences

  1. The check-in process at the airport is quick if you have no baggage to drop off.
    • Describes the process of checking in at the airport.
  2. You will find your check-in information in the email confirmation.
    • Refers to the details related to the check-in process.
  3. The hotel offers an express check-in service for VIP guests.
    • Mentions a specific type of check-in service offered by the hotel.
  4. There’s a separate check-in desk for business-class passengers.
    • Points out a dedicated location for the check-in process for specific passengers.
  5. Your boarding pass and check-in details are available in our app.
    • Indicates where to find information and documents for checking in.


Understanding the distinction between “check in” and “check-in” is crucial for proper English usage, especially in contexts related to travel and accommodations. While “check in” describes an action, “check-in” refers to a process or items related to this action. Recognizing the difference enhances clarity in communication and writing.

Commonly Asked Questions

  • Is “check-in” always hyphenated when used as a noun or adjective?
    • Yes, “check-in” is hyphenated when functioning as a noun or adjective.
  • Can “check in” be used in non-travel contexts?
    • Yes, it can be used figuratively to mean making contact or following up with someone.
  • Are there any exceptions to the use of “check in” and “check-in”?
    • The main rule is based on function (verb vs. noun/adjective); exceptions would mainly arise in informal uses or colloquial expressions.

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