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
1answer
57 views

Is it formal or informal to use y/o as an abbreviation of “years old”? [closed]

This is my first question on this site. I am not a native speaker. My question is, is it formal or informal to use y/o as an abbreviation of "years old" in British English?
33
votes
6answers
25k views

Difference between “artifact” and “artefact”

Is there any usage preference between artifact and artefact? My understanding was that an artifact was properly applied to physical, historical objects, while an artefact was more correct for more ...
2
votes
6answers
4k views

Similar words that change from “-ter” to “tre”

I just found out that luster in British English was actually lustre. This was something that I did not know before. Are there any other words that behave like this? Why? (According to what?)
3
votes
2answers
50 views

'De-exoticize' or 'deexoticize' [duplicate]

As an antonym for exoticize, would you favor de-exoticize or deexoticize? Google currently finds ~2970 results for the hyphenated version and ~440 results for the unhyphenated, but both of those ...
36
votes
7answers
23k views

Why is “primer” pronounced with a short “i” sound?

This word—used to mean an elementary textbook, not a painting material—annoys me to no end. Does anyone know why, exactly, "primer" is pronounced with a short "i" sound? I don't know why, call it ...
1
vote
2answers
52 views

English words with underlining like Uluṟu

Apart from words derived from Australian Aboriginal languages, are there any words in English that are written at least some of the time with individual letters being underlined for pronunciation ...
0
votes
3answers
54 views

to be spelled as or to be spelled by?

What is the correct preposition to use with the verb "to spell"? I'm trying to write a sentence "this sound is usually spelled by the letter "e". I'm not sure if I should say "by the letter "e" or "as ...
0
votes
3answers
71 views

Should “japanese” be capitalised when used as an adjective

Which one of these is the correct usage: 1) Your favourite Japanese restaurant 2) Your favourite japanese restaurant (being an adjective in this case, it should be in lower case)
0
votes
1answer
70 views

What's the meaning of “finniky”?

There is this sentence in a letter of Bertrand Russell: Even the absurdities - the thunder and lightning - are big and invigorating after the stifling finniky appropriateness of everything French. ...
1
vote
1answer
99 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.; ...
1
vote
0answers
74 views

Is double “l” found in British or American English [closed]

...or why Word 2013, Chrome and other computer programs has this exactly opposite? Nearly every answer and comment to this question clearly states, that double "l" is found in British English (with ...
2
votes
2answers
72 views

Why did -ful prevail instead of -full for adjectives?

A lot of adjectives in English are based on a noun + the ending -ful. The opposite adjective is usually constructed with the ending -less According to Wiktionary, both endings -ful and -full existed ...
2
votes
1answer
62 views

“taxwise,” “tax wise,” or “tax-wise”

What should be the correct spelling for "-wise" combinations in adverbial coinages like "sportswise," "weatherwise," "businesswise, "saleswise," "taxwise," etc.? Should it be "NOUN wise," ...
8
votes
2answers
237 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, ...
7
votes
2answers
799 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?
3
votes
2answers
465 views

Retriable or retryable? [closed]

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?
0
votes
1answer
51 views

To address denominations of cash [duplicate]

"Please bring lots of $1.00s and $5.00s" or "Please bring lots of $1.00's and 5.00's"?
5
votes
2answers
100 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
84 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
74 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
5k 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
128 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
56k 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
300 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
55 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
476 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
51 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
88 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
9k 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
296 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
63 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
137 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
477 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
33 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
95 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 ...
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
311 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 ...
14
votes
4answers
44k 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
7k 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?
11
votes
1answer
14k 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
261 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
37 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
72 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
92 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
72 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
18k 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 ...