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
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1answer
295 views

In a combination of two vowels (such as “ae”), what rule determines if the first (“a”) or second (“e”) is silent?

In a combination of two vowels (such as "ae"), what English rule determines if the first ("a") or second ("e") is silent? For example, in the word "praetor", the vowel "a" is silent but in the word ...
-1
votes
1answer
219 views

Is this a portmanteau, contraction, or perhaps both?

I have chosen to edit this post because it apparently has offended some of the more sensitive among us. While, personally, I feel this should prompt discourse rather than down votes, I do not wish to ...
3
votes
2answers
151 views

When, and why, did breaks become brakes?

Reading an account of the Round Oak Train Crash, I came across this passage:- A good deal of suspicion, to say the least of it, must fall upon the hind guard, Frederick Cook, as to the mode in ...
6
votes
1answer
4k views

Processor vs Processer

Is there any difference between "processor" and "processer"? Some spelling dictionaries only have the -or form, and some have both. Is it a US vs UK English thing? Or something else? More ...
1
vote
0answers
46 views

Should I preserve spelling when quoting American English in a British English text, or vice versa? [duplicate]

Suppose I am writing an (academic) text in British English, but have to quote a text from an author who writes in American English. Should I preserve the author's original spelling, or convert it to ...
0
votes
1answer
196 views

Best ways to write thoughts in narrative

I would normally put a thought in a narrative in quotation marks, but it becomes boring and stilted to continually write, thought Mary, or thought John. A thought normally would have a different ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

Why are there two different ways to spell “expediter”?

There seems to be two different ways to spell "expediter": expediter expeditor A quick Google search reveals a nearly equal split between the two spellings. Are the two spellings specific to a ...
0
votes
0answers
12 views

Is it possible to use a hyphen in a listing (in a sentence) for abbreviation, even if the compound word consists of two separate words [duplicate]

I'm currently asking myself if it is possible to use "-" for abbreviation in a listing in a sentence to emphasize the togetherness of the previous words and the word in the end, even if they are two ...
16
votes
2answers
1k views

What's the deal with “fiery”?

How did English end up with the adjective fiery (instead of *firy) from fire, but miry from mire and wiry from wire? Are there any other words where the noun is -ire and the adjective is -iery?
0
votes
0answers
36 views

“e” before “i” in the word “weird” [duplicate]

In elementary school, I was taught the rhyme: "i" before "e" except after "c", and in words like "neighbor" and "weigh" Obviously this means that "ei" is used in "deceive" (it comes after "c") ...
-1
votes
4answers
182 views

“Linder” or “linnder” for lunch/dinner

We have plans for a late lunch / early dinner planned for 4:00 pm in mid December. I would like to indicate that it's more than lunch and less than dinner. I have heard it called linder or ...
0
votes
3answers
793 views

Do you hand something over or off?

I am looking for the correct American English expression and spelling. My particular context is that I am responsible for something precious, which I give to somebody else, who is then responsible ...
-1
votes
1answer
202 views

Are sneer quotes the same exact thing as scare quotes? [closed]

Are sneer quotes the same exact thing as scare quotes? I believe they're synonymous but am unsure.
0
votes
1answer
73 views

Italics used for the plural treatment of words? [duplicate]

Do these look right to you? I'm pluralizing the following words. In doing so, I'm italicizing the word to be pluralized but not the 's': ands (instead of and's) wherefores (instead of wherefore's) ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

Is “vapourise” considered incorrect, even in British English?

According to Wiktionary, the British spelling of "vaporize" is vaporise, not vapourise as one might expect from the word vapour (and similarly, the Canadian spelling is still vaporize, not vapourize). ...
0
votes
1answer
64 views

“Next one” vs “next”

What is the difference between the "next one" and just "next"? Let's suppose we have a lot of people in a queue, and as one person comes, someone says "the next one is white, tall, has black eyes, is ...
0
votes
0answers
38 views

Why “qu” is pronounced “qw” (as in quit, question) [duplicate]

Or to put it the other way, why qu is not spelled qw, as qwit, qwestion, for quit, question.
1
vote
4answers
106 views

Terms for game mode depending on number of players

Suppose you have a game with following modes: a human player with no opponents a human player with a computer/AI opponent multiple human players The third mode is referred to as multiplayer. The ...
8
votes
5answers
36k views

Which is correct, “cill” or “sill”?

When I was an architectural technician, I used the spelling cill (e.g. window cill). I knew of one architect who used sill and stated that this was the older and more correct form. My Concise Oxford ...
3
votes
3answers
497 views

Is hierarchial a word?

I've found one reference that says hierarchial is an alternative form of hierarchical, but it's an unreferenced resource. Some wiseacre wrote a bug fix for my software saying hierarchical was the ...
0
votes
2answers
2k views

Correct way to spell “young'un”? [closed]

As slang, this phrase: Since I was a young'un... Is there an accepted way to abbreviate the last word there?
1
vote
1answer
222 views

Why did the past tense ending -t change to -ed?

My posts are often questions for further knowledge about reasons for language change. In this extract from 1750, there are three variations on the past tense form. Once again, I am grateful if anyone ...
-2
votes
1answer
211 views

Choose the proper variant to complete the sentence:

... misses the kisses, ... kisses the misses. A) An rejected lover, a accepted lover B) An accepted lover, a rejected lover C) A rejected lover, an accepted lover
1
vote
1answer
390 views

Why `night` with gh?

I am not native speaker. And me very interesting why night writting with gh? Thanks
1
vote
2answers
114 views

Commas with quotes [duplicate]

I read the following sentence1: He rallied the Senate with the plea, “It’s time to change the Senate before this institution becomes obsolete.” I’m wondering whether a comma should be placed ...
-1
votes
1answer
304 views

Why is “success” spelled with double -S?

What is the function of the double s at the end of the word, success?
3
votes
1answer
461 views

What's the most preferred spelling of auto fill, auto-fill, and autofill?

When you are trying to say that something is automatically filled in, you use the word autofill, or if you were using past tense, autofilled. I see 3 main ways that people use it: auto fill / ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

American English Pronunciation of “o” sound long or short?

I'm always confused about how to pronounce words with letter o in spelling. For example, in the word boss, I always pronounce the o as short o, when in fact it is long o. Collar is short, but I always ...
3
votes
3answers
3k views

Between '(s)he' & 'he/she' — which is recommended/ preferable?

When talking about or referring to someone who could either be a male or a female, I usually write it as (s)he but I have also seen usage like he/she, which also seems correct to me. I use (s)he ...
1
vote
3answers
204 views

Was “nowadays” ever spelled with hyphens?

etymonline doesn't note that nowadays ever had a spelling with hyphen but I found a few random sites claiming that it once was hyphenated. Was it ever spelled as "now-a-days"?
1
vote
1answer
110 views

Formatting and ellipses when quoting parts of a list

When quoting a list not in its entirety, but only the points 2–5 of 10, how do I set out the quote? Do I add "..." at the beginning and end of the quote as shown below? ... 2. At all ...
0
votes
1answer
113 views

Why is the beginning of a quote in old text sometimes denoted by a capital letter but no quotation marks?

In the following text of Pamela by Samuel Richardson, well is capitalised — possibly to denote speech, where inverted commas have been neglected. As GEdgar points out, this is not an isolated ...
4
votes
2answers
3k views

Why do we say and write “read” instead of “readed” for the past? [closed]

Why do we write read unchanged for present and past, while study changes; we have studied. The present form of read is read, pronounced as "reed". The past form of read is also read but it is ...
4
votes
4answers
1k views

What's with the apostrophe in the standard spelling of the idiom “how's about”?

A recent question on EL&U asks Is it correct to use "how's" as short for "how does"? I have a series of tangentially related questions about a fairly common (in American ...
0
votes
0answers
56 views

Its/It's for “It”, but not for other words? [duplicate]

Why is there a distinction between "it's" and "its"? You can write "The cat's walking." where "cat's" might ambiguously be either "cat is" or "cat (possessive)", and I don't think anyone considers ...
2
votes
2answers
452 views

Why does the pronunciation of “U” vary in English?

The letter U is pronounced differently in different words such as Umbrella and Utensils, as well as when it is Used inside of words such as stUdent and stUdy. Can I please have a grammatical ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

Capitalization of honorifics such as “your excellency”, “your majesty”, “your holiness”

When addressing an ambassador, is it I agree with your excellency. or should your, excellency, or both be capitalized? Likewise with "your majesty" and "your holiness".
0
votes
1answer
6k views

He had not understood vs He did not understand [closed]

I'm a native Portuguese speaker and some time ago I heard someone say that it is grammatically wrong, in despite of everyday speaking, to construct sentences like "He had not understood" or "She does ...
3
votes
3answers
549 views

Is “enroute” an acceptable variant of “en route”?

Is "enroute" (without the space) an acceptable variant of "en route"?
3
votes
0answers
69 views

Why is “birthday” one word as opposed to two? “Wedding day” or “graduation day” are two [duplicate]

A birthday is the day of your birth, much like graduation day and wedding day. Why is birthday one word?
-1
votes
2answers
233 views

Movement to reduce “ing” to “in” [closed]

let's face it. More and more people are not saying the silent "g" at the end of swimming, speaking, cooking etc. When will the "ing" become just "in"? It's already used in almost every song, because ...
0
votes
2answers
336 views

Correct spelling: Magic or Magick? [closed]

Is it Magic; or is it Magick? I think the latter is the correct way, even though the latter version is listed in some dictionaries. Why is that?
1
vote
0answers
504 views

What is the rule for duplicating the last letter when adding “-ed”? [duplicate]

I wonder if there is any rule for doubling the p at the end of a stem. For example: stop — stopped but help — helped
2
votes
1answer
2k views

The difference between “anyway” and “any way”

When to use anyway and when to use any way? Anyway I can do it. Any way I can do it. Are these the same?
-1
votes
2answers
203 views

Is subaccount one word?

I looked at the Cambridge and Oxford dictionaries online and they don't contain this word. But typing it into google takes me to the Merriam Webster definition. So does this just come down to taste? ...
-1
votes
1answer
284 views

Why don’t “snow” and “plow” — well, or “plough” — rhyme? [duplicate]

They (sometimes?) have the same ending when spelt but don’t rhyme when said. Why is that?
7
votes
2answers
718 views

Why doesn't blood sound like \ˈblüd\? [duplicate]

The pronunciation of blood is \'bləd\ while words such as moon and spoon (with double 'o') are pronounced as \ˈmün\ and \ˈspün. Why isn't blood pronounced like \ˈblüd\ ?
1
vote
3answers
1k views

Correct use of hyphens in “we offer same day, on site service calls”

What would be the correct hyphenation (if any) for the following sentence? We offer same day, on site service calls. I was thinking of hyphenating "on-site", but I cannot think why "same day" ...
0
votes
2answers
477 views

's' or 'z': 'musealisation' versus 'musealization'

As I understand, the term in itself is not consensual, but is there a preferred spelling for musealisation/ musealization, or is it just the 'usual' question of the British/American spelling?
3
votes
1answer
218 views

Why do people use “…” in emails after people's names? For example, “Mike… ”

What does this "..." mean in emails? For example, "Mike...You are always welcome to come to our social event."