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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

0
votes
2answers
36 views

What is the term for following a number, ie: ten (10) with the numeric version for clarity

I see this a fair bit in journal papers, and wanted to know if there is a specific reason and/or term for this: having the spelled/lexical version of a number followed by the literal/logical ...
14
votes
2answers
2k views

Why isn't “muscle” pronounced “muskle”?

It comes from the Latin musculus (meaning mouse) and Latin has only hard c's. The "c" has somehow become soft or silent during evolution. Why did this happen? Also, if muscle is pronounced mussle, ...
1
vote
4answers
370 views

What's the name for when a word changes its pronunciation because of how people read?

With greater literacy in the past 100 years, most English speakers are also proficient at writing. Sometimes due to the great divide between English spellings and the true pronunciation, people will ...
13
votes
4answers
48k views

How do you spell wifi / Wi-Fi / WiFi?

This is probably related to whether one should capitalize Internet or not. I am looking for the correct spelling of wifi when referring to a wireless connection to the Internet. I want to tell the ...
16
votes
2answers
7k views

“Defense” or “defence”

Is the only difference that in USA they write it with s and in UK they write it with c, or is there anything more?
0
votes
1answer
1k views

Which is the correct spelling of mom/mum?

People are saying that Mom is the correct spelling and that it's not American while others are saying it's Mum and than Mom is American. So which is the correct spelling for the UK-English spelling?
13
votes
4answers
2k views

Why is there no consistency in the plural forms of words ending on an “f” (e.g. safe, roof, dwarf, etc.)?

The plural form of leaf is leaves, although according to Merriam-Webster leafs is also correct. Dwarf can be pluralized as either dwarfs or dwarves. Conversely, the words roof and safe are pluralized ...
0
votes
1answer
40 views

usage of separable and inseparable words [duplicate]

Words like wheelbarrow and nailbrush are used mingled, the wheel goes with barrow in inseparable form. On the other hand, words like tank top and high heels as it sounds ...
-1
votes
1answer
83 views

Spelling of the word “Cancelled” [duplicate]

Long ago in grade school we were taught the correct spelling WAS "Cancelled." When did they (spelling police?) decide it is "Canceled?" Personally drives me nuts. I dislike flying and try to avoid it. ...
1
vote
1answer
122 views

Why is “welcome” spelled like this? [duplicate]

Why is the word "welcome" spelled with one "l"? Somewhere in the answers I found a good explanation of the meaning of " welcome". Example: "You have done well to come to me; I am pleased to do it" ...
0
votes
3answers
73 views

English language for in between [closed]

What would be the correct spelling for "in between" for the following: From the Sierra's to the sea and everywhere in between. or From the Sierra's to the sea and everywhere inbetween.
17
votes
3answers
2k views

Why is there a distinction between “its” and “it's”?

While I know technically the English language has a distinction because when there's a conflict between the possessive form and a contraction, the contraction wins. That is: Its is the possessive ...
2
votes
1answer
7k views

Is “thank's” an alternative correct spelling?

My colleague who is American spells "thank's" (with an apostrophe) and when I ask him why he said because it's "more formal" and "he uses American English". Is this true? Can you really spell "thank'...
4
votes
2answers
20k views

“Theater” vs. “Theatre” in American English

Why is it that "theater" and "theatre" do not follow the traditional rules of British and American spelling? British spellings like "metre" and "centre" are consistently switched to "meter" and "...
25
votes
3answers
2k views

Possessive of a word that is already possessive

If the cricket ground Lord's is a possessive, what if you want to describe something belonging to Lord's? Would you say: I was very impressed by Lord's's customer services. It doesn't look right,...
25
votes
4answers
167k views

Difference between “publicly” and “publically”

I know publically appears as an incorrect spelling in most dictionaries (in fact as I type this up on my Safari browser it keeps trying to correct the spelling to publicly). However I have seen the ...
4
votes
2answers
157 views

What is the significance of having a silent letter like “k” in a word? [duplicate]

Why is the k silent in: known /nəʊn/; knife /nʌɪf/, and knight /nʌɪt/? What does this specify?And what is k doing there if there is no need to pronounce it?
12
votes
2answers
555 views

Silent “e” at the end of words

Back in 2009, a job interviewer sent me a link to a web service that would help me make a free telephone call via the internet... Skype. As a native speaker, I knew "instinctively" to pronounce this "...
94
votes
1answer
355k views

What's the difference between “requester” and “requestor”?

Both are in dictionaries. I've heard people insist "requester" is correct for a person who requests something, and that "requestor" is wrong there, leaving me to wonder how it is used. Requestor ...
0
votes
1answer
106 views

Why is “collaborate” not spelled “collabourate” in British English?

Everyone knows that labour in British English is labor in American English. However, a cursory examination of a dictionary shows the words collabourate and collabourator, derived from the mentioned ...
6
votes
2answers
297 views

Are you googlable?

The search engine Google was launched in 1998 and on that same year, the term googling was first used. The verb “to google” earned its official status in the Oxford English Dictionary on June 15, ...
16
votes
4answers
1k views

What was going on with “quha”, “quhat” and the like in Scots and English?

From the Dictionar o the Scots Leid: Quha, Quhay, interrog. and rel. pron. Also: qwha, qha, qua, qwa, wha, vha, hua; qhaa; quhaw; quhai qwhay, whay, quay; quhae, whae; quhe, quhey, qwhey. [...
0
votes
1answer
78 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
298 views

To “Macgyver” or to “macgyver”?

I recently came across this usage “we Macgyver…” and the use of the upper case caught my attention. I googled the word to see if it is mentioned in the dictionary; Wiktionary gave me this result, ...
0
votes
2answers
317 views

What is the plural for timeout?

In basketball, football, hockey, and many other sport the teams get a set number of timeouts. I was watching a summer league NBA game and there were some stat nerds talking and one referenced that "...
6
votes
2answers
7k views

Participle of “center/centre” in UK English — “centring”? Seriously? [closed]

As an American, I was never shocked to see the word "center" spelled as "centre." It didn't bother me at all. Honestly. But then I saw the participle of it spelled as "centring" as opposed to "...
5
votes
5answers
777 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
89 views

Is 'phone wrong?

I have seen phone spelled as 'phone. Obviously this is an acknowledgement that the full word used to be telephone. Is this spelling objectionable?
4
votes
0answers
53 views

Why does quizzes have two zs [duplicate]

I didn't think I had to add an extra z when making it plural, but I did. Why is that? Just some weird anomaly like so many things in English spelling? Or is there a history behind it?
15
votes
2answers
20k views

Why is the “a” in “cocoa” silent?

Not being a native speaker of English, one of those words that tripped me up is “cocoa”. Besides having its vowels inverted from “cacao”; it also is pronounced exactly the same as “coco”, whereas “...
17
votes
1answer
1k views

Why is “fridge” spelt with a 'd' but “refrigeration” spelt without one?

The question is in the title, why does the word, refrigeration not have a 'd' in it when fridge does?
64
votes
6answers
4k views

How come 'ou' was reduced to 'o' in the US?

Americans write color and favorite, when others say colour and favourite. How/why did this happen?
28
votes
4answers
8k views

Plural of an initialism that ends with the letter S [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the correct way to pluralize an acronym? I was answering something on Super User and wrote OSes as part of my normal flow without really thinking about it. On a re-...
143
votes
3answers
5k views

Where were “should”, “shall”, and “must” in the 18th Century?

According to the following Google Ngram, in the U.K. the modals should, shall, and must were virtually missing from English writing during the 18th Century (I've added will for a comparison modal ...
17
votes
3answers
3k 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 don'...
2
votes
3answers
133 views

Demonyms - When a place ends on an “s” sound, why are its inhabitants sometimes spelled with a “t”? (e.g. Mars - Martian)

I am not natively English speaking and I was wondering about this spelling when I saw the title of the movie "The Martian". This pattern also seems to apply to other things ending on an "s" sound, ...
1
vote
2answers
53 views

Usage of the “non” word when describing something which does not belong to a project (or any organizational group)

The dictionary contains many words which start with "non", e.g. non-acceptance or nonacceptance (with a hyphen and without it). I tried to find out if I can build a new word by using the word "non" ...
2
votes
1answer
38 views

Using hyphens: “Mona-Lisa-like” or “Mona Lisa-like”?

Would it be correct to say: The person had a Mona-Lisa-like expression. or The person had a Mona Lisa-like expression. It strikes me that the former is correct, but I wanted to be sure.
0
votes
4answers
8k 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
34 views

Holiday card help

Say my last name is soloniewicz. Is it: Happy holidays from the Soloniewicz's Happy holidays from the Soloniewiczs Happy holidays from the Soloniewiczes I'm leaning towards the number three, but ...
0
votes
4answers
64 views

slang-ism vs slangism vs slang [closed]

I came across the following sentence here in this community: It is a slangism for "optimal" or "tuned". I was about to edit it to the following: It is slang for "optimal" or "tuned". I ...
2
votes
2answers
120 views

Correct use of hyphenation with multi-word noun and adjective [duplicate]

I am not a native English speaker and was wondering how to properly combine the noun "password policy" and the adjective "based". So for "policy", I would write "policy-based", but how about "...
2
votes
2answers
76 views

Which is more correct: T-shirt or t-shirt?

Can we use small letter, while writing: T-shirt? What is correct and why: T-shirt or t-shirt? Thank you.
50
votes
2answers
9k 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
vote
2answers
119 views

“look-up tables”, “look up tables” or “lookup tables”

Do you have any advice which version of "look-up tables" vs. "look up tables" vs. "lookup tables" I should be prefer (in a scientific context)? ...which leads me to a [follow-up/followup/follow ...
5
votes
1answer
752 views

Thrown by 'broncho.' Or is it 'bronco'? Or 'bronc'?

Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, first edition (1908) has this entry for broncho: Broncho (brŏn´kō), n. {Sp. bronco rough, wild.} A native or a Mexican horse of small size. {Western U.S.} Four ...
1
vote
0answers
78 views

About how many words of four letters are there in English?

I was trying to determine about how many words there are in English, with four letters. (Ideally, excluding "s" plural, so cats and dogs would not be included.) Does anyone have any concrete ...
17
votes
4answers
54k 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
370 views

Strong /strɔːŋ/ → stronger /strɔːŋɡər/ - Why do we have to put an extra /g/ in front of /ər/? Is it a rule?

Ok, see this in the dictionary: Strong /strɔːŋ/ --> Stronger /strɔːŋɡər/ Why do we have to put an extra /g/ in front of /ər/? But "/sing" /sɪŋ/ & "/singer" /ˈsɪŋər/ do not adhere to that rule. ...
5
votes
3answers
6k views

Do any people distinguish between “analog” and “analogue”?

In my personal usage, the words "analog" and "analogue" are allocated to two different meanings of the word. One refers specifically to non-digital signals, for example: The analog clock reads 5:...