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

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1
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1answer
34 views

Is it acceptable to break a line without creating a new paragraph?

Let's say I've got two sentences that are sufficiently related that a new paragraph isn't warranted, but disconnected enough that I start considering putting the last one on a new paragraph. Is it OK ...
12
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3answers
5k views

Does the abbreviation for Saint in a church name require a period?

In referring to a local church, does the name "St Giles" require a period after the "St"? I was told that to add a period confuses it with the abbreviation for street.
-4
votes
1answer
53 views

Can anyone believe “Dord” was in the dictionary for 13 years?! Also, it's a mistake [closed]

I once found out that "Dord" was added to the dictionary for 13 years when it was actually meant to be "D or d," which is the abbreviation for density. Did this happen because the dictionary didn't ...
18
votes
6answers
66k views

“Spelt” vs. “spelled”

In the following sentence, should I say spelled or spelt: You spelt/spelled "Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis" wrong.
2
votes
1answer
59 views

Thesis: spell out numbers or not?

I'm unsure if I should spell out numbers or not, in this specific case of the thesis: This is the area I'm concerned with and I tried both approaches: Setup 1 is a static setup with seven nodes in ...
7
votes
2answers
8k 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?
4
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3answers
12k views

Skyping or Skypeing

How do you spell the word for phoning by Skype? I would like to use the word in a semi-formal way, in a work related email conversation, where I start emails with "Hi". Skyping or Skypeing
19
votes
2answers
2k views

Was the “Ye Olde Shoppe” ever used or is it just an ancient-looking construct of modern times?

Surely, if I were the owner of a shop selling archery goods and wanted to portray my shop as some kind of old-fashioned, high-quality traditional outlet, I might be tempted to call it “Ye Olde Archery ...
15
votes
4answers
2k views

Is the lowercase pronoun “i” a feature of Indian English?

The Rule The personal pronoun “I” is always capitalized in English, regardless of its position in a sentence. This is an orthographic convention that every native speaker should know. Whenever I ...
0
votes
2answers
185 views

Into vs In to, which do I use in this sentence?

I'm writing an op-ed with this sentence: "It was initially – in my mind – a list of people you could ask about whoever it is you’re looking into." According to my understanding of this link ...
15
votes
3answers
763 views

Why does attach have two Ts and detach have only one?

The title says it all. We have two words: Attach Detach Shouldn't they be...? Attach Dettach Or? Atach Detach
1
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0answers
76 views

Spelling etymology of “-il[l]” words

I've noticed that modern English seems to have a very strong bias to spell verbs which end with "-(consonant)-il" with double "l", i.e. "-ill". The overwhelming majority of such verbs (like to will, ...
1
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3answers
792 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. ...
19
votes
4answers
11k views

“Todo list” or “to-do list”

I always thought it was a todo list, and quite a few places online refer to it as todo, but various spell checkers are telling me it should be to-do. The only meaning I could find was ...
0
votes
1answer
63 views

Words containing 2 overlapping standalone words [closed]

I'm looking for words that contain at least two other overlapping words. Word category or origin do not matter (in particular, constituent and containing terms may differ in these regards). Of course, ...
12
votes
5answers
7k views

Is “criterions” a valid plural for “criterion”?

Is criterions a valid plural for criterion? Dictionary.com says it is, but Oxford does not confirm or reject it.
-2
votes
1answer
128 views

The same pronunciation but spelled differently [duplicate]

What do we call words that sound (pronunciation) similar but have different spellings? Just for example : come - kom you - u I've already seen this post but that does not comply with the ...
0
votes
1answer
79 views

Is 'facit' an English word, or spelled much differently than it sounds?

So I know that this is the worst kind of question to ask in text on the internet, but this is driving me crazy. I've used this word for years never knowing that I guess it isn't a word? I will try to ...
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 ...
1
vote
0answers
56 views

Exaggerating the pronunciation of a vowel or consonant

Is there a word for exaggerating the pronunciation of a vowel or consonant by holding it longer than normal? When conveying this in writing, does it fall in the same category as an accent or dialect ...
3
votes
1answer
86 views

Mnemonic for remembering how to spell “Guarantee” [closed]

It seems that I've been trying to remember how to spell guarantee for years, and I still find myself doing the right-click-fix, every. single. time. Are there any tricks / mnemonics for this word?
0
votes
1answer
57 views

Any rules for “-ich” and “-itch” word endings?

Sometimes people are confused between -ich and -itch. For example, I saw someone make a mistake by using swich instead of switch. I wonder, are there any rules for which words have -ich ending and ...
-1
votes
1answer
161 views

Lowercase “moon”, “sun” and “solar system”? [closed]

From a grade school textbook: Good morning, children. I'm an astronomer. I study the stars and the planets. They're amazing! We live on the Earth. The Earth is a planet. It rotates all ...
1
vote
2answers
128 views

Why do 'organization' and 'organisation' both seem to be commonly accepted spellings, and when is one used over the other?

Looking at several online dictionary resources, it seems that the accepted spelling of "organization" is with a 'z', however, even on this site, "organisation" is frequently used as the spelling. Why ...
5
votes
2answers
244 views

“strain gauge” or “gage”?

When referring to a device that measures tensile or compressive force, is the correct spelling strain gauge or strain gage? I realize that in general gage is an archaic spelling of the word gauge, ...
1
vote
2answers
149 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 ...
-1
votes
2answers
119 views

How is the past tense of “error” spelt in British English? [duplicate]

How is the past tense of "error" spelt in British English? Wiktionary says that it's "errored", but its entry for errored doesn't explicitly say it's valid for British English, and I thought it'd get ...
3
votes
5answers
2k views

Are there other words with the same weird spelling / pronunciation combo as “victual”?

I've always thought that "victual" was a funny word because its spelling and pronunciation are so alien to anything else I know of in the English language. The free dictionary explains the origin of ...
5
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

Why is “transferred” written with two R's?

Why is transferred written with two R's? I am a native speaker of Dutch, and in my point of view this isn't logical; there are other words like coloured and endeavoured that only have -ed added after ...
19
votes
4answers
18k views

“Focussed” or “focused”? The double consonant

Initially, my question was: is "focussed" or "focused" the correct past tense of "focus", but since this applies to a lot of words, I would like to generalize and ask: is there supposed to be a rule ...
27
votes
4answers
16k views

“Cancelled” or “Canceled”?

Cancelled or Canceled ? Which one is right? You have successfully canceled the registration or You have successfully cancelled the registration
13
votes
1answer
8k views

“Programming” versus “programing”: which is preferred?

I was surprised that my spell checker did not complain for programing with one m, so I Googled it, and found on free dictionaries that both forms were acceptable. Which one is more common? Does it ...
4
votes
4answers
4k views

What's the correct way to write “foodservice”?

The Cambridge Dictionary writes it in two words while the Wiktionary writes it in one. Wikipedia mostly writes it in one word, but sometimes in two. Should it be written "food service" or ...
4
votes
1answer
279 views

When are 'tion', 'sion', and 'cion' used [closed]

I am confused when the spellings tion, sion, and cion are used in words that contain the shun sound. Are there any rules to help me understand when to use the correct spelling in a word?
1
vote
2answers
49 views

Edited vs emitted - why one t vs two t's

Why does "edited" have one "t" and and "emitted" has two? "Edit" and "emit" are so similar in spelling and pronunciation. I keep wanting to type "editted" for some reason.
0
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4answers
2k 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
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 ...
10
votes
1answer
11k views

Why is “fulfil” spelt as “fulfill” in American English?

In this answer, simplification is stated as one reason for spelling variations in American English. But unlike in color and favorite, the number of letters to spell the word in fulfil increases in ...
-2
votes
1answer
51 views

Tenure or tenor clarification [closed]

I am writing a direct quote and am unsure which spelling is correct. The quote is, "As I understand from the tenure of your testimony ..." Would that be tenure or tenor? Thank you in advance.
0
votes
2answers
28 views

Do parentheses need spaces either side?

I should place parentheses after a space or without any spacing? Which one of below sentences is right? We adopted DM (Data Mining) in this lecture. We adopted DM(Data Mining) in this ...
12
votes
3answers
3k views

Capitalization for a bullet list

The following is from some software documentation we are writing: NOTE: Refreshing a report may be necessary or helpful when: you believe the data in the report has changed since it was ...
17
votes
1answer
1k views

Graphotactics of possessive: the true reason for the apostrophe

I have some hypotheses for English graphotactics: 〈w〉 and 〈y〉 are optional positional variants (i.e. allographs) of 〈u〉 and 〈i〉, respectively, in digraphs that correspond with diphthongs or vowels: ...
0
votes
2answers
62 views

Which is correct, 'self-employed' or 'self employed'? [closed]

In the sentence Self-employed [or Self employed] farmer Belle Vue has lived in the state of Washington all her life. should there be a hyphen between Self and employed?
2
votes
1answer
205 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 ...
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votes
1answer
99 views
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! ...
3
votes
1answer
94 views

Why is the word 'always' written with only one 'L'? [closed]

Does anybody know why the word always is written with one L, although it is formed by putting together two words, all and ways?
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
35 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?