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
200 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
40 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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
95 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
1k 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
73 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
52 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.)
27
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
60 views

“exhaust gas aftertreatment” vs. “exhaust gas after treatment”

My question is related to filters and catalysts in vehicles. I would name them "exhaust gas aftertreatment". However MS Word always corrects this to "exhaust gas after treatment". What is correct? ...
1
vote
2answers
113 views

Can I place a comma before and after a possessive noun?

Should I put a comma before and after "Luke's"? Thank you for considering us for your cat Luke’s grooming needs.
0
votes
1answer
174 views

does the slogan “furniture made by makers” make sense? [closed]

I am working on a slogan for a new furniture website that will feature furniture made by different individual makers and English isn't my first language, so I was wondering if this slogan made sense: ...
2
votes
1answer
76 views

What is the linguistic perception phenomenon when a person can read a word whose inner letters are rearranged?

What is this linguistic perception phenomenon called? Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht ...
1
vote
0answers
26 views

Hurray vs Hooray? [duplicate]

I've seen two different spellings of this word - which is correct: hurray, or hooray? As in: You haven't got any outstanding alerts to action — hurray! I'm interested specifically in ...
0
votes
1answer
125 views

non-living vs nonliving [closed]

What is the proper way to spell this word? This in the context of writing a curriculum for children distinguishing living vs non-living things. Is it non-living or nonliving?
0
votes
1answer
129 views

What to use after a word which ends with “se” to indicate possession? [duplicate]

I apologize for the seemingly simple question. I've searched on Google for this, but could not find anything. The word "Recluse", meaning (noun) "a person who lives a solitary life and tends to avoid ...
5
votes
1answer
3k 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
137 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'?
1
vote
1answer
89 views

“long” <i> - inconsistencies in the relationship 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 ...
-1
votes
2answers
196 views

Is “bared fruit” grammatical? [closed]

Am I the only one whos athletic career bared fruit? Is this sentence correct grammatically?
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
70 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
790 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
121 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.
1
vote
2answers
132 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
132 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
176 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
315 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
60 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
62 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
52 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
65 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
85 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
107 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 ...
-2
votes
2answers
127 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
58 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
68 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
63 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
275 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
658 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. ...
17
votes
2answers
308 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
360 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 ...
22
votes
3answers
2k views

Why did the letter “o” disappear in the word “pronunciation”?

The verb pronounce has the letter o in its second syllable, but in the noun pronunciation, that same letter disappears from the corresponding position. Why is that?
2
votes
2answers
217 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.
5
votes
1answer
356 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
vote
3answers
181 views

LOL: Spelling double l or single l for 'lolled, lolling' vs 'loled, loling' [closed]

The word 'lol' (lower case) is now sometimes used in the English language. Should we spell its past tense as 'lolled' or 'loled'? And should it be 'lolling' or 'loling'?
5
votes
2answers
252 views

Why “pastime” but not “passtime”?

pastime n. An activity that occupies one's spare time pleasantly: Sailing is her favorite pastime. [TFD] Etymonline says that it is from pass + time: late 15c., passe tyme "recreation, ...
37
votes
2answers
3k views

Where does “ö” fall in alphabetical ordering?

Much to my surprise, I just learned that some English-language documents use the ö character. I need to know, when sorting words in an English-language document, where is ö placed? before A? ...
8
votes
3answers
498 views

Why does the word “coffee” have two “e’s”?

We know what coffee is and where the word comes from. Coffee was originally borrowed from: The word "coffee" entered English language in 1582 via Dutch koffie,[4] borrowed from Turkish kahve, in ...
2
votes
3answers
579 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
226 views

Why do people pronounce “f***ing” like “f***en”? [duplicate]

I'm not a native English speaker so I might not be exactly accurate with this, but whenever people (e.g. in films) say fucking, it sounds something like fucken. There's no "g" at the end and instead ...
0
votes
2answers
184 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 ...