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

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2
votes
1answer
352 views

Words at beginning of sentences with first letter displayed within brackets?

I've been reading The Deer Slayer, and I can't help but notice that some words at the beginning of sentences display their first letter within square brackets. Here are some examples: [W]hen five ...
1
vote
1answer
123 views

Pronunciation of “great” vs. “treat” [closed]

Why is great pronounced /greit/ while in other words the ea is pronounced differently? Take treat, for example: /tri:t/. Why are two words with the same number of vowels and consonants and the same ...
0
votes
1answer
98 views

Hyphen for re when doing again [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Hyphens in verb construction containing prefix such as “re” Adding a prefix "re" to a word, with or without a hyphen? I have a question about the use of the prefix 're', ...
0
votes
3answers
3k views

Which is correct, “summiting” or “summitting”?

This form of the word is not very common but does see some use as the present participle/gerund of "to summit" as in "Upon summit(t)ing the mountain we took photos but had to begin our descent ...
7
votes
1answer
24k views

What is the meaning of “atleast” and is it different from “at least”?

I don't think atleast is an actual word, but I've found many instances of its usage. A simple google search for atleast reveal 13,100,000 hits. What is the meaning of atleast and is it different ...
17
votes
2answers
2k views

Was the “Ye Olde Shoppe” ever used or is it just an ancient-looking construct of modern times?

Surely, if I were the owner of a shop selling archery goods and wanted to portray my shop as some kind of old-fashioned, high-quality traditional outlet, I might be tempted to call it “Ye Olde Archery ...
0
votes
3answers
191 views

“Cheeseslicer” or “cheese slicer”?

Can somebody confirm if the correct spelling is cheeseslicer or cheese slicer? I always thought in English words are not written together when combined, but some online dictionaries are contradictory ...
0
votes
3answers
5k views

Which is correct: “expose” or “exposé”?

What is the preferred way to write words such as exposé in English? My Firefox spellchecker even tells me that exposé is incorrect and suggests expose. If exposé is correct, then how does this sit ...
3
votes
3answers
120 views

Is it commonly accepted using the slash to mean “as well as”, rather than “or”?

I hope this is the end of blind US/UK support for a state with a shocking record of human rights. (BBC) As is well known, the most common use of the slash is to link words which are alternative, ...
1
vote
1answer
452 views

How to know when the z can't be used instead of s in an ending? [duplicate]

I'm familiar with -se -ses -sation etc endings being British and the American equivalent being with z rather than s. However, I stumbled on the word "improvisation", which apparently can't be spelled ...
1
vote
3answers
8k views

“ou” versus “o” in spelling words like “color”/“colour”

Often, I have to decide whichever is better in mail, forums, letters. For instance: colour vs color behaviour vs behavior humour vs humor rumour vs rumor honour vs honor armour vs armor The ...
10
votes
5answers
11k views

“Miniscule” vs. “minuscule”

Does the former have a typo or are they synonyms? Do they always have the same meaning? Please enlighten me as I am confused on this matter.
1
vote
1answer
411 views

hallo or hello: etymology dilemma

Does anybody know the etymology of the main greeting in English: hallo? Besides that I wish to know the difference between the terms hallo and hello. I have to know!
-2
votes
0answers
50 views

'whom' vs 'who' [duplicate]

How does one use 'whom' in a sentence? Is this sentence correct? Ex: I am delighted for all my cousins who have found happiness.
9
votes
5answers
39k views
3
votes
3answers
781 views

Should I use a hyphen in the term “in(-)situ visualization”?

The term in(-)situ visualization denotes a visualization or graphics that is depicted in place, for instance, a sparkline that is embedded into text. As the dictionaries tell, the adjective or adverb ...
3
votes
2answers
120 views

Hyphens when using “something + style” to describe something?

He lit the fire Cherokee style. or: He lit the fire Cherokee-style. I have seen both. Which is correct? And, if it's the second option, then what about "multiple words + style"? E.g.: ...
9
votes
1answer
414 views

When did it become incorrect to use apostrophes with possessive pronouns?

I'm reading Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility, and I notice that she invariably uses an apostrophe with possessive pronouns — in a way that would be considered incorrect now. For example: (Elinor is ...
19
votes
4answers
10k views

Why are there 3 different ways to pronounce “oo”?

My German colleagues were laughing at the way I pronounce google, and it led to a discussion. With words like google, yahoo, poodle and loose, the oo has a sound similar to the German ü sound. With ...
0
votes
1answer
353 views

Reform of English writing?

As is commonly known, English is quite notorious for having a writing system that is far removed from the actual way it is most commonly pronounced. I understand that there are important historical ...
0
votes
1answer
260 views

Can “Any Other Business” be generally perceived, and used as the legit business terms?

I was interested in the fact that the first letter of the each word of “Any Other Business” is shown in the upper case in the following sentence: “At the first meeting of the new bard, Townsend ...
4
votes
2answers
471 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
0answers
50 views

Origin and name for horizontal line hiding date or place name [duplicate]

Does anyone know a) the origins, or b) the name of the convention of replacing dates or place names in 18th / 19th century novels with a horizontal line? I'm not asking for the reasons authors did ...
4
votes
1answer
469 views

Capitalization in “the University has 1000s of students. ”

The University of London is huge. The University/university has 1000s of students. Is it correct to leave out the capital u in the second sentence?
9
votes
2answers
29k views

Why is “happyness” spelled with a Y in the movie title “The Pursuit of Happyness”? [closed]

I just noticed that the word in the movie title The Pursuit of Happyness is spelled with a y instead of an i. But my spell checker highlights "happyness" as a mistake. Why is it spelled differently ...
3
votes
2answers
158 views

How did the spelling “demesne” come about? [closed]

The word demesne seems to just be an alternative spelling of the rather more logically-spelt domain. I'm wondering how this strange spelling came about? Even taking into account its given etymology ...
1
vote
1answer
409 views

Sub-classification or subclassification? [closed]

We’re debating this at work. Merriam-Webster says it’s “subclassification”. Dictionary.Reference.com allows “sub-classification” and “subclassification” Is there a ‘more correct’ word to use? ...
-9
votes
3answers
814 views

Is “Honouree” correct in British English? [closed]

I seem to only find Honoree in the web, but Word spell corrector indicates me that I should write HonoUree. Which form is correct?
1
vote
1answer
10k views

“'n'” as an abbreviation for “and” as in “rock 'n' roll”

I wonder if there are other cases where and is abbreviated in writing as in rock 'n' roll.
6
votes
3answers
6k views

“Ph” for the /f/ sound; Is Old English responsible for this swap?

Is Old English responsible for creating the /f/ sound from ph, as in Philip, Pharoah, Physics, Sophia, etc? Many European countries keep the f for all of their /f/-sounding letters, as in Sofia and ...
-1
votes
2answers
303 views

Do I capitalize or write out 'first' if I write: “Her birthday was May First.”?

I'm writing a story in which a character's birthday (May 1st) is significant. A characters notes in conversation that, "Her birthday is May first." Should I write out 'first' or refer to it as '1st'? ...
1
vote
1answer
100 views

“Spoon feed” vs. “spoonfeed” [closed]

Is there a whitespace in spoonfeed? I have to choose between writing Spoon Feed Code and Spoonfeed Code.
3
votes
1answer
79 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
14k views

Free stuff - “swag” or “schwag”?

My company gives out free promotional items with the company name on it. Is this stuff called company swag or schwag? It seems that both come up as common usages—Google searching indicates that the ...
2
votes
3answers
4k views

Did I go to the “fair” or the “faire”?

Which one's correct? I've seen both claiming to be correct...
4
votes
3answers
4k views

“Duffel” or “duffle”

I'm seeing an either/or in most dictionaries I've checked with regard to duffel and duffle when used to refer to coats and bags. It seems to come from a Belgian town spelled Duffel. What's your take? ...
2
votes
4answers
3k views

Why are 'blueish' and 'bluish' both considered correct spellings?

My nine year old son fought hard on this and is taking a stand on spelling bluish as blueish. I'm certain his teacher will mark it as a spelling error in his writing... Several dictionaries have ...
4
votes
5answers
6k views

Is incorrect capitalization considered a spelling error?

Is incorrect capitalization, such as the lowercase "i" in can [this is not the sic you're after] i [this sic] have an if statement within a dialog box code? considered a spelling mistake, or ...
0
votes
0answers
18 views

Writing double voiced vowels [duplicate]

I have a pretty straight forwards question I think. Of the following three spellings, which one is generally accepted as correct (I've seen them all, well, something like it) reemerge re-emerge ...
0
votes
1answer
133 views

How do I express the plural of a letter in writing?

My last name has two occurrences of the letter "s" in it, so in speech I tell people all the time that it's spelled "with two esses". However I don't know how to express such a thing in writing. I can ...
5
votes
1answer
559 views

British spelling of programme and diagram

Does anyone know a reason why British English retains the -amme ending for programme but not for diagram? They both have French origins. Programme ... Spelling programme, established in Britain, ...
4
votes
1answer
275 views

What is the name for words which, when the order of letters is reversed, spell other words?

For example: Lamina / Animal Dog / God Ogre / Ergo Desserts / Stressed Tuba / Abut These are all anagrams, but they are a special type of anagram, where the order of letters is exactly reversed. ...
2
votes
1answer
4k views

University's vs Universities', correct spelling of the possessive [closed]

Something belongs to the University. Is it the Universities' logo or the University's logo? I somehow don't think University's exists.
5
votes
6answers
902 views

Words starting with a 'gw' sound

There seems to be only a few words starting with the 'gw' sound, though the only ones I can think of are proper nouns, for example, Gwyneth. Are there any non-name words starting with a 'gw'? Is there ...
2
votes
1answer
284 views

How to form a gerund from “practise”?

I (think) I know the difference between practise (verb) and practice (non-verb). However, I am not sure which form I should use in cases like the following ones: I love practising the guitar. ...
2
votes
0answers
38 views

What is the correct capitalization of code examples when beginning a sentence? [duplicate]

I am writing a technical book and a lot of it is structured as explanations of code examples. For instance: var links = data.map(function (d) { return {source: nick_id(d.from), ...
1
vote
1answer
255 views

Who decides the casing of newly coined words?

We are creating a product which is online hosted CMS solution (something like WordPress), and we want to call it Site Pack. However, there are places where we need to join these words together (like ...
0
votes
1answer
64 views

Usage and spelling of “wordlength” and “bitbreadth”

As far as I know, these are the meanings: wordlength — for instance, 4 bytes when the bitbreadth is 32 and 8 bytes when the bitbreadth is 64. bitbreadth — for example, 32 or 64 or 4 bits for a ...
25
votes
2answers
9k views

Use of “f ” instead of “s” in historic, printed English documents

I was at a museum in London yesterday, and one of the items on exhibit is a document from the eighteenth century. It uses the letter f a lot where s should be used—for example, in Majefty. Did the ...
45
votes
4answers
6k views

Why are there so few English words that begin with the letter X?

If one reads a lot of children's books, it is obvious that X is a real thorn in the side for those authors looking to have each letter of the alphabet represented in their books. Most of them either ...