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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

4
votes
1answer
535 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

Why the letter “g” discrepancy between *giant* and *gigantic*?

A little look through an etymology dictionary shows that the root is Latin gigas with adjective form gigant. So in its derivation to English, why did the second "g" get retained in gigantic but was ...
1
vote
1answer
33 views

Is it “kelly pool” or “Kelly pool”?

Kelly pool is a "cue sport" played on a pool table like billiards, snooker, and other variants of pool. But which is more accepted? Capitalised or not? Or are both OK?
9
votes
1answer
4k views

Why is “great” pronounced as “grate”, but spelled with “ea”?

Great is one of the few common English words in which "ea" is pronounced /eɪ/ (ay). Why is this pronunciation associated with this spelling? As an aside, I remember from researching for my answer to ...
42
votes
10answers
18k views

Is it “alright” or “allright”?

In practice I find both spellings being used. From a logical point of view, "allright" (as in: "all's right — everything is fine") seems correct. However, I recall hearing that "alright" is the ...
1
vote
1answer
58 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

'Postpone' or 'postphone'?

I was taught that the word postpone was spelled as I just spelled it, but recently I have seen a rise in the spelling postphone (or post phone). At first, I thought it was just a spelling error, but I ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Why did Australian English change from spelling words like 'honor' to 'honour'?

I know there are other questions comparing the US and UK usage of o and ou in words like colour. My question is specifically in regard to Australian English. I was always taught that here in Australia ...
5
votes
4answers
2k views

Is there a term to describe words whose pronunciation bears no relationship to their spelling?

The English language is peppered with wonderfully weird spelling/pronunciation combinations. For example colonel, pronounced kur-nl, probably my favorite, there isn't even an r in the word! ...
18
votes
4answers
60k views

“Spelt” vs. “spelled”

In the following sentence, should I say spelled or spelt: You spelt/spelled "Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis" wrong.
1
vote
2answers
74 views

'Spelled' vs 'Spelt' [duplicate]

May I just say, I was born and raised in the United States and I use the term "spelt" but others say it should be "spelled" but... why is spelt apparently a grammatical error?
-1
votes
0answers
21 views

Pronunciation and rules of English grammar [duplicate]

These questions have been nagging me from time immemorial. Who decides all the seemingly funny pronunciations in English? A syllable is pronounced in some way, somewhere, and (maybe) in an entirely ...
4
votes
1answer
172 views

Beyond “i before e, except after c!”

What letters of the alphabet are followed the most by the letters ei?
0
votes
0answers
13 views

Capitalization of “diploma business informatics”

For an application I need to translate my resume. What is the right way spelling of my degree: 2010-2015 Diploma business informatics 2010-2015 Diploma Business Informatics 2010-2015 Diploma of ...
23
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
-2
votes
1answer
2k views

“Bazaar” vs. “bazar”

Which of bazaar or bazar is better to use for the domain name of specialised marketplace? Both are available according to the dictionaries. Any advice which of these two is better to use in the URL? ...
2
votes
1answer
124 views

'pescatarian': synonyms & etymology

Even if most Americans would take 'pescatarian' to be some odd Calvinist sect, according to MW it is a noun which means 'one whose diet includes fish but no other meat' and its derivation is 'probably ...
1
vote
0answers
27 views

Is “memorise” or “memorize” used more often around the world? [duplicate]

Is "memorise" or "memorize" used more often around the world? Curious which is more popular, memorise or memorize.
1
vote
1answer
56 views

“long” <i> - inconsistencies in the relationshipt between orthography and pronunciation

I'm wondering about the dual pronunciations of the letter /i/ in open syllables- usually it has the realization [a͡ɪ], representing the regular outcome of long i after the great vowel shift, but ...
9
votes
2answers
3k views

Are there any other English syllables without vowels, besides “thm”?

As far as I knew*, all English syllables have a vowel sound and all of them are spelled accordingly, except for "thm" as in rhythm and algorithm. Are there any others? And are there any etymological ...
10
votes
3answers
28k views

How do you spell wifi / Wi-Fi / WiFi? [closed]

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 ...
0
votes
0answers
41 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.; ...
2
votes
3answers
530 views

What does the word 'Joll' mean in 18th century English?

What does joll mean in the following sentence? ... give him the upper or right hand, and walk not just even with him cheek be joll, but a little behind him, yet not so distant as that it shall be ...
1
vote
3answers
2k 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
32 views

Is using quotation marks in this sentence necessary or not? [duplicate]

Which of the two sentences given below is correct? If both of them are correct, which one is more grammatical? My answer to all these questions is "yes". My answer to all these questions is yes. ...
1
vote
0answers
72 views

I need help with a riddle [migrated]

Someone asked me a riddle today please help me answer. Which five letter english word is it? Where the 1st letter is the last letter. The last letter is the 1st letter. The middle letter is the second ...
2
votes
1answer
152 views

Why is 'Middlesbrough', so spelled?

Why is the English town of Middlesbrough so spelled, and why is the first 'o' of borough missing, as it is not with such as Scarborough, Peterborough, Knaresborough etc. I note that there are towns ...
10
votes
6answers
867 views

What is the best word for “kitchen products” on an e-commerce website?

I am wondering what the best word is for all things used in the kitchen, including: kitchen gadgets dishes pans forks, knives.. kitchen towels kitchen decorations What is the best word to sum it ...
0
votes
1answer
35 views
3
votes
3answers
778 views

How should wireless technology names be hyphenated and capitalized?

How should wireless technology names be hyphenated and capitalized? "a wireless g network"? "a wireless-g network"? "a wireless-G network"? "a wireless G network"? none of the above? Does a formal ...
2
votes
3answers
3k views

How should the abbreviation for “identifier” be capitalized?

I'm a programmer and I often see the abbreviation ID (capitalized) in technical documents and code. Is this correct, or should it be id?
2
votes
6answers
834 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
8k views

“Exercise” but not “exercize”

Many words are spelled with -ise in British English and -ize in American English: realise/realize sanitise/sanitize scrutinise/scrutinize But exercise can only be spelled with -ise, never with ...
0
votes
0answers
14 views

Need a single word for - Opportunity and Opportunities [duplicate]

I need a single word to represent both singular and plural form of the word "Opportunity". Usually we represent such words in the following fashion: Bottle(s). But I don't think Opportunity(s) would ...
10
votes
4answers
7k views

Is “thankyou” acceptable as a single word?

I was doing a small piece of language translation in Google Translate, and it detected the use of "thankyou" in the text and asked "do you mean - thank you". Is the single word version - thankyou - ...
0
votes
4answers
727 views

Recordkeeping, record keeping, or record-keeping

In the following sentence, a reviewer claimed that record keeping is a spelling error that should be corrected to recordkeeping. Service providers shall manage information using agreed upon ...
0
votes
0answers
36 views

Nonabelian or non-abelian?

I asked this question on Mathematics Stack Exchange (here) but I haven't had any luck so far. Allow me to copy the question: If I wanted to be scrupulous about correct spelling, is there any reason ...
-2
votes
1answer
179 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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
56 views

Plural Possessive of Surnames [duplicate]

For the plural possessive of a surname, would you concur that these are correct? the Rogerses' house (surname is 'Rogers') or should it be "the Rogers' house" for the plural possessive because ...
1
vote
2answers
91 views

Transforming words as in CAE tests (Cambridge Advanced English)

I am doing a Cambridge Advanced English test this weekend. The free online test they provide online lets you transform words like this, from nouns to verbs to adjectives, back and forth. • Come ...
2
votes
1answer
254 views

Is it “togglable” or “toggleable”?

The dialect is American English, but I'd be interested to know if this varies between dialects. Is it"togglable" or "toggleable"? Because neither dictionary.com, webster.com, nor Outlook's spelling ...
1
vote
1answer
64 views

What kind of error is it considered when a person uses the wrong form of a word? [closed]

I guess I asked the question in the title. Basically, when it comes to using the wrong form of a word (to instead of too, there instead of they're, etc.), what kind of error is this considered? ...
1
vote
1answer
41 views

Differences between “align” and “line”

Why is "align" not spelt "aline" or, conversly, why is "line" not spelt "lign". (I hope I'm not out of lign by asking this.)
7
votes
2answers
613 views

What is the origin of the different pronunciations of C and G before different vowels?

In English the letters C and G usually have different pronunciation before a/o/u and before e/i. The same is true for Romance languages - French, Spanish, Catalan, Italian etc. What is the origin of ...
14
votes
2answers
2k views

Is it “falsy” or “falsey”?

I have seen both versions of the word, falsy and falsey. It can mean "something that is equivalent to false" in computer science, such as "The only two falsy values in the Ruby Language are false and ...
3
votes
5answers
4k views

Where does 'doofus' (or perhaps 'dufus') come from?

Both Dufus and Doofus seem to be common on the web, so I'm not sure which is the correct spelling, if either. It's kind of a cool word. Do we have any idea where/how it originated?
12
votes
1answer
12k views

“Philippines” vs. “Filipino”

Why is Filipino spelled with an F? Philippines is spelled with a Ph. Some have said that it's because in Filipino, Philippines starts with F; but if this is so, why did we only change the beginning of ...
3
votes
2answers
6k views
27
votes
1answer
1k views

I'd like to know the spelling of a word, a synonym of unknown

I'm used to watching American TV Series all the time. I watch them with Italian subtitles, so I misspell many words. Many of them are not so difficult to figure out, but there's one that I just cannot ...
7
votes
2answers
7k 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?