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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1answer
556 views

/u/ and /uː/ in pronunciation

What is the regularity of appearance of /uː/ and /u/ (or /ʊ/ in RP)? How can I be most sure deducing from spelling alone, that, say, "ooze" is pronounced /uːz/ and "wool" as /wul/? I know that English ...
5
votes
1answer
732 views

What do the letters ï and ô mean? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the distinction between “role” and “rôle” [with a circumflex]? What is the significance of the “ô” character in “rôle” in this work? What is the standard rule ...
8
votes
4answers
12k views

Syllable division of VCV pattern in words such as “salad” and “lemon”

In words such as salad /sæləd/, you have a VCV pattern (vowel-consonant-vowel), in which the first vowel is short. The syllable division of such words is generally done after the consonant, i.e, as ...
0
votes
1answer
286 views

Why is “delight” spelt and pronounced the way it is?

This as everything probably has something to do with the GVS, but how?
2
votes
4answers
9k 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 ...
14
votes
3answers
25k views

“Thru” vs. “through”

Could anyone explain the differences between "thru" and "through"? Is the difference only in spelling? Is "thru" some sort of slang?
8
votes
2answers
523 views

Pedlar vs. peddler

The etymonline entry for peddler reads: late 14c. (c.1300 as a surname, Will. Le Pedelare), from peoddere, peddere (c.1200, mid-12c. as a surname), of unknown origin. It has the appearance of an ...
4
votes
2answers
683 views

Is “sound approach” an accepted phrase?

English is not my first language, and in my language (Bosnian) we write just as we speak ; so from time to time, I encounter phrases which I know I have heard before, but am not sure if I am writing ...
2
votes
3answers
272 views

Is it “thousands of postmen and women” or “thousands of postmen and -women”?

Is it "thousands of postmen and women" or "thousands of postmen and -women"? Is the use of a hyphen correct in the latter case?
3
votes
2answers
356 views

What is the origin of the different pronunciations of C and G before different vowels?

In English the letters C and G usually have different pronunciation before a/o/u and before e/i. The same is true for Romance languages - French, Spanish, Catalan, Italian etc. What is the origin of ...
7
votes
2answers
201 views

Term for written paralanguage?

Is there a term for words filling in for body language (*sigh*) and/or for typography being used to express tone or intonation (THIS IS SHOUTING)?
2
votes
1answer
995 views

When adding prefixes to noun phrases, should you hyphenate? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When is it necessary to use a hyphen in writing a compound word? Using “non-” to prefix a two-word phrase When adding a prefix to a noun, I've been taught to usually ...
1
vote
1answer
2k views

Sidenote, side-note, Side Note or Side note [closed]

So I've thought of a name for something, but cannot decide on how I should write it. In School, I vaguely remember someone saying "when you want to say something as one word, when it's really two ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

What is the correct spelling and definition of a word (sp.) “enditement” [closed]

Whilst watching The Big Bang Theory (S04E11, ~06:45 in, where Howard and Stuart are talking in the Comic Book Store about Zack), I heard the following exchange: — Is that sarcasm? — No, it's an ...
2
votes
1answer
401 views

Why does the letter “a” correspond to /ɪ/ in words like “image”, “private” and “surface” (American English)?

In American English, in words ending with -age, -ate and -ace, the ‹a› correspond to /ɪ/ (short i). Examples: image, village, damageprivate, senate, separatesurface, preface, palace (It should be ...
0
votes
1answer
389 views

Difference between “fallback” and “fall back”? [closed]

I am struggling to understand when to use fallback and when fall back (with a space). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallback http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fall_back_and_forward Basically I have to ...
2
votes
2answers
538 views

Why there is an “h” in proper names like Afghanistan, Baghdad and Lamborghini?

An "h" may be used to prevent the "g" from being soft, as in spaghetti, but there is no need for an "h" in the mentioned proper names.
1
vote
2answers
244 views

In British English, do you favorite or favourite a post? [closed]

When using "favorite" in a computer technology sense (for example, bookmarking a question on Stack Overflow), do British English speakers still use "favourite" (the traditional spelling in British ...
12
votes
4answers
438 views

When quoting speakers of another English dialect than your own, should you spell things their way?

I realize (or realise?) I may be splitting hairs here, but I find this question interesting, and I’ve never heard or seen it discussed before. I was about to post a quote from Rich Hickey outside my ...
2
votes
1answer
506 views

Did English use to have capitalization rules similar to German's current rules? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Capitalisation of nouns in English in the 17th and 18th centuries I was looking up an article of the constitution of the United States of America, and I noticed in the ...
1
vote
3answers
226 views

1D vs. one-dimensional vs. 1-dimensional?

In much of the scientific literature, the words 1D, one-dimensional, 1-dimensional, and 1-D occur frequently. Which of these is the best practice? Are there general principles for deciding which is ...
2
votes
2answers
529 views

Hyphens after the prefixes “non-” and “anti-” in mathematics

Is there a convention when to attach the prefixes non- and anti- to mathematical terms using a hyphen and when without? One uses non-zero but also noncommutative. Likewise for anti-. I no longer ...
18
votes
3answers
2k views

How and when did American spelling supersede British spelling in the US?

Considering that Webster published his first dictionary in 1806, is there a recognised tipping point (year, decade, etc.) that marked the move from traditional British spelling to Webster's American? ...
13
votes
4answers
912 views

Why is “wavelength” one word when “wave height” isn't?

Why is “wavelength” one word when “wave height” isn't? As another example, wave speed is two words. But wavelength is only one word. What is the reason for this? In Swedish and other contructs, ...
1
vote
0answers
37 views

Why is “proceed” spelt “-ceed” and not “-cede” like “precede”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Origins of the “‑cede/‑seed/‑ceed” suffix The pronunciation of proceed is exactly like that of precede with the only difference being the o instead of the e. What rules ...
0
votes
2answers
2k views

The right usage of “basically” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “have basically been doing something” or “have been basically doing something” I'm searching basically for conversation classes" or I'm basically searching ...
0
votes
2answers
384 views

“Boys bicycle” vs. “boy's bicycle” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: User’s Guide vs Users’ Guide When describing, for example, a bicycle for boys as "a boys bicycle", should it be "boy's" or "boys"? The phrase is not implying ownership ...
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', ...
13
votes
4answers
656 views

Has elision revised the standard spelling of any words in the past century?

Elision ("the omission of one or more sounds in a word or phrase") produces the following: going → goin(') going to → gonna Worcester → Wuster (ˈwʊstər) However, this hasn't affected the ...
-2
votes
1answer
2k views

What is the origin of the “should of” instead of “should have” mistake? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How did the use of “could of” and “should of” originate, and is it considered correct? Recently, I tend to stumble a lot over the mistake that people write should of ...
-1
votes
1answer
287 views

What is the / is there any meaningful difference between the two spellings 'naive' and 'naïve'? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Should you always use the accent in foreign words like “résumé”? “Whereäs” as an alternative spelling of “whereas” Is it spelt “naïve” or “naive”? ...
1
vote
2answers
9k views

“Dilemma” vs. “dilemna” [closed]

I understand the correct spelling is 'dilemma' but many people I've spoken with, including myself, were convinced the spelling was 'dilemna'. A quick search on google shows this is not isolated to ...
2
votes
1answer
3k 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.
1
vote
3answers
174 views

Word suggests “advice” in place of “advise” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “Advise” vs “advice” What is wrong with the statement "Please advise on this..."? Word suggests to change it to "Please advice on this...".
4
votes
1answer
324 views

Breaking last word in the lines [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What are the rules for splitting words at the end of a line? In printed texts, especially those with narrow columns, it's necessary from time to time to divide the last ...
-1
votes
0answers
18 views

Difference in usage of “advise” and “advice” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “Advise” vs “advice” What is the correct usage of the words advise and advice?
3
votes
3answers
175 views

How should I write “Why questions”?

I would like to know how to properly write, somewhere in a paragraph, the phrase "Why questions". By which I mean questions of the form "Why... ?". The sentence I would like to write is "How to ...
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?
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.
0
votes
2answers
271 views

What is more widely used in UK English: -ise or -ize? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “s” vs. “z” in BE vs. AE Are the endings “-zation” and “-sation” interchangeable? I was asked on a translation assignment to use UK English but ...
3
votes
0answers
216 views

The use of -ize and -ise in the UK? [closed]

I got a translation assignment where I am to use UK English but with -ize spelling. The European Union switched from -ize to -ise some years ago in its English language publications, meaning that ...
4
votes
2answers
717 views

Terminology for pairs of words with the same meaning, similar or same pronunciation but different spelling

Is there a term describe word pairs like colour/color that have the same meaning, similar or same pronunciation but a different spelling? The most common examples I can think of are English/American ...
11
votes
4answers
769 views

What does “randomically” mean?

I've just read an O’Reilly book and encoutered the word randomically. I highly suspect this is a made up word, but a quick google found it in use here, here, and here. Is this some obscure technical ...
0
votes
0answers
36 views

What is the proper way to spell résumé? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Should you always use the accent in foreign words like “résumé”? Diacriticals and non-English letters in anglicized loan words: keep 'em, dump 'em, ...
3
votes
5answers
39k views

How do we differentiate long vowels from short vowels in English

I was finding a school for my toddler. I saw this new theory called long vowels and short vowels The teacher talk about apple, which she read something like "eiple" and the hat, which she claims use ...
2
votes
1answer
555 views

How do you spell time specifications given in (military) “Zulu time”?

For an example, let's consider the time specification "1539Z". How do the people in the military spell that? "Fifteen thirty-nine Zulu"? "Fifteen thirty-nine zee"? "One fife tree niner zulu"? Are ...
0
votes
0answers
35 views

Foreign names: Transcription or literal spelling? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How should foreign words (with foreign characters) be written in English text? Sometimes, you want to use the names of foreign people in English texts. This presents no ...
13
votes
2answers
865 views

Canadian spelling: why?

As a Canadian, I feel that our spelling tendencies—sometimes British, sometimes American—fit quite well with our geographic, historic and cultural placement between these two bigger countries. I have ...
5
votes
3answers
351 views

Is an ellipsis a distinct punctuation mark?

The ellipsis looks like three consecutive periods, but many type faces have a distinct glyph for an ellipsis. Is this an aesthetic distinction, or is the ellipsis actually a different punctuation ...
1
vote
3answers
12k views

Are “eery” and “eerie” equally acceptable spellings?

I used "eery" yesterday in a text and was corrected jokingly by my correspondent to "eerie." Looking at it after the fact, neither 'looks' right to me and both get through auto-correct with no red ...