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

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89
votes
3answers
8k views

How did 7 come to be an abbreviation for 'and' in Old English?

According to A History of the English Language: Revised Edition by Elly van Gelderen, p.53, in Old English the numeral 7 was used as an abbreviation for the word and: Abbreviations are frequently ...
0
votes
1answer
149 views

Spelling Errors that Gained Legitimacy [closed]

I am trying to find examples of words that were classified as spelling errors when they first appeared, but over time gained legitimacy and are now accepted as valid words. Is there a name for this ...
0
votes
4answers
2k views

Recordkeeping, record keeping, or record-keeping

In the following sentence, a reviewer claimed that record keeping is a spelling error that should be corrected to recordkeeping. Service providers shall manage information using agreed upon ...
0
votes
1answer
74 views

What is the correct spelling for “These are known as the three “V’s”: veracity, voraciousness and vivacity.”

What is the correct spelling and grammar for the following sentence? These are known as the three "V's": veracity, voraciousness and vivacity. In particular, should the "V" be capitalized, ...
-1
votes
1answer
24k views

(UK-US English) If “mom = mother” then why “mum” isn't “muther”? [closed]

So, I've noticed something weird. People who speak US English say Mom. Mom represents the word "mother". People who speak UK English say Mum. Mum also represents the word "mother". Why isn't it ...
29
votes
4answers
6k views

Why is there an “a” in “beggar”? Why not an “e”?

Why does beggar end in -ar? Many identically sounding words just use -er, if not all. Examples: bumper pepper tagger chanter pegger They all use the -er version. Also, history shows that beggar ...
0
votes
1answer
158 views

practice vs practise sentence question [closed]

Do both these sentences work? (British form) she needs more English practice. she needs more English practise.
0
votes
0answers
10 views

Why are “strauss's” and “chris mccandless's” prevalent? [duplicate]

Why "Strauss's" and "McCandless's" are prevalent. Isn't their spelling wrong? The correct ones as my school teachers taught should be "Strauss'" and "McCandless'", or am I (taught) wrong?
0
votes
5answers
366 views

Why is it “wherever” instead of “whereever”?

The popular question words how, when, what, why, which and some more all have their accompanying word ending in -ever, like however and whatever. It seems to me that the word wherever is somewhat ...
0
votes
1answer
205 views

Contractions: Are “I would’ve” and “I’d have” both equally permissible?

Instead of “I would have done something”, are both of these versions ok? I would’ve done something. I’d have done something.
16
votes
2answers
1k views

“Quyer” When and why did the spelling change so drastically?

The snippet above is taken from The Gentleman's Magazine (London, England), Volume 53, dated, 1783. It's only when you say Quyer out loud, do you realize what the word is. It is one of the ...
8
votes
2answers
9k 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 ...
2
votes
6answers
1k 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 ...
0
votes
3answers
224 views

Why “producing”, not “produccing”? [closed]

Same with "bleeding" and "bleedding". We say "swimming", so why not "bleedding"?
16
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the origin of “in a jiffy”?

What is the origin of "in a jiffy"? Etymology online Dictionary says origin unknown but speculates that it was slang (cant) for lightning and dates it as 1785. Wikipedia agrees but adds that the ...
1
vote
3answers
1k views

Is it “re-offend” or “reoffend”? [closed]

I want to know whether there is a hyphen in the word re-offend, or if it is spelt reoffend. I looked in Oxford English dictionary and the word "reoffend" appears, but then I checked Merriam-Webster ...
1
vote
1answer
78 views

Nonstandard spellings for dialects

Are there standard ways of indicating dialect, as "I 'aven't," I asked 'is name," and especially "It couldn't 'a' 'appened." Can "have" be indicated with just "a"?
10
votes
3answers
1k views

Does anyone write “noöne” with a diaeresis?

Related: "Whereäs" as an alternative spelling of "whereas" Does anyone write "no-one" as "noöne", with the diaeresis (double-dot) serving to separate the syllables?
0
votes
2answers
2k views

How would you abbreviate Amount per Hour?

If I need the abbreviation of "Amount per Hour" to be used as a label/title, should it be: "Amt/Hr" or "Amt/hr" or something else?
1
vote
1answer
55 views

Should the names of different sorting algorithms be “<qualifier> sort” or “<qualifier>sort”?

Should the names of different sorting algorithms be <qualifier> sort or <qualifier>sort? The titles of Wikipedia articles of these sorting algorithms are not consistent with respect to ...
15
votes
2answers
921 views

The U in “Glamour”

Why, in US English, does the word glamour retain its u while humour, neighbour, and others have shed it?
-4
votes
1answer
291 views

Why don't we use an apostrophe to denote ownership on 'it'? [duplicate]

We use apostrophes to denote ownership: I wrapped the cat's claws so he wouldn't scratch me while I handled him. However, we don't use an apostrophe when 'it' is the owner. The cat licked ...
1
vote
1answer
483 views

Can all verbs ending in “-ise” be written with the suffix “ize”? [closed]

Are there any "-ise" (or "-yse") words which cannot be (or are never) written using "-ize"? I searched for prior questions, and came across: Correct use of "ise" vs "ize" at the ...
0
votes
1answer
97 views

Plural of “is” — “ises” or “isses”?

If I had many is words, how would I refer to them in the form of a plural? Could I use ises or isses? Example: You use entirely too many isses in your sentences.
0
votes
1answer
368 views

“Unionized” vs. ”Un-ionized” [duplicate]

I know there exists a term for the to–too–two situation where the words are pronounced the same but spelled differently. Is there a term for the situation of unionized /ˈjuːnɪənɑɪzd/ and un-ionized ...
1
vote
2answers
148 views

Why do 'organization' and 'organisation' both seem to be commonly accepted spellings, and when is one used over the other?

Looking at several online dictionary resources, it seems that the accepted spelling of "organization" is with a 'z', however, even on this site, "organisation" is frequently used as the spelling. Why ...
0
votes
1answer
97 views

“Respect, where has it gone?” vs “Respect. Where has it gone?”

We are using the following topic for a speech contest and there is a question as to punctuation Respect, where has it gone? or Respect. Where has it gone?
-1
votes
1answer
56 views

why is it “one European institution”, but “European Institutions” (with capital i) if talking about several authorities?

I found this spelling differentiation on the website of the EU commission and you can see it on wikipedia, too: "There are a range of European Institutions in Strasbourg (France), the oldest of which ...
-4
votes
2answers
356 views

Spelling History: Dying vs Diing [closed]

As I recall, when I was in Grade School (40 years ago), the spelling of the word dying was taught as diing. Am I losing my mind or was that possible?
2
votes
4answers
309 views

Noun to describe a “typo-filled” letter

I am changing my e-mail signature on my phone to read: Sent from my Samsung Galaxy S4. Please do not mistake my brevity and/or misspellings for apathy and/or ignorance. I am looking for a ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

Is “thank's” an alternative correct spelling?

My colleague who is American spells "thank's" (with an apostrophe) and when I ask him why he said because it's "more formal" and "he uses American English". Is this true? Can you really spell ...
1
vote
1answer
532 views

Complacency vs complacence, stagnancy vs stagnance, etc

I could only find this blog that suggests that complacence is "is a calm satisfaction with oneself" whereas "complacency means a self-satisfaction but coupled with a lack of awareness of what is ...
2
votes
1answer
3k views

Shalln't vs. Shan't in British English

I am a British English speaker and often use "shall" and "shall not". When I contract "shall not", I pronounce it [ʃɑlnt] -- that is, the "l" sound remains. My question, therefore, is how do I spell ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

Why is 'spatial' written with a t instead of a c?

The word 'spatial' is obviously derived from the word 'space'. So why is it usually written with a 't' instead of a 'c'? Is there a historical reason or is it because of some grammar rule I do not ...
1
vote
1answer
80 views

What does this person say in this video?

I don't know if this is allowed but I want to know what this Gwyneth Paltrow say in this video at 0:51 to be exact. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZORey6EHF3g or ...
0
votes
1answer
312 views

When using symbols instead of words in writing, do I use “an” or “a” before the symbol? [duplicate]

The sentence in question: Every list item that is marked with an * is optional. The word "asterisks" isn't spelled out, so I'm not sure if "an" or "a" is the correct word to put before it.
0
votes
2answers
355 views

Adding “-ing” to a verb ending with a pronounced “e”

When a verb ends with a "e" that is pronounced, do you get rid of the "e" when you add "-ing"? For example, would you say "His karaoking last night was really unique", or "His karaokeing last night ...
0
votes
2answers
430 views

Confusion over the general rules governing the use of the hyphen in English [duplicate]

I often get confused by the rules for using hyphens. According to this entry from the Oxford Dictionaries web site, I must always use a hyphen in these cases: Hyphens are used in many compound ...
7
votes
1answer
618 views

Is there any rule for pronouncing words beginning with “re-”?

It’s hard for me to guess how to pronounce words beginning with re- correctly. Sometimes it is /rɛ/ as in reference, but sometimes it is /ri/ as in report. Is there any rule about this?
23
votes
5answers
24k 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
1answer
99 views

What is the right way to spell the title “Diana and Tom's Grill” or “Diana's and Tom's Grill”? [duplicate]

I am looking for the most common way how people in US/Canada spell something like this, preferably in accordance with Chicago Manual of Style. What is the right way to spell the title "Diana and Tom's ...
-3
votes
3answers
2k views

Are the commas right? [duplicate]

The man, who is standing there, is her ex-husband. Are these commas needed? Or is it: The man who is standing there is her ex-husband.
8
votes
3answers
568 views

Do any words have three or more correct spellings? [closed]

I can call to mind several words with another correct spelling (colour, analogue, disc, barbeque) but I can't think of any with multiple correct spellings, i.e. three or more equally acceptable, ...
2
votes
2answers
150 views

Is there any reason so many people abbreviate “etcetera” as “ect.”? [closed]

People do many strange things, such as spell "loose" (the opposite of tight) as "lose" (the opposite of win) - and even vice versa sometimes. Another oddity is when they say "literally" when that is ...
-1
votes
1answer
87 views

How to correctly write: “In Spite” [closed]

What is the correct way to write: "in spite" ? Some references are now saying "in-spite" is permissible? We do not trust that!
3
votes
4answers
1k views

Elven or Elfin? [duplicate]

I am writing a fantasy book and am having trouble with when and how to use words such as "Elfin", "Elven", "Elfish", and "Elvish". I don't understand the difference between using a V or an F. Help?
0
votes
4answers
279 views

Topup vs top-up

Which noun is correct? a topup a top-up Which verb is correct? to topup to top-up
3
votes
1answer
219 views

Why do many names use “y” in place of expected “i”?

I would expect names like Taylor, Poynting have "i" in place of actual "y", because they sound very similar to words "tailor" and "pointing". There's also Feynman, which some (not really credible ...
3
votes
1answer
177 views

Non-preemptive? Non-pre-emptive? Emptive?

We can describe something as pre-emptive, no issue there. If something isn't such, how can we write that? Word gives me red squiggles on 'Non-preemptive', but this looks silly with a double ...
5
votes
2answers
4k views

“Cancellation”, “Canceled”, “Canceling” — US usage

I'm trying to figure out if there is a specific rule behind the word "cancel" that would cause "cancellation" to have two L's, but "canceled" and "canceling" to have only one (in the US). I ...