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

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19
votes
2answers
4k views

Is it “falsy” or “falsey”?

I have seen both versions of the word, falsy and falsey. It can mean "something that is equivalent to false" in computer science, such as "The only two falsy values in the Ruby Language are false and ...
3
votes
5answers
5k 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?
12
votes
1answer
16k views

“Philippines” vs. “Filipino”

Why is Filipino spelled with an F? Philippines is spelled with a Ph. Some have said that it's because in Filipino, Philippines starts with F; but if this is so, why did we only change the beginning of ...
3
votes
2answers
8k views
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 ...
17
votes
2answers
7k views

Why does the 'b' in absorb change to a 'p' in absorption?

The question pretty much says it all. Why is "absorbtion" an incorrect spelling?
0
votes
1answer
74 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
174 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
212 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: ...
4
votes
7answers
31k views

Are there regional distinctions in how hiccup/hiccough is spelled?

So I was a student of English was taught English right on the border between the US and Canada. My husband (who is from the Southwestern states) was reading something I wrote where I used the ...
2
votes
1answer
86 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
26k views

“Wear off” or “ware off” [closed]

Iv'e seen both spellings of the phrase. Is one correct and the other incorrect or are they both acceptable? Does one belong to British English?
8
votes
3answers
313 views

Are vowel ligatures common in any disciplines these days?

Are there any areas of writing, literature or science where æ or œ are still used? Are there contexts where they are still considered mandatory?
0
votes
1answer
222 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
169 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
544 views

Why are I and O always capitalized, but a is not?

There are three single-letter words. They are the article a, the pronoun I, and the interjection O. The pronoun I and the interjection O are always capitalized, but the article a follows normal ...
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?
155
votes
1answer
192k views

When should I use an em-dash, an en-dash, and a hyphen?

I generally know how to use a hyphen, but when should I use an en-dash instead of an em-dash, or when should I use a hyphen instead of an em-dash?
17
votes
2answers
12k views

“noone”, “no one” or “no-one”?

What is the correct form? Does context play a role? Are there noticeable trends towards the awkward "noone" or is it just a by-product of careless orthography on the Internet?
5
votes
2answers
149 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
votes
2answers
306 views

Is “bared fruit” grammatical? [closed]

Am I the only one whos athletic career bared fruit? Is this sentence correct grammatically?
19
votes
5answers
2k views

Is “princessship” a real word? Are there any other words which have the same letter 3 times consecutively?

One of my friends argues that princessship is the only word which has 3 identical letter comes together (s) ,but I think there is no word such as princessship. Can anyone tell me whether this is a ...
1
vote
0answers
20 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
87 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 ...
30
votes
2answers
9k views

When is “L” doubled?

Some verbs can have double Ls in the gerund form; for example: modeling; modelling traveling; travelling Which form should we use, or which form is used more in the literature?
0
votes
1answer
125 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.
6
votes
3answers
5k views

adding a prefix “re” to a word, with or without a hyphen?

In science we often invent words, but that doesn't mean we know how to spell them. Most of the time words are invented by adding prefixes. In that case should there be a hyphen or not? Specifically, I ...
1
vote
2answers
258 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
65 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 ...
19
votes
3answers
7k views

“Time zone” vs. “Timezone”

My spell checker shows that both "time zone" and "timezone" are correctly spelled. Which one of these is the correct one to use?
1
vote
1answer
148 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
859 views

Character vs Charm - Pronunciation

Is there a rule to understand how the group "Cha" has to be pronounced? "Character" sounds with a hard first syllable, while "Charm" sound softer, but I don't find how to tell which sound to use ...
4
votes
4answers
392 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
65 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
34k views

Is 'useable' preferred in certain regions, or just an alternate spelling of 'usable'?

I rarely use spell checkers, but today when I did use one, it suggested changing the word 'useable' to 'usable' (i.e. to drop the first 'e'). This seemed immediately intuitive and I thought I'd just ...
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
87 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
89 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
141 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 ...
17
votes
7answers
44k views

What's the difference between “adviser” and “advisor” — are both interchangeable?

I work for a financial services provider and we deal with "Financial Advisors" all the time. Increasingly, I'm seeing people send emails and so forth with the term "Financial Adviser" and the terms ...
1
vote
1answer
65 views

Proper way to include a single character in a sentence, “V,” 'V,' or italic? [closed]

What is the proper way to include a single character within a sentence, double quotation marks, single quotation marks, or italicize it? For example, should it be: The man's face resembled a "V." ...
7
votes
3answers
7k views

“shyer” or “shier”

My Longman dictionary states that the comparative of 'shy' is 'shyer'. However, at least two online dictionaries also give the form 'shier' as being acceptable: The Free Dictionary and ...
32
votes
6answers
95k views

What is the difference between dialogue and dialog?

I am American, and I always thought the difference between dialogue and dialog was one of meaning, the way Merriam-Webster has them listed: 2 entries found: dialogue (noun) dialog box ...
-2
votes
2answers
181 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
62 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
68 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
71 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
35k views

Spelling “Yeah” and “Yea”

When I read the words "yea" or "yeah", each spelling can mean two different things. An exclamation of joy, as in, Yea[h] for ice cream!` Assent, like "yep" or "yes", as in, Yea[h], ...