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

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3
votes
2answers
458 views

Why do we say and write “read” instead of “readed” for the past? [closed]

Why do we write read unchanged for present and past, while study changes; we have studied. The present form of read is read, pronounced as "reed". The past form of read is also read but it is ...
1
vote
7answers
33k views

“Mold” vs. “Mould”

While writing about a factory that produces pipes, I needed to refer to how the metal was melted and put into molds/moulds. Which one is it, and is there a correct spelling or are both acceptable?
0
votes
0answers
46 views

Its/It's for “It”, but not for other words? [duplicate]

Why is there a distinction between "it's" and "its"? You can write "The cat's walking." where "cat's" might ambiguously be either "cat is" or "cat (possessive)", and I don't think anyone considers ...
2
votes
2answers
114 views

Why does the pronunciation of “U” vary in English?

The letter U is pronounced differently in different words such as Umbrella and Utensils, as well as when it is Used inside of words such as stUdent and stUdy. Can I please have a grammatical ...
0
votes
2answers
376 views

He had not understood vs He did not understand [closed]

I'm a native Portuguese speaker and some time ago I heard someone say that it is grammatically wrong, in despite of everyday speaking, to construct sentences like "He had not understood" or "She does ...
14
votes
5answers
4k views

How to spell [ʒʊʒd] and what does it mean?

I heard this strange word in American Dad over a year ago and it's been bugging me ever since. Not only do I have no idea how it's spelt, I have no idea how it could possibly be spelt. My only guesses ...
9
votes
3answers
28k views

What is the longest palindrome word in English? [closed]

I want to know what the longest palindrome word is.
1
vote
0answers
49 views

Why is there 'ss' in pessimistic? [closed]

In the word 'pessimistic',we use 'ss'. but my question is that, as I know, there are syllables as: 'pe',ssi','mis','tic'. Here stress falls in 'mis'syllable then it might be doubled 'mis',not 'pessi'. ...
12
votes
3answers
7k views

Why is the spelling of “pronounce” and “pronunciation” different?

Why is the spelling of pronounce and pronunciation different? If one originally did not know the spelling of pronunciation, one would when hearing it verbally deduce its spelling to be pronounciation, ...
3
votes
3answers
67 views

Is “enroute” an acceptable variant of “en route”?

Is "enroute" (without the space) an acceptable variant of "en route"?
3
votes
0answers
68 views

Why is “birthday” one word as opposed to two? “Wedding day” or “graduation day” are two [duplicate]

A birthday is the day of your birth, much like graduation day and wedding day. Why is birthday one word?
-1
votes
2answers
146 views

Movement to reduce “ing” to “in” [closed]

let's face it. More and more people are not saying the silent "g" at the end of swimming, speaking, cooking etc. When will the "ing" become just "in"? It's already used in almost every song, because ...
0
votes
2answers
113 views

Correct spelling: Magic or Magick? [closed]

Is it Magic; or is it Magick? I think the latter is the correct way, even though the latter version is listed in some dictionaries. Why is that?
1
vote
0answers
124 views

What is the rule for duplicating the last letter when adding “-ed”? [duplicate]

I wonder if there is any rule for doubling the p at the end of a stem. For example: stop — stopped but help — helped
17
votes
4answers
4k 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 ...
-1
votes
2answers
79 views

Is subaccount one word?

I looked at the Cambridge and Oxford dictionaries online and they don't contain this word. But typing it into google takes me to the Merriam Webster definition. So does this just come down to taste? ...
2
votes
1answer
308 views

The difference between “anyway” and “any way”

When to use anyway and when to use any way? Anyway I can do it. Any way I can do it. Are these the same?
1
vote
2answers
195 views

What does an italic “a” immediately before a year stand for?

Some citations in the OED have an italic a before the year to indicate the year is uncertain, for example: a​1556 N. Udall Ralph Roister Doister (?1566) iii. iv. sig. E.iijv, By gosse and for ...
1
vote
3answers
12k views

Are “eery” and “eerie” equally acceptable spellings?

I used "eery" yesterday in a text and was corrected jokingly by my correspondent to "eerie." Looking at it after the fact, neither 'looks' right to me and both get through auto-correct with no red ...
11
votes
4answers
762 views

What does “randomically” mean?

I've just read an O’Reilly book and encoutered the word randomically. I highly suspect this is a made up word, but a quick google found it in use here, here, and here. Is this some obscure technical ...
5
votes
1answer
10k views

“Inner” but not “outter”?

in -> inner out -> outer / (outter?) What is the history or set of rules behind why 'inner' doubles the 'n' but 'outer' doesn't double the 't'?
5
votes
2answers
623 views

Which is right: “drop-down” or “drop down”?

What is the proper way to write this term when writing product documentation? Hyphenated or not? drop down list or drop-down list?
104
votes
2answers
7k views

Why is “bicycle” pronounced differently from other obviously related words?

The word bicycle is pronounced /'baɪsɪkəl/ (bahy-si-kuhl), like sickle. However, the words unicycle and motorcycle both have the -cycle pronounced as /-'saɪkəl/ (sahy-kuhl). Is there some sort of ...
12
votes
2answers
33k views

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

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.
0
votes
2answers
137 views

's' or 'z': 'musealisation' versus 'musealization'

As I understand, the term in itself is not consensual, but is there a preferred spelling for musealisation/ musealization, or is it just the 'usual' question of the British/American spelling?
0
votes
1answer
70 views

Question about a sentence in OWL Exercises

About the Exercise: Adjective or Adverb Exercise 1: #3 They proved to be perfectly exact measurements... Isn't this an impossible fact; consequently a incorrect sentence otherwise what is supposed to ...
4
votes
6answers
9k views

Do I spell out a time in an essay?

When I am writing an essay, do I spell out times? How would I write AM or PM? Example: 11:45 PM How would I write that?
-1
votes
1answer
104 views

Why don’t “snow” and “plow” — well, or “plough” — rhyme? [duplicate]

They (sometimes?) have the same ending when spelt but don’t rhyme when said. Why is that?
7
votes
2answers
133 views

Why doesn't blood sound like \ˈblüd\? [duplicate]

The pronunciation of blood is \'bləd\ while words such as moon and spoon (with double 'o') are pronounced as \ˈmün\ and \ˈspün. Why isn't blood pronounced like \ˈblüd\ ?
1
vote
3answers
189 views

Correct use of hyphens in “we offer same day, on site service calls”

What would be the correct hyphenation (if any) for the following sentence? We offer same day, on site service calls. I was thinking of hyphenating "on-site", but I cannot think why "same day" ...
6
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
13
votes
5answers
55k views

Is there any difference between “offense” and “offence”?

"Offense" vs. "offence", which is more correct? If both are correct, are there any differences in shades of meaning and/or usage?
26
votes
6answers
7k 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
128 views

Why do people use “…” in emails after people's names? For example, “Mike… ”

What does this "..." mean in emails? For example, "Mike...You are always welcome to come to our social event."
-2
votes
2answers
1k views

Is it “congrats” or “congrads”? [closed]

Is it appropriate to abbreviate "congratulations" as "congrats" or "congrads", or are both acceptable? I have seen the latter used very often which is why I'm asking.
6
votes
1answer
462 views

Why Abraham and not Avraham?

In the Hebrew scriptures Abraham's name is Avraham and not Abraham (אַבְרָהָם). Is has a v and not a b. The same goes for Rebecca, who is called Rivka in Hebrew. Both v and b sounds are represented by ...
7
votes
6answers
400 views

Ways to Memorize “Discreet” and “Discrete” [closed]

I have a question about discreet and discrete. People tend to get these two words mixed up, and I would like to help them memorize these two words. Discrete: unconnected; separate Discreet: ...
7
votes
4answers
7k views

Is the word “representativity” possible?

I found natural to use the word "representativity" (with regard to a sample population of a survey), but my dictionary does not agree with me. Is "representativity" a valid construction?
1
vote
0answers
324 views

Why are Kansas and Arkansas pronounced differently? [closed]

Arkansas is typically pronounced like so: “ahr-kuhn-saw”   IPA: [ˈɑɹkənˌsɔː] However, Kansas is typically pronounced like this: “kan-zuhs”             IPA: [ˈkænzɨs] Why are these two ...
25
votes
6answers
2k views

Why was the “th” combination chosen for the “th” sound?

Given that the two "th" sounds don't actually sound like a combination of "t" and "h" why was that particular combination selected or become adopted by the majority ?
2
votes
1answer
103 views

Why is butcher paper spelt without an apostrophe?

Why is butcher paper spelt without an apostrophe, rather than as "butcher's paper", when "carpenter's square" is spelt with an apostrophe?
1
vote
1answer
280 views

Etymology vs. ethymology

Merriam-webster lists the word etymology but not ethymology. Is the latter spelling wrong, or is it used in some regional variation?
2
votes
2answers
570 views

Is “Viet Nam” a mistake, a typo, an archaic spelling, a regional spelling, or an idiosyncrasy? [closed]

Is "Viet Nam" a mistake, a typo, an archaic spelling, a regional spelling, or an idiosyncrasy of the author? I found the word in this book, and I can't really tell what type of spelling it is.
0
votes
1answer
54 views

“Stickied thread” or “sticked thread”, when talking about internet forum thread

What is the more correct form? Quick Google research tells that first form is more popular, but don't give a definitive answer about what is the most appropriate.
18
votes
3answers
2k 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
3answers
261 views

Noun phrase converted to verb, is a hyphen needed?

When "air kiss" is treated as a verb, as in "they air kissed", should it be hyphenated to "air-kissed"?
-2
votes
1answer
498 views

Is “wrongly” even a word? [closed]

I came across a news article using the word wrongly. I was told that wrongly isn't a real word. But I saw this in a leading newspaper and wanted a clarification. Also, what is the difference between ...
6
votes
5answers
351 views

Is spelling still drifting?

If you look at texts from a few hundred years ago, they’re almost illegible, what with all the superfluous e’s and y’s running about, the long-S’s (  ſ  ), and so on. Texts from 100 and 120 years ago ...
4
votes
3answers
890 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! ...