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
2answers
111 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
70 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
67 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
625 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
77 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
48k 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
311 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
5k 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 ...
19
votes
5answers
4k views

Why did they spell it “URL’s”?

I was reading this documentation file of some software and note the plural spelling of this abbreviation is “URL’s”. Why isn’t it “URLs”?
3
votes
4answers
7k views

Why are 'blueish' and 'bluish' both considered correct spellings?

My nine year old son fought hard on this and is taking a stand on spelling bluish as blueish. I'm certain his teacher will mark it as a spelling error in his writing... Several dictionaries have ...
1
vote
1answer
114 views

Difference of hotspot versus hot spot

hot spot -vs- hotspot What's the difference between these two variants? When do I use them? An example sentence is as follows: "Biochar addition is becoming one of the hotspots in soil science." ...
0
votes
2answers
56 views

Word for letters that aren't typographically similar

For example I, 1, or l (lowercase L) can be indistinguishable from one another depending on the persons writing style. The same for the number 0 and the letter O. Is there a word for letters that are ...
0
votes
2answers
19 views

dictations, improving spelling [closed]

I'm looking for a website that would propose free dictations in English, so that I could listen and then type what I hear and at the end to see if I made any mistakes. I was searching in the Internet, ...
22
votes
1answer
2k views

Why are nouns corresponding to verbs ending with “oke” written with “c”?

I was wondering about this for a while now. Could anyone explain this phenomenon or is it just "English quirks"? Examples: invoke/invocation provoke/provocation revoke/revocation
0
votes
0answers
107 views

Why doesn't Buckingham Palace require an article? [duplicate]

There's a whole bunch of them that look as if they would require one, but actually don't: Times Square, Trafalgar Square, Union Square, Carnegie Hall, Central Park, Hyde Park, Westminster Abbey, ...
41
votes
4answers
6k views

Why is ‘i’ in milk pronounced differently from ‘i’ in find?

As far as I know, in words of the structure CVCC, the vowel is usually short. Examples include milk, front, clamp, wasp, sport, etc. However, with some CC types, the vowel seems to always be long ...
0
votes
1answer
33 views

Should I capititalize “Crime Science”? [duplicate]

Not sure if I should use crime science or Crime Science throughout my essay. When should I capitalize the term?
3
votes
1answer
116 views

touchscreen, touch-screen, touch screen? Merriam-Webster and Oxford disagree

I have searched but cannot find a definite answer on the correct to write "touch screen". Merriam-Webster says touch screen. Oxford says touchscreen. And random people around the internet say ...
5
votes
6answers
2k views

How to write Vietnamese names in English correctly? (“Việt Nam” to “Vietnam” or “Viet Nam”?)

Commonly, in writing, the country name in Vietnamese is Việt Nam, in English is Vietnam; its capital city name in Vietnamese is Hà Nội, in English is Hanoi; its largest city name in Vietnamese is ...
12
votes
3answers
924 views

Is 'compatriate' really an English word?

I recently saw the word 'compatriate' used in a newspaper article. Upon looking it up, suspecting a typo (or even an eggcorn: it is easy to see how compatriot would be mixed-up with expatriate etc.), ...
0
votes
1answer
2k views

Should the English word for noodles be ''lamen'' or ''ramen''? [closed]

The Chinese word for noodles is lamen, or la-mien, and the Japanese also call it lamen, using their hiragana/katana syllaby. So the word is spoken with the L sound in both China and Japan (Taiwan, ...
0
votes
0answers
57 views

Use of ligatures such as æ and œ in English [duplicate]

As part of learning the language, I've noticed that ligatures such as æ and œ are no longer common in English. The ligatures are said to be primarily eschewed in favour of the digraphs ae or oe ...
4
votes
1answer
88 views

Why no 'b' in numeric etc

"Number" vs. "Numeric" Also "Enumerate" etc. If I were to guess, I might go for it relating to "Numeral", but I don't see why it should derive from the less common word, nor why Numeral has no b ...
24
votes
5answers
45k views

Correct, clear, concise way to use “potato-potato” in writing

"You say tomato, I say tomato" and the song from the beginning. As an informal turn of speech, it can be used to show that two or more parties are talking about basically the same thing but not in ...
0
votes
2answers
66 views

How should NA be written? [closed]

To my understanding it's an acronym for "Not Applicable", but I've noticed it written the following ways: na NA n/a ~na~ Is there a standard? What do different style guides say? ...
1
vote
1answer
150 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
vote
1answer
68 views

Can we say that the words whose spelling is much contrary to the spelling rules get gradually expelled from English?

Can it be said that the words which are spelled too weird get gradually eliminated from English or their spelling changes to more phonetic? For instance I was thinking about the word "through" which ...
10
votes
2answers
18k views

Why is it spelled “curiosity” instead of “curiousity?”

I have been spelling the word "curiosity" with a u, "curiousity," my whole life, and only today was Chrome's spellcheck bold enough to highlight my lifelong error. I have two questions: The root ...
3
votes
1answer
108 views

Is there a word for misusing or adding letters to words/names?

Some people add or change letters that aren't in a word or name, i.e., "Simonese" cat instead of "Siamese" cat, and French "provinincial" furniture instead of French "provincial" furniture. Also ...
15
votes
3answers
1k views

Why does “attach” have two Ts but “detach” only one?

The title says it all. We have two words: attach detach Shouldn't they be ...? attach dettach Or …? atach detach
10
votes
2answers
8k views

“Draught” or “draft”

I'm referring to the term used to describe the vertical distance between a ship's keel and the waterline. Which is the correct spelling: draught or draft? If either is correct, under which conditions ...
11
votes
5answers
8k views

Is there a good rule of thumb for plurals of words related to music world ending in “o”?

The following words and their plurals seem to be somewhat inconsistent: combo / combos concerto / concertos grotto / grottos / grottoes (?) hero / heros (?) / heroes potato / potatos (?) / potatoes ...
11
votes
4answers
216k views
3
votes
2answers
149 views

Is afeast or possibly affeast, afeest etc. a word?

My English (vai Liverpool)-Canadian mother used this word to mean 'disgusted by' or 'repulsed by.' Example: "he is afeast of mixed foods." meaning you think mixed foods are disgusting or inedible. I ...
2
votes
2answers
47 views

Word choice conundrum

This was presented to me years ago and I've not gotten what I consider a definitively right answer. I'm looking for the word that would go in the brackets in this sentence: There are three common ...
2
votes
0answers
82 views

Does using abbreviated/vernacular spelling affect reading speed? [closed]

The spelling in an average text message is quite bad ('u'=you, 'r'=are, 'l8r'=later, etc), and intentional abbreviations are often used for space concerns. Has the effect of this on reading speed and ...
-3
votes
1answer
85 views

Are punctuations ignored in movie titles? [closed]

There happen to be many movies which are not punctuated correctly. Since English is not my native language, I don't know whether punctuation usage in movie titles is just like punctuation usage for ...
1
vote
3answers
330 views

Nonsmoking or Non-smoking

Would one write that someone is “a nonsmoking so-and-so” or “a non-smoking so-and-so”? I'm not sure if the hyphen is necessary or superfluous.
5
votes
1answer
108 views

How are computers affecting spelling and usage? [closed]

Has spell check changed usage? I type the word "theatre" often; even here while I am typing it is underlined in red, yet Americans who direct, produce, or act in theatre prefer the older spelling. ...
3
votes
6answers
8k views

Where does 'doofus' (or perhaps 'dufus') come from?

Both Dufus and Doofus seem to be common on the web, so I'm not sure which is the correct spelling, if either. It's kind of a cool word. Do we have any idea where/how it originated?
8
votes
1answer
191 views

'-ible' suffix vs. '-able' suffix

This question comes about because I usually always spell the word incorrectly and the spell checker underlines in red the word: compatible. In my head, I always want to spell it compatable, and my ...
0
votes
1answer
104 views

Origin of “Amurrica”

I can't remember the president or politician who famously pronounced America as "Amurrica". I hope someone else can. As in This is Amurrica. Also, is there a standard, or at least better, way ...
5
votes
3answers
919 views

Alignment or alinement?

I was reading Wonders of World Aviation the other day, published in the late thirties, and have found a couple of articles where alinement is preferred to alignment. While this seems to make sense, it ...
1
vote
1answer
48 views

Capitalization of “the” in “the Bible” [duplicate]

Which of these is correct capitalization? Mrs. Ohana gave me the Bible. Mrs. Ohana gave me The Bible.
3
votes
1answer
153 views

Conventions in Old English for use of thorn and eth

Somewhere I got the naive idea that, in Old English, thorn represented the unvoiced "th" sound and eth represented the voiced "th" sound. A little digging has suggested to me that each of the ...
0
votes
2answers
158 views

Why is sacrilegious not spelled like religious? [closed]

Clearly sacrilegious is not necessarily the opposite of religious but derived from the same root. One could make the argument that sacrilegious is also derived from sacred which would imply a ...
87
votes
9answers
36k views

“Username”, “user name” or “user-name”

In computer science, you should have a username or a user name or a user-name and a password to be able to log into the system. Which one is the correct spelling?
6
votes
3answers
40k views

Is it makeup or make-up or make up?

If you take a makeup test, is it correct to call it a makeup, make up, or make-up test? I know that makeup is also what some people put on their faces to look different. I think that make-up is what ...
4
votes
2answers
166 views

Why is the past tense of “may”, “might”?

Why is the past tense of may, might? When you see other past forms of auxiliary verbs, they usually have -ould, like should, could, and would. Unlike other forms, the past tense of may is might not ...