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

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14
votes
2answers
7k views

“noone”, “no one” or “no-one”?

What is the correct form? Does context play a role? Are there noticeable trends towards the awkward "noone" or is it just a by-product of careless orthography on the Internet?
5
votes
2answers
112 views

Spelling of “possibility”

I looked up possibility on Thesaurus.com, but what I want to know is where the 'i' in possibility comes from? Why not have 'possibile' or 'possiblity'?
48
votes
2answers
5k views

Why is “q” followed by a “u”?

Is there a particular rule that states that q should always be followed by a u? Because in certain cases like Qatar, or qawwali, this so-called rule is violated. What do you folks say?
-1
votes
2answers
85 views

Is “bared fruit” grammatical? [closed]

Am I the only one whos athletic career bared fruit? Is this sentence correct grammatically?
19
votes
5answers
2k views

Is “princessship” a real word? Are there any other words which have the same letter 3 times consecutively?

One of my friends argues that princessship is the only word which has 3 identical letter comes together (s) ,but I think there is no word such as princessship. Can anyone tell me whether this is a ...
1
vote
0answers
19 views

Comma after introductory phrase in “As a B, I want A”? [duplicate]

Is this comma needed or allowed? As a citizen, I think that this problem undermines the right to privacy. Or should it be written this way instead: As a citizen I think that this problem ...
1
vote
1answer
52 views

Job title spelling

I have a question regarding my job position and its spelling - I develop mobile apps, what would be the correct spelling of my job position to put on my LinkedIn page: Mobile Application Developer ...
28
votes
2answers
8k views

When is “L” doubled?

Some verbs can have double Ls in the gerund form; for example: modeling; modelling traveling; travelling Which form should we use, or which form is used more in the literature?
0
votes
1answer
115 views

Is there the term “majour fource” in English? [closed]

A person from the legal department replaced "major force" with "majour fource" in a document. I wanna know if this spelling has any background in the English language or is a typo.
6
votes
3answers
4k views

adding a prefix “re” to a word, with or without a hyphen?

In science we often invent words, but that doesn't mean we know how to spell them. Most of the time words are invented by adding prefixes. In that case should there be a hyphen or not? Specifically, I ...
1
vote
2answers
118 views

Are or is? May be a simple question but I am confused

Which of the following sentences are grammatical? Being egocentric and selfish are dangerous in a world where karma is always with you. Being egocentric and selfish is dangerous in a world ...
2
votes
1answer
139 views

One-letter words in English language

The original question that came to my mind was "How many one-letter words are there in English language?". But of course, I did some research and found out there are three: A – an indefinite ...
3
votes
1answer
51 views

When do words like “Rewirable” keep the 'e' from “Rewire”?

I was spelling "rewirable" earlier and could've sworn it should be spelled 'rewireable' but google said otherwise. Whats the deal here? I never paid a lot of attention in my english classes ...
16
votes
3answers
6k views

“Time zone” vs. “Timezone”

My spell checker shows that both "time zone" and "timezone" are correctly spelled. Which one of these is the correct one to use?
0
votes
1answer
114 views

What is the most “hardworking” letter in the English alphabet? [closed]

I hope I am not being pedantic; however, I could not come up with an answer on the internet. I wonder which is the letter which can be discriminated from the alphabet system on the basis of its ...
5
votes
2answers
694 views

Character vs Charm - Pronunciation

Is there a rule to understand how the group "Cha" has to be pronounced? "Character" sounds with a hard first syllable, while "Charm" sound softer, but I don't find how to tell which sound to use ...
4
votes
4answers
220 views

Why does English omit diacritics on foreign names?

Why does English omit diacritics from foreign names that still use the Latin alphabet? For example, why are the Czech tennis player Tomáš Berdych, the Norwegian crime writer Jo Nesbø, or the Polish ...
4
votes
2answers
941 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
47 views

Is “fatah” an alternative spelling of “fatwa”?

I've occasionally seen "fatah" being used instead of "fatwa" to mean Islamic religious ruling. For example, from Fear and Loathing of Sharks in Western Australia by Paul Watson (in an article which ...
9
votes
4answers
28k views

Is 'useable' preferred in certain regions, or just an alternate spelling of 'usable'?

I rarely use spell checkers, but today when I did use one, it suggested changing the word 'useable' to 'usable' (i.e. to drop the first 'e'). This seemed immediately intuitive and I thought I'd just ...
42
votes
9answers
17k 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
0answers
51 views

Why are surnames often misspellings of English words? [duplicate]

Why do English surnames so often seem to be derived from slight misspellings of common English words? Weekes Thorne Browne Lilley Keene Paige Lowe Hooke Hawthorne Sargent Whyte Chappell Horne ad ...
1
vote
1answer
39 views

Capital letter for competition names? [closed]

I was writing recently, and wanted to reference a competition managed by the Economist Intelligence Unit. It's called the "Global Liveability Rating". First of all, should I capitalize the name of ...
1
vote
0answers
69 views

What's the correct spelling of the made-up word meaning “to treat like an oracle”? [closed]

I'd like to know which alternative sounds better to native speakers: "oraclize" or "oracolize"? The point is to have a made-up word composed by "oracle" and the "-ize suffix". Thanks in advance
1
vote
1answer
56 views

What's the difference between unapproachable and inapproachable? [closed]

Could anyone explain why does it have two versions, because as far as I know, there are some rules of formation of antonyms. Isn't there should be only one proper prefix? Or both are possible? Thank ...
13
votes
7answers
30k views

What's the difference between “adviser” and “advisor” — are both interchangeable?

I work for a financial services provider and we deal with "Financial Advisors" all the time. Increasingly, I'm seeing people send emails and so forth with the term "Financial Adviser" and the terms ...
1
vote
1answer
52 views

Proper way to include a single character in a sentence, “V,” 'V,' or italic? [closed]

What is the proper way to include a single character within a sentence, double quotation marks, single quotation marks, or italicize it? For example, should it be: The man's face resembled a "V." ...
6
votes
3answers
4k 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 ...
30
votes
6answers
84k views

What is the difference between dialogue and dialog?

I am American, and I always thought the difference between dialogue and dialog was one of meaning, the way Merriam-Webster has them listed: 2 entries found: dialogue (noun) dialog box ...
26
votes
2answers
5k views

How and when did American spelling supersede British spelling in the US?

Considering that Webster published his first dictionary in 1806, is there a recognised tipping point (year, decade, etc.) that marked the move from traditional British spelling to Webster's American? ...
-2
votes
2answers
100 views

She kicked me in the “sac” or “sack”? Reference is to the testicles

How do we spell "sac" / "sack" when referring to the testicles? Is it: She kicked me in the "sack" or "sac"?
0
votes
1answer
46 views

What is the proper way to write about a “layoff”? [closed]

When talking about "layoffs", what is the proper way to write it? When referring to it as a noun, is it "lay off", "layoff", or "lay-off"? What about when using it as a verb in both present and past ...
2
votes
1answer
47 views

Should I use the “correct” form or the form used in the specification

I'm writing about a web framework. Integral part of it is its lifecycle. Apparently (as for example my browser tells me), this is not the correct spelling. I should either use life cycle or ...
0
votes
1answer
59 views

Hance/Hence connection?

In researching the verb 'hence' I noted the several forms listed in the OED, two of which were: "hennes or henes" from Middle English usage. Similarly with the verb 'hance' I noted that scholars have ...
9
votes
1answer
29k views

Spelling “Yeah” and “Yea”

When I read the words "yea" or "yeah", each spelling can mean two different things. An exclamation of joy, as in, Yea[h] for ice cream!` Assent, like "yep" or "yes", as in, Yea[h], ...
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 ...
5
votes
1answer
4k 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
2
votes
1answer
147 views

The meaning of the word 'Han'?

In referencing Webster's dictionary of 1828 I came across the entry for the word 'Han'. The definition was stated as: "for have, in the plural." Source: Spenser. What does this mean and how was it ...
27
votes
2answers
76k views

Is there a difference between Therefor and Therefore? [closed]

I'm a non-native English speaker, and my automatic spellchecker seems to accept both therefore and therefor. Is one orthography preferred ? Is that a British vs. American difference ? Or an old vs. ...
17
votes
2answers
263 views

Space before apostrophe

In the 1928 Scribner’s (NY) edition of The Plays of J. M. Barrie, I’ve noticed an odd convention: where a contraction happens in middle of a word (e.g., “don’t” for “do n(o)t”), the apostrophe has the ...
0
votes
2answers
222 views

How do you write the expression of disgust that sounds like “er”?

My daughter said to me this morning (the context is irrelevant): Er, it's all wet! The interjection I have written here as Er was synonymous with Yuck. Its wetness did not cause great happiness. ...
15
votes
2answers
43k views

“Successfull”/“successful” — is this a UK/US difference? [closed]

I would tend to write double-l, but Google gives me more single-l, so I'm guessing it's an Atlantic divide thing. And I guess all the other *full words.
10
votes
1answer
248 views

Relic as a verb: why the spelling relicing, reliced?

I just discovered the verb relic, meaning “to make something look worn” and used as far as I can tell only about guitars. (Examples: 1 2 3 …) I was surprised to see that its participles are pretty ...
5
votes
1answer
214 views

What is to be made of “e” ending so many Middle English words?

I was recently reading about the life of Robert I (the Bruce) of Scotland. On his deathbed, since he had been unable to go on crusade to the Holy Land as he had once pledged to do, he directed that ...
-1
votes
1answer
54 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
756 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
242k views

“Dammit” vs. “damnit” [closed]

What is the correct spelling, dammit or damnit? And what is the difference? Just writing this question brings up a red squiggly underneath damnit and the suggestions include dammit and damn it.
20
votes
3answers
116k views

Co-Founder, Co-founder, or cofounder?

I've seen all three used and there doesn't seem to be a definitive one that I can find. I'm hedging towards Co-Founder as it's a title, but any clarity would be appreciated. Edit If it makes it any ...
26
votes
2answers
11k views

What's the deal with “colonel”?

Why does the word colonel (as in military rank) have such a strange spelling compared to how it's pronounced (or vice versa, although I don't know how you would pronounce that)?
2
votes
2answers
71 views

Hyphenation of “left hand side”

I would like to know exactly where (or whether) "the right hand side", "the left hand wall", etc. should be hyphenated.