The difference between “hand over” and “handover”

The difference is that “hand over” is a verb and “handover” is a noun. To be precise, “hand over” is a phrasal verb and “handover” is a compound noun.

So we say: He handed over the money on Saturday.
And: The handover took place on Saturday.

There are many of these in English, and they are particularly popular in business writing. Here are a few more:

Verb Noun
break out
buy out
follow up
pay back
print out
sell down
sell off
spin off
start up
take away
take off
take over
turn over
breakout
buyout
follow-up
payback
printout
selldown / sell-down
sell-off
spin-off
startup / start-up
takeaway
takeoff / take-off
takeover
turnover

Note that some compound nouns are written as one word, and some have a hyphen (and some may be written both ways). Phrasal verbs are always two (or more) words.

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3 Responses to The difference between “hand over” and “handover”

  1. Christian Oppong says:

    Very helpful. Gracias!!!

  2. Hans Teijgeler says:

    I would have expected to see also the adjective form. Something like “the hand-over procedure”

    • Thanks Hans. As an adjective, I think “hand-over” and “handover” are both acceptable. However, if the hyphen is not necessary in the compound noun I would tend to avoid using it in the adjective.

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