This tag is for questions concerning the written representation of the English language, especially spelling and word breaks (including hyphenation).

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33 views

Plural of The Letter S

In a previous question here What is the proper way to write the plural of a single letter? (another apostrophe question) someone asked what the plural of a letter is. The answer given was for ...
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1answer
16 views

Spelling of numbers and particle “and”

I know that in order to spell a number you have to insert an "and" between the hundred and units. For instance 301 will be "three hundred and one". But what about larger numbers? 1,301 is "one ...
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0answers
15 views

When do you link composite words with dashes? (compounds)

In German (my mother tongue) it is very common to combine several nouns into a new word by linking them together with dashes. After a word has been established in German, you even see it getting ...
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1answer
56 views

What do you call the phenomenon where you suddenly feel that a word's spelling is wrong?

First of all, does this actually happen to others? Hopefully it does. In my case at least, the most commonplace words suddenly seem to be spelled wrong. The most common examples are why, while, ...
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1answer
49 views

Why are there silent letters? [duplicate]

Why do we put letters in some words which are silent in pronunciation? If they make no sound then why we waste space in words? For example: "Knife"; 'K' is silent "Doubt"; 'b' is silent etc.
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0answers
52 views

Is Mssipllenig ipmrotnat csnodirenig rdaebaility denso't seffur? [duplicate]

I won't mis-spell the entire question because I have made the point... Why do we care about spelling accuracy at all when it has been shown that we can read sentences with the letters in practically ...
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0answers
36 views

When writing in cursive, what is the proper way to write an acronym?

Would I just write the letters in cursive or switch to block text?
5
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1answer
162 views

Proper spelling of variant of “suspicious”

I'm not sure if it's an Aussie thing, but if something is suspicious, then it's sus(s), e.g: Someone added me on Facebook but they don't have a profile picture. I think they're a bit sus(s). The ...
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0answers
17 views

Spelling of onsite [closed]

Onsite is given in the Cambridge Disctionary without a hyphen and in the Oxford Dictionary with a hyphen. Are either correct or does one of them have preference?
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1answer
39 views

“Neandertal”? Have English-speaking scientists now adopted the modern spelling?

In the 19th century the name of the valley in Germany was spelled "Neanderthal", and now it seems to be "Neandertal", with exactly the same pronunciation. But as far as I knew before tonight, the ...
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2answers
28 views

How to spell correctly: “neutral-stability curve” or “neutral stability curve”? [closed]

I have a question regarding spelling the following phrase: "neutral stability curve" in the meaning of "curve of neutral stability". Should I put a hyphen between "neutral" and "stability" or not? Is ...
2
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1answer
92 views

Why is “number” abbreviated as “No.”? [duplicate]

The spelling of number is number, but the abbreviation is No (№). There is no letter o in number, so where does this spelling come from?
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2answers
30 views

Communism/communism and Communist/communist [duplicate]

I have some doubts regarding capitalizing or not the following words: Communism Communist I know that Communism is generally written with capital letter, but sometimes I have this doubt and cannot ...
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1answer
55 views

Word for a word that changes spelling but not meaning?

What is the word that describes a word that has changed in spelling but not meaning, such as how the word "to-day" was once spelt "today"?
3
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1answer
67 views

What kind of spelling error is using “are” in the place of “our”?

It's using the homophone but is there a name for that kind of spelling error in Child Writing Acquisition? The whole phrase is: After that we Played with are inten do will". Of course there ...
11
votes
1answer
2k views

What does “steenking” mean?

I read some source code and came across this sentence: Hopefully it works, and we don't need no steenking BIOS anyway [...] You see the word "steenking" in there. I traced its origin down to the ...
4
votes
2answers
98 views

Why is “batting” spelled with two t's, but “combating” spelled with one?

The "bating" in "combating" is pronounced the exact same way as "batting". It doesn't make sense to me.
2
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0answers
50 views

Usage of Robo vs Robot [closed]

In my job I'm researching about finance management and advisors. There is a class of software called "Robo Advisors". They are not Robot Advisors, but Robo. ...
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votes
1answer
48 views

Difference between “birth weight” and “birthweight”

Is there any US/UK English difference in the spellings "birth weight" and "birthweight"? In scientific journals, I have found usage of both spellings. E.g., Overall birth weight is not different for ...
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0answers
40 views

When did summer lose its capital? [duplicate]

In modern English the seasons spring, summer, autumn and winter, don't start with capital letters. However, it hasn't always been thus. For example, 1667 Milton Paradise Lost iii. 43 ...
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0answers
16 views

Separate or join words [duplicate]

I've read some answers abour when to join two words and when to write them separate, and when to write them with a hyphen. "Username", "user name" or "user-name" Which ...
0
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2answers
60 views

Should I use negotiate or negociate? [closed]

There are some word references and debates for "negociate". Anyone knows if both are correct ? Where does the spelling "negociate" comes from ?
0
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1answer
28 views

Capitalisation of “Nature”

Why is "Nature" usually spelt with a capital letter at the beginning in scientific journals? I am mainly referring to life science here, in case this matters. I am not talking about the obvious ...
0
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1answer
48 views

What would be “inquetht”? [closed]

"I thay, misther," expostulat the Hebrew, "shut that bocth. Thmellth like a blooming inquetht." From "Percival Bland's Proxy" by R. Austin Freeman. I can decipher it as "I say, Mister," ...
2
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1answer
55 views

Is it formal or informal to use y/o as an abbreviation of “years old”? [closed]

This is my first question on this site. I am not a native speaker. My question is, is it formal or informal to use y/o as an abbreviation of "years old" in British English?
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2answers
49 views

'De-exoticize' or 'deexoticize' [duplicate]

As an antonym for exoticize, would you favor de-exoticize or deexoticize? Google currently finds ~2970 results for the hyphenated version and ~440 results for the unhyphenated, but both of those ...
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2answers
52 views

English words with underlining like Uluṟu

Apart from words derived from Australian Aboriginal languages, are there any words in English that are written at least some of the time with individual letters being underlined for pronunciation ...
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3answers
54 views

to be spelled as or to be spelled by?

What is the correct preposition to use with the verb "to spell"? I'm trying to write a sentence "this sound is usually spelled by the letter "e". I'm not sure if I should say "by the letter "e" or "as ...
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3answers
70 views

Should “japanese” be capitalised when used as an adjective

Which one of these is the correct usage: 1) Your favourite Japanese restaurant 2) Your favourite japanese restaurant (being an adjective in this case, it should be in lower case)
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1answer
70 views

What's the meaning of “finniky”?

There is this sentence in a letter of Bertrand Russell: Even the absurdities - the thunder and lightning - are big and invigorating after the stifling finniky appropriateness of everything French. ...
1
vote
0answers
74 views

Is double “l” found in British or American English [closed]

...or why Word 2013, Chrome and other computer programs has this exactly opposite? Nearly every answer and comment to this question clearly states, that double "l" is found in British English (with ...
2
votes
2answers
71 views

Why did -ful prevail instead of -full for adjectives?

A lot of adjectives in English are based on a noun + the ending -ful. The opposite adjective is usually constructed with the ending -less According to Wiktionary, both endings -ful and -full existed ...
2
votes
1answer
62 views

“taxwise,” “tax wise,” or “tax-wise”

What should be the correct spelling for "-wise" combinations in adverbial coinages like "sportswise," "weatherwise," "businesswise, "saleswise," "taxwise," etc.? Should it be "NOUN wise," ...
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1answer
51 views

To address denominations of cash [duplicate]

"Please bring lots of $1.00s and $5.00s" or "Please bring lots of $1.00's and 5.00's"?
3
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2answers
406 views

Retriable or retryable? [closed]

As in "it is possible to try it again". Tryable seems to be the one mostly used online, if you type it in Google. Which spelling is the correct one?
0
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2answers
79 views

Supercede or Supersede?

I work with thousands of part numbers. Some of the referenced items are now unavailable, and a replacement has been found. In communicating to my users, do I say "x supercedes to y" or "x ...
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votes
2answers
1k views

Is “chaperon” versus “chaperone” a US versus British English thing?

I've noticed that "chaperone" can also be spelt "chaperon", without the "e" at the end. Is this a case of American English simplifying a British English word, or something else? The original French ...
5
votes
3answers
138 views

Evaluable vs. Evaluatable

How do we describe "something that can be evaluated"? My first thought was "evaluatable", since we have inflate -> inflatable debate -> debatable equate -> equatable However, ...
4
votes
2answers
80 views

Other special hyphenation examples than eight-teen

According to The TeXbook [Don Knuth, 1984], solution to Exercise 14.8, the word eighteen should be hyphenated eight-teen. It is, indeed, standard practice in pre-reform German to contract triple ...
3
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1answer
72 views

What's the longest word that has survived from Old English?

I recently saw this question Did the "We shall fight on the beaches" speech mainly use words from Old English? If so, why? about Winston Churchill's famous "Fight them on the beaches" speech ...
1
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1answer
117 views

Blogpost vs. blog post [duplicate]

Have I written a blogpost or a blog post? I've seen both forms used but am not sure which is the "correct" one, if there's any.
2
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1answer
262 views

Spelling of Auntie vs Aunty?

I have always spelled the word with which I address sisters of my parents as Auntie. Of late I have noticed that just about everybody else around me seems to spell it as Aunty. My ancestry is ...
0
votes
2answers
53 views

Why is “romaji” so frequently spelt as “romanji”?

Why is the word "romaji" so frequently (mis-)spelt by a fairly large number of people (including past-self) as "romanji"? I tried searching for "misspelt "romanji"", but mainly got hits about things ...
0
votes
2answers
51 views

Color vs Colour: which spelling should you use? [duplicate]

When considering Color vs Colour. I'm just wondering when you should use which spelling and why there are these two spellings for the same word?
1
vote
1answer
81 views

Why “ConvertIBLE” and not “ConvertABLE” [duplicate]

Why do almost all words that are "able" written like: Comparable Disposable Doable Writable Except for the word "Convertible"? Can someone explain this to me or are there no rules tied to this? ...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

Why is “build” spelt with a “u”?

I was just looking at build on Wiktionary and I noticed that in Middle English the word was bilden. Where did the u come from? I can understand why words such as guide have a u; it's to make the g ...
0
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5answers
133 views

Nonstop, non-stop, or non stop? [closed]

Which is the proper spelling of "nonstop?" nonstop or non stop or non-stop
0
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2answers
33 views

What is the term for following a number, ie: ten (10) with the numeric version for clarity

I see this a fair bit in journal papers, and wanted to know if there is a specific reason and/or term for this: having the spelled/lexical version of a number followed by the literal/logical ...
1
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1answer
95 views

Singularity and Plurality of The Terms “God,” “god,” and “gods”

I've been studying some of the books of the English versions of the Bible, and have discovered how their uses of the terms, "God," "god," and "gods" should seem slightly perplexing to English readers ...
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1answer
63 views

Is there a name for the irregular spelling difference between some nouns and verbs?

Most words that have a noun-form and a verb-form (noun/verb pairs) have identical spelling, e.g. a jump (n.), to jump (v.). However, some words have different spelling: advice (n.), advise (v.) ...