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

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0
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4answers
90 views

Topup vs top-up

Which noun is correct? a topup a top-up Which verb is correct? to topup to top-up
3
votes
1answer
94 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
99 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
108 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
81 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
507 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, ...
3
votes
1answer
814 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
76 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
110 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
votes
0answers
45 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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
56 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, ...
1
vote
2answers
366 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
37 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
163 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
37 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
vote
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
2k 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
766 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
63 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
323 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
410 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
716 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
vote
0answers
93 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
88 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
votes
4answers
2k 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
435 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
42 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
69 views

How would you write B1 in dialogue?

Are there any rules regarding how to write model numbers or serial numbers in dialogue? For example, B1. "B one." "B1." Or "B-one."
7
votes
2answers
664 views

Why does “agree” only have one “g”?

According to Webster, "Agree" comes from Latin's ad + gratus. However there are other words such as "aggregate" and "aggression" that also come from ad + [something], and these words have a double "g" ...
5
votes
1answer
309 views

Relaxed Pronunciation

As a court reporter & supervisor for 34 years our rule of thumb in the transcription of evidence, many people relax their pronunciation whilst on the stand, such as "gotta, kinda" but we've always ...
3
votes
2answers
81 views

Why are *accept* and *except* commonly misspelled as each other? Are they homophones?

Why are accept and except commonly confused for each other when writing? This is unlike most cases, where misspellings come from homophones. In my idiolect at least, accept is /ək.'sɛpt/, and except ...
1
vote
1answer
81 views

How should “makeup” be written in BrEng?

By "makeup", I mean cosmetics, as in lipstick, foundation, eyeliner, etc. My assumption is that it should be written as "makeup", but others have suggested "make up" or "make-up". In case there are ...
15
votes
5answers
3k views

Why does the letter ‘o’ appear in the word ‘people’?

My two daughters demanded to know this. I speculated that it was artificially inserted, perhaps in the 17th-18th century, perhaps to make the word look more like populus, somewhat similar to the way ...
0
votes
1answer
173 views

“high-reliable”, “highly reliable”, or something else?

There was a discussion with my colleagues about a paper that I am currently writing and in which I use phrases like "a high-reliable system architecture". Some of my colleagues hold the view that this ...
2
votes
3answers
545 views

When did “Pensylvania” become “Pennsylvania”?

On the Liberty Bell, it's spelled Pensylvania. Likewise on plenty of maps from the colonial days. When did it become Pennsylvania (with three n's)?
1
vote
1answer
463 views

Why is “threshold” pronounced “thresh-hold”?

Why is threshold pronounced "thresh-hold"?
0
votes
4answers
130 views

“woman” or “women” as a stand-in for the adjective “female”? [closed]

As in, Emily Dickinson was a great woman poet or Emily Dickinson was a great women poet in order to mean Emily Dickinson was a great female poet Think I may have seen this adjectival ...
16
votes
3answers
2k views

Wer, wie, was, wieso, weshalb, warum, all start with W in German. In English they don't, why?

Wer, wie, was, wieso, weshalb, warum. Wer nicht fragt bleibt dumm. This is the theme song to the German Sesame Street, IIRC It roughly translates to: Who, how, what, why, why ,why. If you ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

siphon vs. syphon - any reason to prefer one over the other?

I've come across two spellings for this word. Siphon and syphon are apparently both correct. English is not my first language and this word is not used often in practice, especially in written form. I ...
2
votes
1answer
180 views

In a combination of two vowels (such as “ae”), what rule determines if the first (“a”) or second (“e”) is silent?

In a combination of two vowels (such as "ae"), what English rule determines if the first ("a") or second ("e") is silent? For example, in the word "praetor", the vowel "a" is silent but in the word ...
-1
votes
1answer
139 views

Is this a portmanteau, contraction, or perhaps both?

I have chosen to edit this post because it apparently has offended some of the more sensitive among us. While, personally, I feel this should prompt discourse rather than down votes, I do not wish to ...
2
votes
2answers
119 views

When, and why, did breaks become brakes?

Reading an account of the Round Oak Train Crash, I came across this passage:- A good deal of suspicion, to say the least of it, must fall upon the hind guard, Frederick Cook, as to the mode in ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

Processor vs Processer

Is there any difference between "processor" and "processer"? Some spelling dictionaries only have the -or form, and some have both. Is it a US vs UK English thing? Or something else? More ...
1
vote
0answers
44 views

Should I preserve spelling when quoting American English in a British English text, or vice versa? [duplicate]

Suppose I am writing an (academic) text in British English, but have to quote a text from an author who writes in American English. Should I preserve the author's original spelling, or convert it to ...
0
votes
1answer
108 views

Best ways to write thoughts in narrative

I would normally put a thought in a narrative in quotation marks, but it becomes boring and stilted to continually write, thought Mary, or thought John. A thought normally would have a different ...
1
vote
2answers
611 views

Why are there two different ways to spell “expediter”?

There seems to be two different ways to spell "expediter": expediter expeditor A quick Google search reveals a nearly equal split between the two spellings. Are the two spellings specific to a ...
0
votes
0answers
12 views

Is it possible to use a hyphen in a listing (in a sentence) for abbreviation, even if the compound word consists of two separate words [duplicate]

I'm currently asking myself if it is possible to use "-" for abbreviation in a listing in a sentence to emphasize the togetherness of the previous words and the word in the end, even if they are two ...
0
votes
0answers
33 views

“e” before “i” in the word “weird” [duplicate]

In elementary school, I was taught the rhyme: "i" before "e" except after "c", and in words like "neighbor" and "weigh" Obviously this means that "ei" is used in "deceive" (it comes after "c") ...
-1
votes
4answers
164 views

“Linder” or “linnder” for lunch/dinner

We have plans for a late lunch / early dinner planned for 4:00 pm in mid December. I would like to indicate that it's more than lunch and less than dinner. I have heard it called linder or ...