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

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2
votes
2answers
35 views

Retriable or retryable?

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?
5
votes
2answers
88 views

Why did final -ie become so popular during early Modern English?

A hallmark of Early Modern English is that it exhibits a lot of variance between the use of final -y and -ie. In the 16th century -ie is even found in Old English words, eg stonie. And Mulcaster in ...
9
votes
1answer
4k views

Origins of the “‑cede/‑sede/‑ceed” suffix

Somewhere in the back of my mind I seem to remember that cedere meant “to go or yield” in Latin. Presumably this gives us the words concede and accede. (?) But what about the words supersede and ...
0
votes
2answers
37 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 ...
12
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 ...
2
votes
0answers
26 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, ...
3
votes
1answer
51 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
4k views

All up in my grill?

Is the phrase [all] up in $POSSESSIVE_PRONOUN grill which is synonymous with the figure of speech in one's face an automotive metaphor? If so, would it be more correct to spell the last ...
1
vote
1answer
40 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.
7
votes
3answers
51k views

Does one capitalize “communism” and “communist”?

Suppose I have the following sentence: I lived in a communist country during the fall of communism in 1989. Should "communist" and "communism" be capitalized?
2
votes
1answer
65 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
82 views

How did the spelling of 'mien' evolve?

I ask only about mien's definition of 'A person’s look or manner', and not the Yao people. OED: Etymology: Probably a merging of two words of distinct origins: (i) shortened < demean n.; ...
0
votes
2answers
45 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
428 views

‘pescatarian’: synonyms & etymology

Even if most Americans would take ‘pescatarian’ to be some odd Calvinist sect, according to Merriam-Webster it is a noun which means “one whose diet includes fish but no other meat” and its derivation ...
1
vote
1answer
279 views

3D vs 3d vs 3-d vs 3-dimensional

How do you correctly abbreviate that something is in "three dimensions" in formal writing? As per the title, would you write either "3D", "3d", or "3-d"? I want to write something like: The ...
0
votes
0answers
19 views

Where can I get my English corrected (online)? [migrated]

Sometimes I have to write my documents in English. I try hard to improve my English, but my English is very bad. So it would be really nice if there would by a place on the internet, where people (or ...
0
votes
2answers
33 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
49 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? ...
11
votes
2answers
8k views

“Sign in”, “signin” or “sign-in”

Which is correct: sign in, signin or sign-in when used as a noun and also as a verb?
-2
votes
3answers
284 views

use of contractions (and some homophones)

Is it true that the current usage and spelling of words like we're/were, there/they're/their, your/you're, etc. is shifting? I heard that in the next generation the apostrophe may be disappearing in ...
10
votes
3answers
970 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
votes
1answer
52 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.) ...
0
votes
5answers
73 views

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

Which is the proper spelling of "nonstop?" nonstop or non stop or non-stop
1
vote
2answers
414 views

Rules for spelling double consonants in roots of words

I would like to understand by what rules I should know when the consonant in the root of a word should be doubled and when it should not. I understand doubling rules resulting from adding suffixes ...
9
votes
3answers
6k views

How was 'Sundae' derived from 'Sunday'?

On Sunday, April 3,2011, Google displayed a commemorative graphic for the 119th anniversary of the first documented case of the Ice Cream Sunday. (Image comes from: ...
0
votes
2answers
25 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
vote
1answer
68 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
172 views

Why “paediatrics” but “pedagogue” in British English?

There's an account of the British ae/oe and American "e" spellings (as in diarrh(o)ea, f(a)eces, and other fun words) on wikipedia. What I'm wondering is why, even in British English, ...
14
votes
2answers
2k views

Why isn't “muscle” pronounced “muskle”?

It comes from the Latin musculus (meaning mouse) and Latin has only hard c's. The "c" has somehow become soft or silent during evolution. Why did this happen? Also, if muscle is pronounced mussle, ...
1
vote
4answers
239 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 ...
12
votes
4answers
40k views

How do you spell wifi / Wi-Fi / WiFi?

This is probably related to whether one should capitalize Internet or not. I am looking for the correct spelling of wifi when referring to a wireless connection to the Internet. I want to tell the ...
15
votes
2answers
6k views

“Defense” or “defence”

Is the only difference that in USA they write it with s and in UK they write it with c, or is there anything more?
9
votes
1answer
11k views

Why is it spelled “maintenance” and not “maintainance?”

Why is the task of maintaining spelled "maintenance" and not "maintainance?" Other words related to maintaining include: maintain, maintained, maintainer, maintainability, and maintainable. Each of ...
0
votes
1answer
85 views

Which is the correct spelling of mom/mum?

People are saying that Mom is the correct spelling and that it's not American while others are saying it's Mum and than Mom is American. So which is the correct spelling for the UK-English spelling?
13
votes
4answers
2k views

Why is there no consistency in the plural forms of words ending on an “f” (e.g. safe, roof, dwarf, etc.)?

The plural form of leaf is leaves, although according to Merriam-Webster leafs is also correct. Dwarf can be pluralized as either dwarfs or dwarves. Conversely, the words roof and safe are pluralized ...
0
votes
1answer
36 views

usage of separable and inseparable words [duplicate]

Words like wheelbarrow and nailbrush are used mingled, the wheel goes with barrow in inseparable form. On the other hand, words like tank top and high heels as it sounds ...
-1
votes
1answer
63 views

Spelling of the word “Cancelled” [duplicate]

Long ago in grade school we were taught the correct spelling WAS "Cancelled." When did they (spelling police?) decide it is "Canceled?" Personally drives me nuts. I dislike flying and try to avoid it. ...
1
vote
1answer
77 views

Why is “welcome” spelled like this? [duplicate]

Why is the word "welcome" spelled with one "l"? Somewhere in the answers I found a good explanation of the meaning of " welcome". Example: "You have done well to come to me; I am pleased to do it" ...
0
votes
3answers
69 views

English language for in between [closed]

What would be the correct spelling for "in between" for the following: From the Sierra's to the sea and everywhere in between. or From the Sierra's to the sea and everywhere inbetween.
11
votes
3answers
15k views

Why doesn't “ninth” have an “e”, like “ninety”?

Is it just because "ninth" has only one syllable? That wouldn't make sense, though, because saying "NINE-ith" wouldn't be worse than saying "NINE-e-tee". If we were used to "nineth", we would have ...
17
votes
3answers
2k views

Why is there a distinction between “its” and “it's”?

While I know technically the English language has a distinction because when there's a conflict between the possessive form and a contraction, the contraction wins. That is: Its is the possessive ...
2
votes
1answer
4k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
17k views

“Theater” vs. “Theatre” in American English

Why is it that "theater" and "theatre" do not follow the traditional rules of British and American spelling? British spellings like "metre" and "centre" are consistently switched to "meter" and ...
23
votes
3answers
2k views

Possessive of a word that is already possessive

If the cricket ground Lord's is a possessive, what if you want to describe something belonging to Lord's? Would you say: I was very impressed by Lord's's customer services. It doesn't look ...
22
votes
4answers
145k views

Difference between “publicly” and “publically”

I know publically appears as an incorrect spelling in most dictionaries (in fact as I type this up on my Safari browser it keeps trying to correct the spelling to publicly). However I have seen the ...
4
votes
2answers
112 views

What is the significance of having a silent letter like “k” in a word? [duplicate]

Why is the k silent in: known /nəʊn/; knife /nʌɪf/, and knight /nʌɪt/? What does this specify?And what is k doing there if there is no need to pronounce it?
11
votes
2answers
238 views

Silent “e” at the end of words

Back in 2009, a job interviewer sent me a link to a web service that would help me make a free telephone call via the internet... Skype. As a native speaker, I knew "instinctively" to pronounce this ...
83
votes
1answer
317k views

What's the difference between “requester” and “requestor”?

Both are in dictionaries. I've heard people insist "requester" is correct for a person who requests something, and that "requestor" is wrong there, leaving me to wonder how it is used. Requestor ...
0
votes
1answer
65 views

Why is “collaborate” not spelled “collabourate” in British English?

Everyone knows that labour in British English is labor in American English. However, a cursory examination of a dictionary shows the words collabourate and collabourator, derived from the mentioned ...
6
votes
2answers
279 views

Are you googlable?

The search engine Google was launched in 1998 and on that same year, the term googling was first used. The verb “to google” earned its official status in the Oxford English Dictionary on June 15, ...