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

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3
votes
1answer
63 views

Why is it spelled “curiosity” instead of “curiousity?”

I have been spelling the word "curiosity" with a u, "curiousity," my whole life, and only today was Chrome's spellcheck bold enough to highlight my lifelong error. I have two questions: The root ...
13
votes
2answers
850 views

“Quyer” When and why did the spelling change so drastically?

The snippet above is taken from The Gentleman's Magazine (London, England), Volume 53, dated, 1783. It's only when you say Quyer out loud, do you realize what the word is. It is one of the ...
1
vote
1answer
50 views

How to write Vietnamese names in English correctly? (“Việt Nam” to “Vietnam” or “Viet Nam”?)

Commonly, in writing, the country name in Vietnamese is Việt Nam, in English is Vietnam; its capital city name in Vietnamese is Hà Nội, in English is Hanoi; its largest city name in Vietnamese is ...
8
votes
2answers
26k views

Is “imbedded” a valid spelling of the word “embedded”?

I have seen this used on our marketing materials: The technology imbedded in this solution will help improve productivity. I was going to flag it as a spelling error, however Googling provided ...
4
votes
2answers
4k views

Plural of 'quiz'

The plural of "quiz" is spelled with double "z" while the plural of "box" (and sometimes "bus") is spelled with single last consonant. Why is it so? Is this the general rule to double the last ...
15
votes
2answers
319 views

What is the origin of “in a jiffy”?

What is the origin of "in a jiffy"? Etymology online Dictionary says origin unknown but speculates that it was slang (cant) for lightning and dates it as 1785. Wikipedia agrees but adds that the ...
0
votes
3answers
157 views

Why “producing”, not “produccing”? [on hold]

Same with "bleeding" and "bleedding". We say "swimming", so why not "bleedding"?
3
votes
2answers
2k views

“Parametrise” or “parameterise” a curve?

In British English, which one is correct? Does one parameterise a curve or parametrise it?
1
vote
2answers
10k views

“Indeed/in deed/indid/in did”

I am not a native speaker and get constantly confused which one to use when I would like to approve some statement or someone's sentence. A really nice one indeed. A really nice one in deed. ...
1
vote
3answers
63 views

Is it “re-offend” or “reoffend”? [on hold]

I want to know whether there is a hyphen in the word re-offend, or if it is spelt reoffend. I looked in Oxford English dictionary and the word "reoffend" appears, but then I checked Merriam-Webster ...
0
votes
2answers
64 views

How would you abbreviate Amount per Hour?

If I need the abbreviation of "Amount per Hour" to be used as a label/title, should it be: "Amt/Hr" or "Amt/hr" or something else?
5
votes
1answer
4k views

Hwat, hwere, and hwy?

In which English accents do they put an h before every word that starts with wh? Example from Youtube. Notice his pronunciation of whisky.
0
votes
2answers
62 views

Is integratable a word? [closed]

I hear the word integratable a lot, but do not know if it actually it is a word or how to spell it correctly. So,is integratable a word and how to spell it?
0
votes
1answer
38 views

Nonstandard spellings for dialects

Are there standard ways of indicating dialect, as "I 'aven't," I asked 'is name," and especially "It couldn't 'a' 'appened." Can "have" be indicated with just "a"?
8
votes
2answers
1k views

Does anyone write “noöne” with a diaeresis?

Related: "Whereäs" as an alternative spelling of "whereas" Does anyone write "no-one" as "noöne", with the diaeresis (double-dot) serving to separate the syllables? (Chrome's ...
8
votes
3answers
19k views

Timepoint vs. time point

When speaking of a point in time, what would be the proper usage: "Timepoint" vs. "Time point"? This funny confusion comes from my life as a programmer: While one of our style checkers enforces ...
6
votes
2answers
5k views

Is “swop” an acceptable variant of “swap”?

I've always spelt it with an "a". But my friend insists on spelling it with an "o". Is this an acceptable variant?
2
votes
2answers
284 views

Alignment or alinement?

I was reading Wonders of World Aviation the other day, published in the late thirties, and have found a couple of articles where alinement is preferred to alignment. While this seems to make sense, it ...
10
votes
6answers
20k views

“Smooths” versus “Smoothes”

I am interested in the rapid rise (since about 1993) in frequency of the spelling smoothes as against smooths. An Ngram Viewer graph tracking the frequency of usage of the two words from 1800 to ...
7
votes
2answers
3k views

Why is quixotic pronounced as it is?

Since "quixotic" was coined with Don Quixote as its basis, why is it pronounced "kwicks-OTT-ick" when it should by rights/origin be pronounced "Key-HO-tick"? It even sounds more onomatopoeiatic the ...
23
votes
4answers
1k views

Words with a leading silent w

My eldest is a beginning reader. Yesterday we read one of my favorite books, The Wreck of the Zephyr. He pointed at wreck and asked me why that one looked like it said "wuh-reck." I explained that ...
0
votes
1answer
2k views

Why does a silent “-e” at the end of a word lengthen vowels?

There's a common pattern in English spelling where "short" vowels are pronounced as "long" vowels with the addition of a silent "e" at the end of the word. E.g. bit → bite mat → mate pet → pete ...
13
votes
2answers
33k views

Why is the “L” silent when pronouncing “salmon”?

Why is the letter l silent when pronouncing salmon properly?
1
vote
3answers
317 views

Why are “some” letters silent in English? [closed]

There are many such words that we all know about, but please explain why the makers of the English language made up words with silent letters?
0
votes
1answer
34 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
96 views

Is afeast or possibly affeast, afeest etc. a word?

My English (vai Liverpool)-Canadian mother used this word to mean 'disgusted by' or 'repulsed by.' Example: "he is afeast of mixed foods." meaning you think mixed foods are disgusting or inedible. I ...
1
vote
1answer
29 views

Should the names of different sorting algorithms be “<qualifier> sort” or “<qualifier>sort”?

Should the names of different sorting algorithms be <qualifier> sort or <qualifier>sort? The titles of Wikipedia articles of these sorting algorithms are not consistent with respect to ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

English line breaking rules

In Czech typography, some prepositions are not allowed to be at the end of the line, so line break is not allowed between that preposition and the following word. Are there similar rules in English ...
0
votes
1answer
12k views

Tassel vs. Tassle? Which is correctly spelled, or both? [closed]

I think I found an error in someone's work, where they spelled "tassel" as "tassle". Before I mention it to them I want to be 100% sure that this is really a problem and there is no alternate ...
2
votes
4answers
148 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
588 views

Why is imperialism not spelled empirialism?

If the goal of imperialism is to create an empire, why is the word not spelled "empirialism"?
16
votes
2answers
847 views

The U in “Glamour”

Why, in US English, does the word glamour retain its u while humour, neighbour, and others have shed it?
-4
votes
1answer
74 views

Why don't we use an apostrophe to denote ownership on 'it'? [duplicate]

We use apostrophes to denote ownership: I wrapped the cat's claws so he wouldn't scratch me while I handled him. However, we don't use an apostrophe when 'it' is the owner. The cat licked ...
11
votes
4answers
5k views

Is “criterions” a valid plural for “criterion”?

Is criterions a valid plural for criterion? Dictionary.com says it is, but Oxford does not confirm or reject it.
11
votes
3answers
2k views

From French “manœuvre” to English “manoeuvre”, does “œ” exist in English?

Sadly, I don’t have much to add from the title to this question: does œ exist in English, such as in the word manœuvre? The same question may also apply to what the French call the “e dans l’a” (e in ...
0
votes
3answers
6k views

Apostrophe before or after s? [closed]

In the sentence: The author was greatly in love with Annabel Lee and described their love for each other as greater than anyone elses’. Does the apostrophe go before or after the s in else? ...
7
votes
4answers
10k views

Why does English spelling use silent letters?

Why have a letter in a word when it’s silent in pronunciation, like the b in debt? Can anyone please clarify my uncertainty here?
1
vote
1answer
363 views

Why is “delight” spelt and pronounced the way it is?

This as everything probably has something to do with the GVS, but how?
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Why is “k” added to “panic” when suffixes added (as in “panicky”)?

When adding any suffix to the word "panic," a "k" is added after the "c". Examples: panicked, panicking, panicky. Why is this the case? Are there any other English words that do the same? I'm also ...
11
votes
1answer
1k views

Rules for removing last vowel when adding “-able”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When to drop the 'e' when ending in -able? Both are correct for these words: sizable, sizeable sharable, shareable takable, takeable But these words are ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

Capitalization for a bullet list

The following is from some software documentation we are writing: NOTE: Refreshing a report may be necessary or helpful when: you believe the data in the report has changed since it was ...
1
vote
1answer
80 views

Can all verbs ending in “-ise” be written with the suffix “ize”? [closed]

Are there any "-ise" (or "-yse") words which cannot be (or are never) written using "-ize"? I searched for prior questions, and came across: Correct use of "ise" vs "ize" at the ...
7
votes
4answers
14k views

“Checking” vs. “chequing” vs. “chequeing” with regards to types of bank accounts

I came across this little dilemma when looking up the incorrectly spelled word "chequing" in my web browser's dictionary (Opera). According to the different dictionaries you can select in Opera: EN ...
0
votes
1answer
71 views

Plural of “is” — “ises” or “isses”?

If I had many is words, how would I refer to them in the form of a plural? Could I use ises or isses? Example: You use entirely too many isses in your sentences.
15
votes
3answers
48k views

“Thru” vs. “through”

Could anyone explain the differences between "thru" and "through"? Is the difference only in spelling? Is "thru" some sort of slang?
3
votes
3answers
337 views

Words with Transposed or Inverted Syllables

In its definition of sideburns, Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition (2003) refers to the spelling as an "anagram of burnsides." But since derubniss, sisburden, and ubersnids are ...
0
votes
1answer
54 views

“Unionized” vs. ”Un-ionized” [duplicate]

I know there exists a term for the to–too–two situation where the words are pronounced the same but spelled differently. Is there a term for the situation of unionized /ˈjuːnɪənɑɪzd/ and un-ionized ...
13
votes
3answers
727 views

What was going on with “quha”, “quhat” and the like in Scots and English?

From the Dictionar o the Scots Leid: Quha, Quhay, interrog. and rel. pron. Also: qwha, qha, qua, qwa, wha, vha, hua; qhaa; quhaw; quhai qwhay, whay, quay; quhae, whae; quhe, quhey, qwhey. ...
1
vote
1answer
47 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
votes
1answer
33 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?