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
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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
90 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
916 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
86 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
43k 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
61 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
146 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
17k 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
106 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
0
votes
1answer
55 views

The term for misspellings that change the meaning of a sentence? [duplicate]

I am looking for the term that describes the use of a certain word in a sentence in place of the correct one; a word that happens to look very similar to the one actually needed, but has a different ...
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
213k views
3
votes
2answers
148 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
80 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
84 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
284 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
103 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
7k 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
178 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
100 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
856 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
148 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
149 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 ...
86
votes
9answers
34k 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
37k 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
163 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 ...
2
votes
6answers
6k 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
3k views
1
vote
3answers
878 views

How did “to lie” (i.e lie about something) and “to lie” (i.e. lie down) end up being spelled the same way?

I'm hoping to find out the history of how "to lie" as in say something dishonest and "to lie" as in rest horizontally end up being spelled the same way. To lie (lie, lied, lied): a false statement ...
1
vote
2answers
92 views

How do you spell explicitly my last name (Musiał)? [closed]

I need to know how I can spell my Polish last name, Musiał, for my future interviews. (soon :>) M as Margarita U as ..? S as I as A as Ł as - what about that character? Should i replace it by L, ...
2
votes
1answer
119 views

Is there an equivalent of diaeresis, but for consonants?

I know that diaeresis is used to show that two adjacent vowels are not a diphthong but should be pronounced separately, as in naïve or Zoë. Is there an equivalent mark or format in current ...
1
vote
0answers
36 views

Why are figures 1-9 written as numbers, but after 9 written in alphabet form? [duplicate]

I have tried to research this .. could anyone answer why figures 1-9 are written as digits/numbers and then from 9 onwards they are typed in alphabetical form?
6
votes
2answers
353 views

British English spelling: “gripped” or “gript”?

Hello what is the correct British English spelling of the word 'gripped' or 'gript'? According to Dictionary.com: gript verb 1. a past participle and simple past tense of grip. verb ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

Is “civillians” correct?

Wikipedia has a lot of occurrences for the word "civillians", such as: At least 35 civillians were killed at the incident I began fixing them to "civilians", but then had a question. Is ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views
4
votes
1answer
97 views

Why don't ligatures have names?

It is common to see ligatures such as Æ or Œ in reference to classical works such as Œdipus or Æsop but these do not seem to have names. Strangely enough in the Old English alphabet there were similar ...
2
votes
2answers
10k views

Should I say “3 half days” or “3 half-days” or “3 half-day”?

Should I say "3 half days" or "3 half-days" or "3 half-day"? I mean I want to refer to, for example, the a.m. of Monday, the p.m. of Wednesday, and the a.m. of Friday, together.
5
votes
2answers
282 views

A single vs a double consonant issue.

According to The Grammarist: till, until and 'til: Till, as a variant of until, is a preposition meaning up to the time of. Till—not ‘til, an unnecessary abbreviation—has been in the language ...
0
votes
3answers
79 views

Plural of “Mechanism of Action”

I'm trying to determine the plural form of the scientific term "Mechanism of Action". I'm pretty sure the answer is, "Mechanisms of Action", but the term "Mechanisms of Actions" is disturbingly ...
-4
votes
1answer
113 views

Can a picture really tell a thousand words? [closed]

I found this on the internet and thought it was interesting: A thousand words Can you really write a thousand words about any picture?