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

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1answer
35 views

Why do 'organization' and 'organisation' both seem to be commonly accepted spellings, and when is one used over the other?

Looking at several online dictionary resources, it seems that the accepted spelling of "organization" is with a 'z', however, even on this site, "organisation" is frequently used as the spelling. Why ...
0
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1answer
26 views

“Respect, where has it gone?” vs “Respect. Where has it gone?”

We are using the following topic for a speech contest and there is a question as to punctuation Respect, where has it gone? or Respect. Where has it gone?
0
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1answer
23 views

why is it “one European institution”, but “European Institutions” (with capital i) if talking about several authorities?

I found this spelling differentiation on the website of the EU commission and you can see it on wikipedia, too: "There are a range of European Institutions in Strasbourg (France), the oldest of which ...
-4
votes
2answers
68 views

Spelling History: Dying vs Diing [on hold]

As I recall, when I was in Grade School (40 years ago), the spelling of the word dying was taught as diing. Am I losing my mind or was that possible?
0
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3answers
90 views

Noun to describe a “typo-filled” letter

I am changing my e-mail signature on my phone to read: Sent from my Samsung Galaxy S4. Please do not mistake my brevity and/or misspellings for apathy and/or ignorance. I am looking for a ...
2
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1answer
82 views

Is “thank's” an alternative correct spelling?

My colleague who is American spells "thank's" (with an apostrophe) and when I ask him why he said because it's "more formal" and "he uses American English". Is this true? Can you really spell ...
-1
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0answers
37 views

Barcode or Bar Code? [closed]

A simple question, is it Barcode (one word) or Bar Code (two words)? Merriam Webster lists it as two words while the OED and Wikipedia both list it as one. Which spelling should we be using? Edit: ...
1
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1answer
33 views

Complacency vs complacence, stagnancy vs stagnance, etc

I could only find this blog that suggests that complacence is "is a calm satisfaction with oneself" whereas "complacency means a self-satisfaction but coupled with a lack of awareness of what is ...
0
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1answer
82 views

Shalln't vs. Shan't in British English

I am a British English speaker and often use "shall" and "shall not". When I contract "shall not", I pronounce it [ʃɑlnt] -- that is, the "l" sound remains. My question, therefore, is how do I spell ...
1
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1answer
54 views

Why is 'spatial' written with a t instead of a c?

The word 'spatial' is obviously derived from the word 'space'. So why is it usually written with a 't' instead of a 'c'? Is there a historical reason or is it because of some grammar rule I do not ...
1
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1answer
51 views

What does this person say in this video?

I don't know if this is allowed but I want to know what this Gwyneth Paltrow say in this video at 0:51 to be exact. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZORey6EHF3g or ...
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votes
1answer
64 views

When using symbols instead of words in writing, do I use “an” or “a” before the symbol? [duplicate]

The sentence in question: Every list item that is marked with an * is optional. The word "asterisks" isn't spelled out, so I'm not sure if "an" or "a" is the correct word to put before it.
0
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2answers
31 views

Adding “-ing” to a verb ending with a pronounced “e”

When a verb ends with a "e" that is pronounced, do you get rid of the "e" when you add "-ing"? For example, would you say "His karaoking last night was really unique", or "His karaokeing last night ...
0
votes
2answers
44 views

Confusion over the general rules governing the use of the hyphen in English [duplicate]

I often get confused by the rules for using hyphens. According to this entry from the Oxford Dictionaries web site, I must always use a hyphen in these cases: Hyphens are used in many compound ...
7
votes
1answer
378 views

Is there any rule for pronouncing words beginning with “re-”?

It’s hard for me to guess how to pronounce words beginning with re- correctly. Sometimes it is /rɛ/ as in reference, but sometimes it is /ri/ as in report. Is there any rule about this?
18
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5answers
3k views

Correct, clear, concise way to use “potato-potato” in writing

"You say tomato, I say tomato" and the song from the beginning. As an informal turn of speech, it can be used to show that two or more parties are talking about basically the same thing but not in ...
0
votes
1answer
52 views

What is the right way to spell the title “Diana and Tom's Grill” or “Diana's and Tom's Grill”? [duplicate]

I am looking for the most common way how people in US/Canada spell something like this, preferably in accordance with Chicago Manual of Style. What is the right way to spell the title "Diana and Tom's ...
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votes
3answers
98 views

Are the commas right? [duplicate]

The man, who is standing there, is her ex-husband. Are these commas needed? Or is it: The man who is standing there is her ex-husband.
8
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3answers
175 views

Do any words have three or more correct spellings? [closed]

I can call to mind several words with another correct spelling (colour, analogue, disc, barbeque) but I can't think of any with multiple correct spellings, i.e. three or more equally acceptable, ...
2
votes
2answers
55 views

Is there any reason so many people abbreviate “etcetera” as “ect.”? [closed]

People do many strange things, such as spell "loose" (the opposite of tight) as "lose" (the opposite of win) - and even vice versa sometimes. Another oddity is when they say "literally" when that is ...
-1
votes
1answer
55 views

How to correctly write: “In Spite” [closed]

What is the correct way to write: "in spite" ? Some references are now saying "in-spite" is permissible? We do not trust that!
2
votes
4answers
112 views

Elven or Elfin? [duplicate]

I am writing a fantasy book and am having trouble with when and how to use words such as "Elfin", "Elven", "Elfish", and "Elvish". I don't understand the difference between using a V or an F. Help?
0
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4answers
59 views

Topup vs top-up

Which noun is correct? a topup a top-up Which verb is correct? to topup to top-up
3
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1answer
79 views

Why do many names use “y” in place of expected “i”?

I would expect names like Taylor, Poynting have "i" in place of actual "y", because they sound very similar to words "tailor" and "pointing". There's also Feynman, which some (not really credible ...
3
votes
1answer
83 views

Non-preemptive? Non-pre-emptive? Emptive?

We can describe something as pre-emptive, no issue there. If something isn't such, how can we write that? Word gives me red squiggles on 'Non-preemptive', but this looks silly with a double ...
3
votes
1answer
70 views

“Cancellation”, “Canceled”, “Canceling” — US usage

I'm trying to figure out if there is a specific rule behind the word "cancel" that would cause "cancellation" to have two L's, but "canceled" and "canceling" to have only one (in the US). I ...
0
votes
2answers
64 views

Space before computer storage abbreviations [closed]

Forgive me if this has already been asked, I could not find it via search. My question is this: what is the proper way to append computer storage abbreviations to a number? For example, a 500 ...
6
votes
3answers
445 views

Connotations of Letter 'X'

In the English language, the letter X has a connotation of mystery, intrigue, or excitement. Examples: Planet X: A theoretical planet of mysterious origin, or an unknown planet. [Edit: Bad example, ...
1
vote
1answer
129 views

Correct spelling and/or hyphenation for electronic commerce

What is the correct spelling and/or hyphenation for the abbreviation of electronic commerce? I have seen the following variations. eCommerce E-Commerce ECommerce E-commerce
0
votes
1answer
63 views

Translating from American to Canadian, when these are used as verbs, is it “log in” and “log out” or “login” and “logout”?

This is not a duplicate of questions such as“Login” or “log in”? or “log in to” or “log into” or “login to”. The reason is that this question deals specifically with converting from American English ...
2
votes
1answer
77 views

Do Americans also typically use the word “aesthetic” spelled that way?

As far as I know, the word "aesthetic" can be considered the "British" or "European" way of spelling the word, like "caesium" or "haemophilia". The spelling "esthetic" (which replaces the ae with e as ...
2
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0answers
44 views

What is the correct way to indicate a singular/plural that ends in (ies) [duplicate]

I would like to know what the correct way to indicate a singular/plural pair is when the singular ends in -y and the plural in -ies. With book you can use book(s) to indicate in writing how to form ...
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votes
1answer
47 views

Acing or A'cing, and why? [closed]

I see people using the term 'acing' when earning a perfect score on a test. For example: "I aced my math test." or "I'm so acing this test." Are the ways expressed above proper? If so, ...
0
votes
2answers
90 views

Geometric or Geometrical?

I have read the excellent answers to Why is it "geometric" but "theoretical" - my question is specifically about usage. Is there a best practice for deciding between the variants "geometric" and ...
1
vote
1answer
31 views

Capitalisation of seasons

I'm not sure how many people share this experience, but I've personally grown up being taught to spell the seasons with a capital heading. ex. Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter. Yet, when I type the ...
4
votes
2answers
127 views

New Yorker Dieresis Rule; prosaic, unionized?

There are lots of informal references to the traditional / "New Yorker" style of using diereses to disambiguate runs of vowels, however I have yet to find a definitive guide. See, for example: ...
0
votes
1answer
34 views

Is to use hyperbole to be hyperbolic? [closed]

eg. 'You've lost us millions of dollars!' Dave screamed. His statement was hyperbolic, the losses were really only $32,954.
1
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0answers
24 views

“Traveller” vs. “traveler” [duplicate]

There was a time when traveller's cheques were emitted and sold by the banks in England and by Thomas Cook. However the cheques emitted by American banks/American Express were named traveler's cheque, ...
1
vote
1answer
644 views

Is “pidgeon” a correct alternate spelling of “pigeon”? [closed]

Is "pidgeon" a correct spelling for the grayish fowl scientifically known as Columba livia domestica? Pigeon appears to be the more common spelling, but it looks strange to me. For comparison, words ...
6
votes
2answers
198 views

“shyer” or “shier”

My Longman dictionary states that the comparative of 'shy' is 'shyer'. However, at least two online dictionaries also give the form 'shier' as being acceptable: The Free Dictionary and ...
1
vote
1answer
50 views

Why do some words become amalgamated?

Why do some words in English become joined together and what is the criteria that prevents common phrases of doing the same? For example: None the less > Nonetheless Never the less > ...
2
votes
1answer
161 views

Accent Marks in English

Why doesn't the English language have accent marks? I have been trying to understand the critical differences that are present between the English and Spanish language, however I just can not wrap my ...
5
votes
1answer
368 views

How to hyphenate a negated compound noun?

We have a term for a process, "defect source assessment". We want to describe a set of processes that are not related to that process. Which of the following (if any) would be correct? non ...
2
votes
4answers
408 views

Capitalization of words derived from proper nouns

Should words derived from proper nouns be capitalized or not? e.g. "Romanize/romanize", "Boolean/boolean" (I have seen both forms in the corpora and dictionaries). Personally I think the derived ...
21
votes
2answers
2k views

Why does the 'i' in 'explain' disappear when written as 'explanation'?

The word 'explain' has an 'i'. Why does that 'i' disappear when we write it as 'explanation'.
1
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0answers
75 views

Name of the archaic “F” character used for an “S” [duplicate]

Into the 19th century, accepted orthography often used a letter character that resembles an F (but is not in fact identical to an F) when today we would invariably use an S. What is this character ...
2
votes
2answers
78 views

What is the origin of the word “What”?

Where does the word what come from? Why do we say wot when it's spelt the way it is?
2
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4answers
514 views

Can “nighttime” be used instead of “night-time”?

I forgot where but I saw the word "night-time" written like "nighttime". Now is that correct or accepted? Can it be written as a single word? I am specifically concerned about British usage. I did ...
5
votes
3answers
264 views

Why is “poignant” pronounced /ˈpɔɪɲənt/?

I felt a little bit strange when I heard poignant pronounced as /ˈpɔɪɲənt/. It is also pronounced as /ˈpɔɪgnənt/, but the former seems to be more popular. A word stagnant has similar spelling, but ...
1
vote
1answer
38 views

Two step method or two steps method [duplicate]

It seems like a particular dance is called "Two-step". It gave me some doubts about how to spell step in the description of a method I use. If my method has two steps, should it be called a two step ...