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
selldown / sell-down
startup / start-up
takeoff / take-off

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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