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

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0
votes
3answers
244 views

Do you hand something over or off?

I am looking for the correct American English expression and spelling. My particular context is that I am responsible for something precious, which I give to somebody else, who is then responsible ...
13
votes
4answers
949 views

Why is “wavelength” one word when “wave height” isn't?

Why is “wavelength” one word when “wave height” isn't? As another example, wave speed is two words. But wavelength is only one word. What is the reason for this? In Swedish and other contructs, ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

“Parametrise” or “parameterise” a curve?

In British English, which one is correct? Does one parameterise a curve or parametrise it?
0
votes
0answers
12 views

Is it possible to use a hyphen in a listing (in a sentence) for abbreviation, even if the compound word consists of two separate words [duplicate]

I'm currently asking myself if it is possible to use "-" for abbreviation in a listing in a sentence to emphasize the togetherness of the previous words and the word in the end, even if they are two ...
6
votes
1answer
5k views

“Exercise” but not “exercize”

Many words are spelled with -ise in British English and -ize in American English: realise/realize sanitise/sanitize scrutinise/scrutinize But exercise can only be spelled with -ise, never with ...
0
votes
0answers
33 views

“e” before “i” in the word “weird” [duplicate]

In elementary school, I was taught the rhyme: "i" before "e" except after "c", and in words like "neighbor" and "weigh" Obviously this means that "ei" is used in "deceive" (it comes after "c") ...
-1
votes
4answers
158 views

“Linder” or “linnder” for lunch/dinner

We have plans for a late lunch / early dinner planned for 4:00 pm in mid December. I would like to indicate that it's more than lunch and less than dinner. I have heard it called linder or ...
27
votes
1answer
21k views

“Sign up” vs. “signup”

When we have a button on a website for creating an account, should it say "sign up" or "signup"? I see "sign up" in most places, but which is the correct one?
8
votes
1answer
255 views

Is “vapourise” considered incorrect, even in British English?

According to Wiktionary, the British spelling of "vaporize" is vaporise, not vapourise as one might expect from the word vapour (and similarly, the Canadian spelling is still vaporize, not vapourize). ...
0
votes
1answer
51 views

“Next one” vs “next”

What is the difference between the "next one" and just "next"? Let's suppose we have a lot of people in a queue, and as one person comes, someone says "the next one is white, tall, has black eyes, is ...
13
votes
2answers
933 views

Canadian spelling: why?

As a Canadian, I feel that our spelling tendencies—sometimes British, sometimes American—fit quite well with our geographic, historic and cultural placement between these two bigger countries. I have ...
-1
votes
1answer
96 views

Are sneer quotes the same exact thing as scare quotes? [closed]

Are sneer quotes the same exact thing as scare quotes? I believe they're synonymous but am unsure.
5
votes
4answers
10k views

“An other” vs “another”

I just edited this answer on unix.sx. The original sentence was But it won't transform it to an other format. I changed this to But it won't transform it to another format. The second form ...
1
vote
4answers
77 views

Terms for game mode depending on number of players

Suppose you have a game with following modes: a human player with no opponents a human player with a computer/AI opponent multiple human players The third mode is referred to as multiplayer. The ...
0
votes
3answers
492 views

When we will use soft and hard sound in 'c'? [closed]

Sometimes we use the soft sound, and sometimes the hard – but why? Is there any rule?
3
votes
3answers
4k views

“Archivable” or “archiveable”

I have an entity and I would like to describe it as being able to be archived. Is it archivable, archiveable (which seem OK for me but no wiktionary.org results) or something else?
0
votes
1answer
45 views

Italics used for the plural treatment of words? [duplicate]

Do these look right to you? I'm pluralizing the following words. In doing so, I'm italicizing the word to be pluralized but not the 's': ands (instead of and's) wherefores (instead of wherefore's) ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Why is quixotic pronounced as it is?

Since "quixotic" was coined with Don Quixote as its basis, why is it pronounced "kwicks-OTT-ick" when it should by rights/origin be pronounced "Key-HO-tick"? It even sounds more onomatopoeiatic the ...
0
votes
1answer
848 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, ...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

When should you use “then” and when “than”?

As far as I know, then is used in a conjunction and in time-related sentences; than in all other cases. I believe that these are correct: Because I'm older than she, I should be the first chosen; I ...
3
votes
2answers
912 views

American English Pronunciation of “o” sound long or short?

I'm always confused about how to pronounce words with letter o in spelling. For example, in the word boss, I always pronounce the o as short o, when in fact it is long o. Collar is short, but I always ...
3
votes
5answers
855 views

“Hostname” or “host name”?

When we are talking about computers, I see both hostname and host name being used. Which is more proper? Should I put the space in there?
3
votes
1answer
853 views

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

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 ...
0
votes
0answers
33 views

Why “qu” is pronounced “qw” (as in quit, question) [duplicate]

Or to put it the other way, why qu is not spelled qw, as qwit, qwestion, for quit, question.
0
votes
0answers
20 views

How and why did “absorb” morph into “absorption” and not “absorbtion”? [duplicate]

Simply put, how and why did "absorb" morph into "absorption" and not "absorbtion"? Additionally, can you think of any other words which morphed in like manner?
2
votes
3answers
209 views

Is hierarchial a word?

I've found one reference that says hierarchial is an alternative form of hierarchical, but it's an unreferenced resource. Some wiseacre wrote a bug fix for my software saying hierarchical was the ...
2
votes
2answers
767 views

Is it spelled “propeling” or “propelling” in American English?

Since travel becomes traveler and traveling in AmE (no double l), I thought that the same rule applied to propel. However, reading and writing propeling feels awkward. (And propeler feels even more ...
1
vote
1answer
236 views

Capitalization of honorifics such as “your excellency”, “your majesty”, “your holiness”

When addressing an ambassador, is it I agree with your excellency. or should your, excellency, or both be capitalized? Likewise with "your majesty" and "your holiness".
6
votes
4answers
6k views

Which is the proper spelling: “Adapter” or “adaptor”?

In my current project we are writing a program to convert a newer protocol to an older one. These conversion programs are being referred to as adapters, but the team cannot agree which spelling to ...
1
vote
2answers
223 views

pronunciation rule for grapheme “a” in words like “nefarious,” “variation” and “temporary”

English pronunciation / spelling guides appear to state that the letter/grapheme "a" is pronounced either as the "short a" with IPA symbol /æ/, as in "mat" or the "long a" with IPA symbol /eɪ/, as in ...
1
vote
1answer
119 views

Why did the past tense ending -t change to -ed?

My posts are often questions for further knowledge about reasons for language change. In this extract from 1750, there are three variations on the past tense form. Once again, I am grateful if anyone ...
2
votes
4answers
3k views

“systematize” vs. “systemize”

Merriam-Webster defines "systemize" as an alternate spelling of "systematize." Is there any reason to choose one over the the other (besides "systematize" sounding a little weird to my ears)? I did ...
4
votes
4answers
402 views

What's with the apostrophe in the standard spelling of the idiom “how's about”?

A recent question on EL&U asks Is it correct to use "how's" as short for "how does"? I have a series of tangentially related questions about a fairly common (in American ...
36
votes
3answers
11k views

What is the plural form of “zero”?

I tried looking on Google, but there are some fairly contradictory results. I thought I'd ask you guys so we could get an authoritative answer on the subject!
-2
votes
1answer
162 views

Choose the proper variant to complete the sentence:

... misses the kisses, ... kisses the misses. A) An rejected lover, a accepted lover B) An accepted lover, a rejected lover C) A rejected lover, an accepted lover
13
votes
5answers
18k views

“Y'all” or “ya'll”?

I've seen it spelled both ways. Are both correct?
1
vote
1answer
176 views

Why `night` with gh?

I am not native speaker. And me very interesting why night writting with gh? Thanks
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Between '(s)he' & 'he/she' — which is recommended/ preferable?

When talking about or referring to someone who could either be a male or a female, I usually write it as (s)he but I have also seen usage like he/she, which also seems correct to me. I use (s)he ...
18
votes
4answers
44k views

“Spelt” vs. “spelled”

In the following sentence, should I say spelled or spelt: You spelt/spelled "Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis" wrong.
1
vote
2answers
510 views

What is Iridescent with an extra “r?”

Below is quoted from vocabulary.com. ... (The word) Iridescent came to be in 1796, when some enthusiastic word maker took the Latin word iris, which means "rainbow," and morphed it into an English ...
10
votes
3answers
8k views

Is the proper spelling “judgment” or “judgement”?

I always thought the proper spelling was  judgment, but I see  judgement all the time, even in articles, news, etc. Merriam-Webster lists  judgement as a variant spelling for judgment. But is the ...
1
vote
2answers
83 views

Commas with quotes [duplicate]

I read the following sentence1: He rallied the Senate with the plea, “It’s time to change the Senate before this institution becomes obsolete.” I’m wondering whether a comma should be placed ...
-1
votes
1answer
169 views

Why is “success” spelled with double -S?

What is the function of the double s at the end of the word, success?
4
votes
0answers
66 views

Why do you write “receive” with “ei” but “retrieve” with “ie”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why is it true that “I before E, except after C”? Both words are similar in pronunciation but different in spelling. Why is it that receive is written with ei but ...
3
votes
1answer
168 views

What's the most preferred spelling of auto fill, auto-fill, and autofill?

When you are trying to say that something is automatically filled in, you use the word autofill, or if you were using past tense, autofilled. I see 3 main ways that people use it: auto fill / ...
27
votes
7answers
9k views
1
vote
1answer
58 views

Formatting and ellipses when quoting parts of a list

When quoting a list not in its entirety, but only the points 2–5 of 10, how do I set out the quote? Do I add "..." at the beginning and end of the quote as shown below? ... 2. At all ...
1
vote
3answers
121 views

Was “nowadays” ever spelled with hyphens?

etymonline doesn't note that nowadays ever had a spelling with hyphen but I found a few random sites claiming that it once was hyphenated. Was it ever spelled as "now-a-days"?
0
votes
1answer
83 views

Why is the beginning of a quote in old text sometimes denoted by a capital letter but no quotation marks?

In the following text of Pamela by Samuel Richardson, well is capitalised — possibly to denote speech, where inverted commas have been neglected. As GEdgar points out, this is not an isolated ...
2
votes
5answers
3k views

Where does the phrase “fair do's/dues/doos/does” come from?

I was researching the phrase fair do's, attempting to determine which spelling was most appropriate, and where it had come from. Unfortunately most of the information I could find was very ...