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
134 views

What does “sayd” (etc.) mean in old book clipping? [closed]

Quotation from A history of the cries of London ancient (p24, 25). Noisy parties of wits and Paul's men crossed to Bankside to see Romeo and Juliet, or Hamlet the Dane, or else 'The most excellent ...
0
votes
1answer
96 views

What is the proper way to spell “inspiraysh”?

I've noticed a trend among "younger people" to shorten words by simply cutting the ending off. For example, instead of inspiration they might say something like inspiraysh. What is the proper way ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Why is “k” added to “panic” when suffixes added (as in “panicky”)?

When adding any suffix to the word "panic," a "k" is added after the "c". Examples: panicked, panicking, panicky. Why is this the case? Are there any other English words that do the same? I'm also ...
1
vote
1answer
353 views

What do “truxtop” and “thumb tax” mean? [closed]

What do truxtop and thumb tax mean? I found them mentioned in this quotation from English Words History and Structure, 2nd edition (p. 113): The replacement of the sequence [ks] by x is a ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

Why is it “loggable” rather than “logable”?

I am using 'loggable' in the name of an interface written in a .NET programming language. It is among the many words that make sense in a programming context but aren't (yet) listed in English ...
1
vote
1answer
108 views

Is “facetious” unique? [duplicate]

Is "facetious" unique, as the only English word with all vowels appearing once, and in alphabetical order? Or, if you count Y as a vowel (as some do) does the same apply to "facetiously"?
13
votes
2answers
297 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. ...
0
votes
3answers
473 views

When we will use soft and hard sound in 'c'? [closed]

Sometimes we use the soft sound, and sometimes the hard – but why? Is there any rule?
-1
votes
2answers
121 views

Where do I have to put my commas?

Are the commas in the right places in the following sentence? I want to combine my experiences in software development and network administration with the skills I acquired at university in one ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

“dispatch” v “despatch” [closed]

Using it in the example of: Can you log despatch and delivery of documents? Three questions: Is despatch a misspelling of dispatch that made its way into the dictionary? Could I use dispatch ...
1
vote
1answer
569 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
0answers
35 views

Abstain, Maintain : Abstinence, Maintenance spelling difference between verb and noun [duplicate]

Regarding the verbs Abstain and Maintain, why are they spelt differently as nouns Abstinence, Maintenance even though they seem like they would have similar spelling.
1
vote
1answer
150 views

How many hyphens are appropriate in “Vietnam war veteran turned performing artist Joe Smith”? [duplicate]

How many hyphens should there be in this phrase? Vietnam war veteran turned performing artist Joe Smith
1
vote
1answer
302 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, ...
3
votes
3answers
1k 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
3answers
329 views

Coining new words from existing ones: Duplicate last letter?

I am trying to invent a word by taking an existing word and turning it into a noun a person can be called who is interacting with an object. The trouble I ran into was the initial word's ending. ...
1
vote
1answer
715 views

Pedagogue vs. pedagogy vs. pedagogical

How do people choose to pronounce the -agogue suffix in these three words? pedagogue pedagogy pedagogical The first is a reasonably common word and its suffix is surely consistently ...
-1
votes
4answers
3k views

Is it acceptable to use “womyn” or “womin” instead of “women”?

I have often seen/heard these two terms in many articles and speeches about Feminism or women's rights issues. I couldn't find them in any online dictionary except for the Oxford Dictionary which ...
8
votes
1answer
168 views

Why is there an “h” in “pulchritude”?

I'd assumed that pulchritude was derived from Greek, because of the "ch" but it turns out to be from Latin pulcher. I've been taught that "c" always has a hard pronunciation in Latin, so why would ...
2
votes
5answers
386 views

Is there a name for spelling differences in words like _grey/gray_, _color/colour_, etc.?

Is there a categorical name for differences in the spelling of a word when the word keeps the same meaning and the same sound?
1
vote
2answers
4k views

Does the word “Vaccum” exist?

If yes, does it have the same meaning of vacuum? Ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vacuum http://www.vaccum.org/ Both the sites define the same meaning, but the spelling differs. Some ...
6
votes
1answer
33k views

Difference between “zeros” and “zeroes” [duplicate]

Are there any differences between “zeros” and “zeroes”? Is any of them more correct, more often used, more modern? Are there differences e.g. between British English and American English in the usage ...
9
votes
5answers
18k views

“Smooths” versus “Smoothes”

I am interested in the rapid rise (since about 1993) in frequency of the spelling smoothes as against smooths. An Ngram Viewer graph tracking the frequency of usage of the two words from 1800 to ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Alphabetizing List of Mixed Words and Acronyms

I am creating a glossary that includes both acronyms and multi-word definitions, and I'm wondering if there is a standard/most-appropriate way to sort them. I have tried to search for ...
0
votes
2answers
258 views

Has the contraction “you’re” finally been replaced by “your”?

Your is almost universally used these days for you’re (“you are”). Is the misuse of your a result of ignorance, or is the contraction now formally dead?
0
votes
2answers
82 views

“Multi-column” or “multicolumn”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: To hyphenate or not? Which is the proper one? I mainly use this term in computer terminology, like "grid multicolumn sorting".
0
votes
1answer
209 views

Alternate spellings and modern usage

There are accepted alternate spellings for English words and phrases, example: pajamas -> pyjamas. This is an assumption, so please correct me if I'm wrong: The editors of the OED and other ...
47
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 ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

Should the abbreviation for “identifier” be capitalized?

I'm a programmer and I often see the abbreviation ID (capitalized) in technical documents and code. Is this correct, or should it be id?
3
votes
5answers
817 views

“Hostname” or “host name”?

When we are talking about computers, I see both hostname and host name being used. Which is more proper? Should I put the space in there?
2
votes
5answers
807 views

Can we call something a “word” if it doesn't have a vowel? [closed]

It seems self-evident to me, but in the heat of a Scrabble game (no surprise), my opponent claimed that "sh" was a word. I think it's a diphthong, but the printed dictionary definition of "word" ...
0
votes
2answers
468 views

Why is “writing” spelled with only one T? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is there any rhyme or reason to when one should double the last consonant when adding -ed or -ing? It has always been a word that intuitively I wish to spell with two ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

From French “manœuvre” to English “manoeuvre”, does “œ” exist in English?

Sadly, I don’t have much to add from the title to this question: does œ exist in English, such as in the word manœuvre? The same question may also apply to what the French call the “e dans l’a” (e in ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

“Leader board” vs. “leaderboard”

Is there a preferred spelling for the word "leaderboard"? Should it be one word or two? It would seem that both are correct, but is either preferred?
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Why do American and British English use different quotation marks?

American English uses double-quotes, while British English uses single-quotes: "This is a quote." 'This is a quote.' Why do we use different quotation marks? When did this difference ...
4
votes
2answers
132 views

What did James V mean by “afferandly”?

In this letter from 1536, King James V of Scotland wrote in 1536: Veilbelouit frend, we grete yow. Forsamekill as we ar of pourpas to pas to Kelso, and to vesy owr Bordouris for ordoneng of ...
1
vote
3answers
268 views

How should I refer to a “screen comp”?

I always get a word spelling error when I type my emails regarding screen comps. Screen comps, if you don't know, are a visual representation of a web design or the like. Does anybody know how to ...
4
votes
3answers
491 views

What do you call words that are typed the same way on a phone keypad?

Words that are pronounced the same are homophones. Words that are spelled the same are homonyms. What do you call words that are typed the same way on a telephone keypad? (you have to watch out for ...
-1
votes
1answer
115 views

Does 'agemates' have a space or not? [closed]

How is it correctly spelled? agemates or age mates
3
votes
2answers
285 views

Why are I and O always capitalized, but a is not?

There are three single-letter words. They are the article a, the pronoun I, and the interjection O. The pronoun I and the interjection O are always capitalized, but the article a follows normal ...
2
votes
1answer
263 views

For the verb 'focus' why is the gerund form 'focusing' with a single S, instead of 'focussing' with a double S? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “Focussed” or “focused”? The double consonant The rule that I learned was that when you have a short vowel in the last syllable, you double the last consonant before ...
11
votes
3answers
642 views

Where did the practice of using apostrophes for possessive nouns but not pronouns originate?

Where did the practice of using apostrophes for possessive nouns but not pronouns originate? For example, possessive nouns (both proper and common) are written with a apostrophe before the final s: ...
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 ...
2
votes
2answers
551 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?
4
votes
0answers
66 views

Why do you write “receive” with “ei” but “retrieve” with “ie”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why is it true that “I before E, except after C”? Both words are similar in pronunciation but different in spelling. Why is it that receive is written with ei but ...
2
votes
1answer
4k views

Spelling or grammar error? [closed]

If a person uses the wrong form of your or you're, would that be considered a spelling or grammatical error? I can really see it swinging both ways... A sentence with the incorrect use of the word is ...
0
votes
1answer
641 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
1k 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
13k 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
330 views

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

This as everything probably has something to do with the GVS, but how?