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

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9
votes
2answers
1k views

Why are there two Rs in “arrhythmic”?

It seems to me combining "a-"and "rhythmic" would intuitively be spelled "arhythmic". Is there a rule or some other practical reason that it's spelled arrhythmic?
2
votes
1answer
31 views

Spelling etymology of “czar” [duplicate]

Russian emperors are usually referred to as "Tsars" or "Czars". However, while the first spelling (Tsar) utilises the standard English transliteration of the Cyrillic ц as ts, the second ...
1
vote
2answers
41 views

What's the name for when a word changes its pronunciation because of how people read?

With greater literacy in the past 100 years, most English speakers are also proficient at writing. Sometimes due to the great divide between English spellings and the true pronunciation, people will ...
0
votes
2answers
47 views

What is the plural for timeout?

In basketball, football, hockey, and many other sport the teams get a set number of timeouts. I was watching a summer league NBA game and there were some stat nerds talking and one referenced that ...
0
votes
2answers
65 views

How was English orthography reformed?

I understand that English speakers have dictionaries, manuals of style, and grammar books at their disposal to know how to write correctly, but is there the most basic book of rules on which all ...
3
votes
2answers
51 views

Word/term meaning “conversion from one dialect to another”?

Is there a word in linguistics that means conversion from one dialect to another dialect? In most sources in which I've looked¹, the word "translation" only means conversion of one language to ...
1
vote
1answer
22 views

Which word is most correct in this case: re-settle or resettle?

In reference to the word settle as it pertains to the specific definition: Determine; decide on: There is some debate internally on whether to use the word resettle which only has one ...
0
votes
0answers
26 views

Using “a” vs “e” in spelling [closed]

I am making frequent mistakes using "a" and "e" in spelling. I dont know where to use which. Is there any rule for that ?
0
votes
0answers
60 views

What English word has the longest string of vowels? [closed]

It was asked here before of an English word that has the most consecutive consonants. It set me wondering whether there is an existing word that has consecutive vowels. As far as I have searched, ...
0
votes
2answers
42 views

Capitalization of “A” in “Dear All” [duplicate]

At my work place, whenever an e-mail is sent to more then one person, it starts with "Dear All" or "Dear all". Should the letter "A" be capitalized in "All" as it is not a proper noun? Would it be ...
1
vote
2answers
33 views

Whereafter or where after, one or two words?

If I Google the word whereafter, multiple online dictionaries claim it is one word. However, if I type it in Microsoft Outlook, then spellcheck insists that it is two words. Grammarly seems to accept ...
0
votes
0answers
30 views

“Homebuyer,” 'home-buyer,“ or ”home buyer"? [closed]

Is the buyer of a home (homebuyer/home-buyer/home buyer) open, closed, or hyphenated? Example: A homebuyer should always review the appraisal carefully. I looked it up in Merriam-Webster's ...
0
votes
2answers
73 views

Is there a term for a word created by adding a letter to an existing word? [closed]

It's possible to generate English words by adding letters to existing words—for instance: last > blast utility > futility Is there a term for this, i.e. when a word is created by adding a letter ...
1
vote
2answers
186 views

Should I write 'or' or '/'? [closed]

I can't decide. In a formal letter, addressed to somebody I don't know, which one would you go with?... Dear Sir/Madam or Dear Sir or Madam
9
votes
3answers
1k views

Is 'ditzel' a real word?

When I was a Cardiology fellow at UMass Medical Center, there was a technician who would use a certain word to mean "a little". It sounded like /a ditzle/. I never asked her how it was spelled and ...
4
votes
2answers
570 views

Gray or Grey, Which one should I use? [duplicate]

I have seen people using both Gray and Grey but I wonder which one is correct and when to use one?
2
votes
4answers
70 views

What is the plural form of “S.Sgt.”?

Is it "S.Sgt.'s" or "S.Sgts."? Thanks.
0
votes
3answers
80 views

easy-going vs easy going

Which one is correct: Clive never worries. He's really easy-going. OR Clive never worries. He's really easy going. As per my understanding, hyphen comes between compound adjectives if ...
0
votes
0answers
38 views

Where to put the hypen (if any) in “status quo oriented”?

Writing the following sentence, During the negotiation of both regulations, bargaining power was distributed in favour of the status quo oriented states. I wonder where to put a hyphen, if ...
2
votes
1answer
51 views

“Ninehammer” as variant spelling of “ninnyhammer”

I'm reading Neal Stephenson's historical novel Quicksilver, published in 1998 and set around 1700. There are several passages where the characters use the word ninehammer, as in the following: ...
3
votes
1answer
71 views

Thrown by 'a broncho.' Or is it a 'bronco'? Or a 'bronc'?

Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, first edition (1908) has this entry for broncho: Broncho (brŏn´kō), n. {Sp. bronco rough, wild.} A native or a Mexican horse of small size. {Western U.S.} Four ...
1
vote
1answer
69 views

Can I use two ampersands in my logo?

I am thinking of updating my logo. Would it be wrong to write John Smith Advocate & Notary & Mediator ?
4
votes
3answers
106 views

etymology of “ie” versus “ei” words

I have noticed that certain, seemingly random, words tend to sometimes have "ie" or "ei" in them. For example, the word "Foreign" has an "e", followed by an "i", but the word "friend", has an "i", ...
1
vote
1answer
59 views

Propagatable vs propagable?

propagatable vs propagable Which one is correct? I've seen both in usage.
17
votes
2answers
2k views

How was the letter -u- written in Old English?

I was reading the etymology for 'come (v.)' when I encountered: [...] The substitution of Middle English -o- for Old English -u- before -m-, -n-, or -r- was a scribal habit before minims to avoid ...
1
vote
1answer
34 views

Is it acceptable to break a line without creating a new paragraph?

Let's say I've got two sentences that are sufficiently related that a new paragraph isn't warranted, but disconnected enough that I start considering putting the last one on a new paragraph. Is it OK ...
-4
votes
1answer
53 views

Can anyone believe “Dord” was in the dictionary for 13 years?! Also, it's a mistake [closed]

I once found out that "Dord" was added to the dictionary for 13 years when it was actually meant to be "D or d," which is the abbreviation for density. Did this happen because the dictionary didn't ...
2
votes
1answer
60 views

Thesis: spell out numbers or not?

I'm unsure if I should spell out numbers or not, in this specific case of the thesis: This is the area I'm concerned with and I tried both approaches: Setup 1 is a static setup with seven nodes in ...
1
vote
1answer
80 views

Has “Extraordinary” Ever Been Spelled with an A-O Ligature?

For example, instead of spelling it as extraordinary, you would write it as extrꜵrdinary. This also applies to its derivations, such as instead of extraordinaire, you would write extrꜵrdinaire. I'm ...
1
vote
0answers
76 views

Spelling etymology of “-il[l]” words

I've noticed that modern English seems to have a very strong bias to spell verbs which end with "-(consonant)-il" with double "l", i.e. "-ill". The overwhelming majority of such verbs (like to will, ...
0
votes
1answer
63 views

Words containing 2 overlapping standalone words [closed]

I'm looking for words that contain at least two other overlapping words. Word category or origin do not matter (in particular, constituent and containing terms may differ in these regards). Of course, ...
0
votes
1answer
80 views

Is 'facit' an English word, or spelled much differently than it sounds?

So I know that this is the worst kind of question to ask in text on the internet, but this is driving me crazy. I've used this word for years never knowing that I guess it isn't a word? I will try to ...
1
vote
2answers
64 views

Is there a name for the Mc or O' when used at the beginning of a surname?

My daughters asked me what the Mc, Mac, and O' beginnings of names are called. Is there a specific name for that specific part of a surname?
1
vote
0answers
56 views

Exaggerating the pronunciation of a vowel or consonant

Is there a word for exaggerating the pronunciation of a vowel or consonant by holding it longer than normal? When conveying this in writing, does it fall in the same category as an accent or dialect ...
-2
votes
1answer
129 views

The same pronunciation but spelled differently [duplicate]

What do we call words that sound (pronunciation) similar but have different spellings? Just for example : come - kom you - u I've already seen this post but that does not comply with the ...
0
votes
1answer
57 views

Any rules for “-ich” and “-itch” word endings?

Sometimes people are confused between -ich and -itch. For example, I saw someone make a mistake by using swich instead of switch. I wonder, are there any rules for which words have -ich ending and ...
3
votes
1answer
86 views

Mnemonic for remembering how to spell “Guarantee” [closed]

It seems that I've been trying to remember how to spell guarantee for years, and I still find myself doing the right-click-fix, every. single. time. Are there any tricks / mnemonics for this word?
4
votes
2answers
194 views

A single vs a double consonant issue.

According to The Grammarist: till, until and 'til: Till, as a variant of until, is a preposition meaning up to the time of. Till—not ‘til, an unnecessary abbreviation—has been in the language ...
-1
votes
1answer
162 views

Lowercase “moon”, “sun” and “solar system”? [closed]

From a grade school textbook: Good morning, children. I'm an astronomer. I study the stars and the planets. They're amazing! We live on the Earth. The Earth is a planet. It rotates all ...
-1
votes
2answers
119 views

How is the past tense of “error” spelt in British English? [duplicate]

How is the past tense of "error" spelt in British English? Wiktionary says that it's "errored", but its entry for errored doesn't explicitly say it's valid for British English, and I thought it'd get ...
13
votes
1answer
8k views

“Programming” versus “programing”: which is preferred?

I was surprised that my spell checker did not complain for programing with one m, so I Googled it, and found on free dictionaries that both forms were acceptable. Which one is more common? Does it ...
4
votes
1answer
284 views

When are 'tion', 'sion', and 'cion' used [closed]

I am confused when the spellings tion, sion, and cion are used in words that contain the shun sound. Are there any rules to help me understand when to use the correct spelling in a word?
15
votes
3answers
763 views

Why does attach have two Ts and detach have only one?

The title says it all. We have two words: Attach Detach Shouldn't they be...? Attach Dettach Or? Atach Detach
1
vote
2answers
51 views

Edited vs emitted - why one t vs two t's

Why does "edited" have one "t" and and "emitted" has two? "Edit" and "emit" are so similar in spelling and pronunciation. I keep wanting to type "editted" for some reason.
-2
votes
1answer
51 views

Tenure or tenor clarification [closed]

I am writing a direct quote and am unsure which spelling is correct. The quote is, "As I understand from the tenure of your testimony ..." Would that be tenure or tenor? Thank you in advance.
0
votes
2answers
28 views

Do parentheses need spaces either side?

I should place parentheses after a space or without any spacing? Which one of below sentences is right? We adopted DM (Data Mining) in this lecture. We adopted DM(Data Mining) in this ...
15
votes
4answers
2k views

Is the lowercase pronoun “i” a feature of Indian English?

The Rule The personal pronoun “I” is always capitalized in English, regardless of its position in a sentence. This is an orthographic convention that every native speaker should know. Whenever I ...
0
votes
2answers
63 views

Which is correct, 'self-employed' or 'self employed'? [closed]

In the sentence Self-employed [or Self employed] farmer Belle Vue has lived in the state of Washington all her life. should there be a hyphen between Self and employed?
-3
votes
1answer
100 views

What's the difference between “Thankful” and “Thank Full”? [closed]

What's the difference between "Thankful" and "Thank Full" ?
3
votes
1answer
94 views

Why is the word 'always' written with only one 'L'? [closed]

Does anybody know why the word always is written with one L, although it is formed by putting together two words, all and ways?