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

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4
votes
3answers
892 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! ...
-1
votes
1answer
128 views

what is the difference between turn out and come out

What should be the correct answer for the question below.Please help. Nobody believed Galileo's theory initially but it -came out- to be right. (1)worked out (2)turned out (3)carried out (4)no ...
4
votes
1answer
17k views

When should I use “guarantee” over “guaranty” and vice versa?

When would I use guarantee instead of guaranty? The dictionary definitions seem pretty much the same. Excepting maybe the noun form of the word. I have a real world example. A website I'm working ...
1
vote
0answers
142 views

Should we change the spelling of English? [closed]

First. I am an American, born and raised in USA. I am a special education teacher in the US. I initially wanted to learn phonics in order to teach reading. Yet,there is really no way to teach ...
3
votes
2answers
235 views

Words with Transposed or Inverted Syllables

In its definition of sideburns, Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition (2003) refers to the spelling as an "anagram of burnsides." But since derubniss, sisburden, and ubersnids are ...
5
votes
5answers
3k views

“Runtime”, “run time”, and “run-time”

The CLR under .NET is referred to as the "Common Language Runtime." It seems that the convention is "runtime" for a noun and "run-time" for the adjective. Is this correct or should it be "runtime" ...
0
votes
1answer
109 views

Is spelling part of Language? [closed]

In response to another question I asked, I was told spelling is not a part of language because it is a part of writing. This statement confuses me. Writing is a form of communication and is ...
21
votes
4answers
14k views

Is it “front-end”, “frontend”, or “front end”?

Possible Duplicate: When to use a hyphen in writing a compound word Which is correct? front-end engineering frontend engineering front end engineering I looked over ...
12
votes
1answer
1k 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?
2
votes
2answers
405 views

Why is imperialism not spelled empirialism?

If the goal of imperialism is to create an empire, why is the word not spelled "empirialism"?
3
votes
2answers
203 views

If a letter isn't pronounced but affects pronunciation of other letters, is it still 'silent'?

The 'e' in paste isn't pronounced on its own, but changes the pronunciation of the 'a'. In that case, is the 'e' still referred to as silent?
7
votes
2answers
37k views

How do you spell “Aye Yai Yai”

The phrase that's spoken when someone is hand-wringing about a thorny problem. Speaker One: Uh-oh -- we have to reformat ALL THE DOCUMENTS! Speaker Two: Aye Yai Yai, that's a lot of work! "Aye ...
76
votes
4answers
6k views

Why is “cannot” spelled as one word?

Why is “cannot” spelled as one word whereas other similar constructions such as “do not,” “will not,” “shall not,” “may not” and “must not” are spelled as two words (unless they are contracted as ...
2
votes
3answers
897 views

Percent or per cent

How should I choose between writing "percent" and "per cent"? For example: He sold 42 percent of his stock in the company. or He sold 42 per cent of his stock in the company. Are there ...
0
votes
1answer
63 views

programme or program [duplicate]

I am wondering which is the correct version? Furthermore, the official length of my programme of study: 3.5 years of full-time study and 16 weeks of internship. Furthermore, the official ...
5
votes
2answers
6k views

Use of hypens with “auto”: autopopulate, auto-populate, or auto populate?

I've done a fair amount of research (like here), but I can't find any examples of hyphen rules with "auto". Microsoft Word doesn't take "autopopulate", but will accept either auto-populate or auto ...
13
votes
2answers
272 views

Appropriate title case: 'em or 'Em or 'EM

It's a common practice to capitalize headings/titles of articles. But is there a correct or conventional way to capitalize words in titles that are apocopated apheresed at the beginning? E.g. ...
9
votes
3answers
6k views

“grammar nazi” or “grammar Nazi”?

Should Nazi be capitalized in the phrase grammar nazi/Nazi? While I can't think of any other examples right now, I would like to extend the question to ask if the words which are historically nouns ...
-1
votes
1answer
258 views

How to hyphenate “right mouse click”

What's the proper way to hyphenate the expression "right mouse click". I'm writing documentation for some software I wrote. "Please right mouse click on ...".
0
votes
1answer
552 views

How to spell 'ewww' as in 'ewww ahhh' [closed]

I was wondering how I should spell 'ewww' as in 'ewww ahhh': Bob showed Jill his most impressive set of magic cards. Jill, impressed, said, 'ewwww[sp?] ahhhhhh.' ...
2
votes
1answer
108 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
3k views

Full-time or full time, part-time or part time?

Having a debate here over how to form the description of employment. A) Bob works full time on the project. B) Bob works full-time on the project. The same applies for part time/part-time. Which ...
11
votes
4answers
5k views

Why is “liquorice” pronounced (or spelt) so strangely?

Liquorice is pronounced ˈlɪkərɪʃ. But every other word I can think of ending with -ice is pronounced differently (such as police or rice). How did liquorice get such a strange pronunciation, or ...
2
votes
2answers
447 views

Should a hyphen be used when constructing words using suffixes such as “-ly” and “-wise” when the resulting word isn't in the dictionary?

Should a hyphen be used when constructing words using suffixes such as -ly and -wise when the resulting word isn't in the dictionary? For example: money-wise moneywise Which one is better?
0
votes
1answer
108 views

Hyphen omission: a matter of habit or plain error?

I'm not a native English speaker so I'm struggling to get this right. I understand (and this question confirms) that compound adjectives such as well-organized, high-level, Spanish-speaking, etc, ...
7
votes
3answers
8k views

Is it “flotation” or “floatation”?

Is the difference between flotation and floatation a US/UK difference or something else? I think I did see floatation in some physics book.
1
vote
0answers
833 views

Why do certain words have the same type of spelling but different pronunciation? [duplicate]

There are words like 'but' , 'cut' etc pronounced in the same way, but 'put' is pronounced differently. Put has the same structure as but and cut (One 'u' between two consonants). So why is it ...
5
votes
3answers
651 views

How much mmmm should be in hmmmmmmm

This is my first question here. I am not a fluent English speaker. I just know the basics. My question is how many m's should be there in "hmm" as when I try typing it anywhere, it suggests "hmmm," ...
16
votes
3answers
23k views

Why is the word 'bologna' pronounced like 'baloney'?

Why is the word 'bologna' (as in a bologna sandwich) pronounced so differently from the way it's spelled? The word 'lasagna' isn't pronounced 'lasagney'... The American sausage is derived from a ...
5
votes
1answer
95 views

“strain gauge” or “gage”?

When referring to a device that measures tensile or compressive force, is the correct spelling strain gauge or strain gage? I realize that in general gage is an archaic spelling of the word gauge, ...
1
vote
3answers
208 views

“Out-of-this-world experiences” vs. “out of this world experiences”

I was wondering if the hyphenated version should be used? The context is: Introducing the World Cup box from McDonald's: the meal filled with out of this world experiences.
6
votes
3answers
2k views

How was 'Sundae' derived from 'Sunday'?

On Sunday, April 3,2011, Google displayed a commemorative graphic for the 119th anniversary of the first documented case of the Ice Cream Sunday. (Image comes from: ...
2
votes
4answers
639 views

Why is the Christian god being spelled with a lowercase letter? [duplicate]

It's been going on for some time, but the phenomenon which was once seen as almost an act of rebellion is now becoming more commonplace. God, capitalized, is increasingly seen only at the start of a ...
10
votes
1answer
19k views

“Queueing” or “Queuing”

Which spelling is better, queueing or queuing? Both words seem to mean the same (or am I wrong?), but there are two different spellings. My context is: Queueing Latency vs. Queuing Latency ...
37
votes
8answers
9k views

Is it “alright” or “allright”?

In practice I find both spellings being used. From a logical point of view, "allright" (as in: "all's right — everything is fine") seems correct. However, I recall hearing that "alright" is the ...
7
votes
3answers
15k views

Timepoint vs. time point

When speaking of a point in time, what would be the proper usage: "Timepoint" vs. "Time point"? This funny confusion comes from my life as a programmer: While one of our style checkers enforces ...
0
votes
1answer
52 views

Should it be railway workers salary? [closed]

Should it be railway workers salary railway worker salary railway-worker salary railway-workers salary ?
22
votes
2answers
4k views

When do you use “learnt” and when “learned”?

Is learnt UK English and learned US? Is it that simple? I’m used to using learnt, but my US spellchecker says it is wrong.
2
votes
4answers
692 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?
10
votes
3answers
17k views

How do you spell wifi / Wi-Fi / WiFi? [closed]

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 ...
6
votes
3answers
906 views

'Postpone' or 'postphone'?

I was taught that the word postpone was spelled as I just spelled it, but recently I have seen a rise in the spelling postphone (or post phone). At first, I thought it was just a spelling error, but I ...
0
votes
1answer
328 views

What happens when baker's, butcher's, etc. are in the plural?

If the singular it is: The baker's and the butcher's are closed on Sundays. Which one is the plural? Bakers and butchers are closed on Sundays. Bakers' and butchers' are closed on ...
7
votes
3answers
12k views

“Checking” vs. “chequing” vs. “chequeing” with regards to types of bank accounts

I came across this little dilemma when looking up the incorrectly spelled word "chequing" in my web browser's dictionary (Opera). According to the different dictionaries you can select in Opera: EN ...
1
vote
1answer
256 views

Capitalization and hyphenation for prefixed adjectives derived from proper names in mathematics

In mathematics, it often occurs that the last names of famous mathematicians are used as adjectives with mathematical meaning. Most of these adjectives are written with a capital letter. Then, ...
10
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
1k views

Possessive and plural suffixes for proper nouns ending in -s [closed]

With a name that ends in -s, such as Travis or Lewis, where and when should you use -es, -'s, -s or just leave it alone to both pluralise, and to infer belonging to? E.g., if the ball belongs to ...
0
votes
3answers
2k views

When the plural ends in “-ies”, how do I know whether the singular ends in “-y” or “-ie”? [closed]

my question is how am I supposed to recognize a singular form of a noun which plural form ends with "ies"? As you can see "cookies" are a "cookie" when singular, but at the same time "flies" stand for ...
10
votes
1answer
4k views

When should a singular word ending in “y” end in “ies” plurally?

Words like "sky" and "money" have "ies" as a plural suffix (i.e. "skies" and "monies") but other words like "monkey" and "Emmy" do not ("monkeys" and "Emmys"). Is there a rule dictating the use of ...
22
votes
4answers
1k views

Words with a leading silent w

My eldest is a beginning reader. Yesterday we read one of my favorite books, The Wreck of the Zephyr. He pointed at wreck and asked me why that one looked like it said "wuh-reck." I explained that ...
1
vote
1answer
471 views

An e in “absured”?

A few paragraphs in to Chapter 3 of "How to win friends and influence people"—a book that I'm embarrassed to admit I've undertaken—I found what just appears to be an odd spelling for "absurd." ...