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

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1
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3answers
842 views

3D vs 3d vs 3-d vs 3-dimensional

How do you correctly abbreviate that something is in "three dimensions" in formal writing? As per the title, would you write either "3D", "3d", or "3-d"? I want to write something like: The ...
11
votes
4answers
19k views

Why doesn't “ninth” have an “e”, like “ninety”?

Is it just because "ninth" has only one syllable? That wouldn't make sense, though, because saying "NINE-ith" wouldn't be worse than saying "NINE-e-tee". If we were used to "nineth", we would have ...
193
votes
1answer
253k views

When should I use an em-dash, an en-dash, and a hyphen?

I generally know how to use a hyphen, but when should I use an en-dash instead of an em-dash, or when should I use a hyphen instead of an em-dash?
5
votes
0answers
44 views

Name for letter U in words like 'suede' and 'penguin'

What is the letter U called when it says the /w/ sound in words like suede and penguin? I've read that y and w are semivowels but the U in suede and penguin doesn't really conform to the definition of ...
36
votes
7answers
24k views

Why is “primer” pronounced with a short “i” sound?

This word—used to mean an elementary textbook, not a painting material—annoys me to no end. Does anyone know why, exactly, "primer" is pronounced with a short "i" sound? I don't know why, call it ...
22
votes
2answers
99k views

“Queueing” or “Queuing”

Which spelling is better, queueing or queuing? Both words seem to mean the same (or am I wrong?), but there are two different spellings. My context is: Queueing Latency vs. Queuing Latency ...
1
vote
6answers
176 views

Is “risky” an acceptable spelling of “risqué”?

Is "risky" an acceptable spelling of "risqué" or "risque" (suggestive of sexual impropriety), such as in this article? Selena Gomez has posed braless in a risky and sultry new photo-shoot for ...
1
vote
2answers
3k 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!
0
votes
1answer
42 views

Different-colored or different colored? UK vs US English

Can I write "differently colored" instead? What expression most British or Americans would rather use? "socks, different in color" "socks of different colors" "a different color of each sock"
3
votes
3answers
8k 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 ...
29
votes
6answers
4k views

Why was the “th” combination chosen for the “th” sound?

Given that the two "th" sounds don't actually sound like a combination of "t" and "h" why was that particular combination selected or become adopted by the majority ?
4
votes
4answers
584 views

What is the correct term for “2” vs “two”? [closed]

When written this way, "2", what is the correct term? When written this way, "two", what is the correct term?
1
vote
1answer
89 views

Double Consonants in Gerund

Is there any rules regarding gerund that tell when to double the consonant of a word and when not to? I'm a little bit confused regarding this matter. Based on this link there are words that can be ...
7
votes
6answers
1k views

Is there a term for negligent spelling of words such as 'you' as 'u'?

The age of texting and instant messaging as we all know has created a phenomenon of using shorter versions of words to save on keystrokes. On tiny keypads or phone buttons this obviously can be a time ...
25
votes
2answers
10k views

When do you use “learnt” and when “learned”?

Is learnt UK English and learned US? Is it that simple? I’m used to using learnt, but my US spellchecker says it is wrong.
3
votes
3answers
2k views
3
votes
1answer
94 views

What kind of spelling error is using “are” in the place of “our”?

It's using the homophone but is there a name for that kind of spelling error in Child Writing Acquisition? The whole phrase is: After that we Played with are inten do will". Of course there ...
2
votes
2answers
72 views

Is it “transferrer” or “transferer”?

According to thefreedictionary, "transferrer" is someone who transfers something. However, it also lists the alternate spelling "transferer", with only one r in the middle. For the related "...
3
votes
2answers
165 views

Why is “Thailand” spelled with an 'h'?

As we all know, "Thailand" is not pronounced with a /θ/ — so why is it spelled that way? Is the 'h' vestigial? Does it represent some subtle phoneme in the Thai language, and if so, what is that ...
0
votes
2answers
380 views

How to spell a sound I hear people make

When you stick your tongue outside of your mouth and gently blow, it makes a common sound to indicate "whatever!" or "I don't like your answer/response" or "Yes, you are smarter than I am." What is ...
2
votes
5answers
362 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
31 views

What is the error called when spaces are placed incorrectly?

He went home , but he forgot his phone .He returned to get it . ^ ^ ^ These are some examples, which nowadays get autocorrected by word ...
45
votes
4answers
6k views

Why is ‘i’ in milk pronounced differently from ‘i’ in find?

As far as I know, in words of the structure CVCC, the vowel is usually short. Examples include milk, front, clamp, wasp, sport, etc. However, with some CC types, the vowel seems to always be long (...
2
votes
1answer
85 views

When double “l” is considered American English?

I'm struggling with "enroll" and "enrollment". Both answers (this one and this one), given to this question, as well as Wikipedia seems to be suggesting, that double "l" is more common in British ...
1
vote
1answer
3k 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".
1
vote
1answer
66 views

Cipher vs Cypher - British English vs American English [duplicate]

As an English author but long time resident of America, I recently wrote a historical spy thriller that delved deeply into coded messages. I often caught myself writing cipher and cypher. Although I ...
1
vote
1answer
35 views

Is semiannual one or two words? Or both? Or hyphenated?

I've looked on Google and StackExchange for the answer and am having no luck. This HAS to have been answered and asked before now... so I'm sorry in advance if this is a bad question or a repeat.
1
vote
1answer
38 views

Is it acceptable to spell fantasy with PH instead of F? [closed]

I know it used to be spelled that way. I'm just wondering if it's still acceptable.
1
vote
1answer
827 views

Why `night` with gh?

I am not native speaker. And me very interesting why night writting with gh? Thanks
8
votes
4answers
8k views

Pluralization of names

If I were to use the sentence "There are lots of John Smiths" in the world, would that be the correct use for saying that there are a lot of people named John Smith in the world? I don't think there ...
5
votes
4answers
18k views

Skyping or Skypeing

How do you spell the word for phoning by Skype? I would like to use the word in a semi-formal way, in a work related email conversation, where I start emails with "Hi". Skyping or Skypeing
0
votes
1answer
46 views

Replacing proper noun “-y” suffix to match plural case [duplicate]

For a proper noun, in this case let's say Morty, would one replace the "-y" suffix when using the plural case with "-ies" or keep it as an unaltered "-ys"?
1
vote
2answers
120 views

Singularity and Plurality of The Terms “God,” “god,” and “gods”

I've been studying some of the books of the English versions of the Bible, and have discovered how their uses of the terms, "God," "god," and "gods" should seem slightly perplexing to English readers ...
0
votes
1answer
73 views

Are there any other words that are spelled with “a” but pronounced with /e/ like many, any?

Are there any other words that are spelled with "a" but pronounced with the standard phoneme /e/ in Received Pronunciation like many, any? Exceptions: derivatives of any (anything, anyone, anytime, ...
0
votes
0answers
20 views

Any research data on spelling mistakes in English?

I am developing a "did you mean?" suggestion for my project similar to Google's suggestion. To make the algorithm to work faster, I am looking for a data or any research done on English spelling ...
6
votes
1answer
99 views

Why isn't the ‘P’ in psychology pronounced? [duplicate]

Why is the initial letter of some of the words like pneumonia, and psychology not pronounced?
1
vote
2answers
16k views

Independance or Independence?

What other words are like "independence" in British English where you replace the 'a' with an 'e'?
1
vote
1answer
47 views

“Wherever or Whenever”

Apologies for the title which sounds like the Shakira classic, but would you say "Thank you for providing help whenever possible" or "wherever possible"
7
votes
3answers
6k views

Why is “busy” pronounced “bizzy”?

Of all the ways I could come up with to pronounce the word "busy", "bizzy" would be very low on my list. At least "bussy" or "boosy". Why "bizzy"?
6
votes
3answers
426 views

Is it acceptable that I use ligatures and diæreses?

As we may all know, ligatures and diæreses have long become obsolescent. However, I see the logic behind spelling words with ligatures and diæreses. For example: algæ, formulæ, æon, æqulateral, ...
0
votes
2answers
60 views

Which spelling is correct: “Re-order” or “Reorder”

I'm looking to label an action button that would allow a user in a software interface to enable reordering (sorting, not re-purchasing) of items in a list. Re-order vs. Reorder When first presented ...
5
votes
3answers
25k 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
vote
0answers
29 views

Product description (text) in English, need some help [closed]

I have a product to launch, I've written a short description of about 600 words, I need some help to improve content quality, you know guys I am not very English :p I would like to make it more ...
1
vote
2answers
4k views

Any website to look up words with similar pronunciation or spelling?

Is there any website(s) to look up words with similar pronunciation or spelling? For example: stack, steak, stake, stick. (It can help me as a non-native English speaker to learn confusing words.)
2
votes
2answers
42 views

Indicating year when writing currency

Is there a convention for indicating the year of a monetary amount? Because of inflation citing a monetary sum is rather useless without specifying the year: $20 in 1900 is very different than $20 in ...
6
votes
2answers
89 views

Any idea about this 'ul' glyph from 1580's book on orthography?

Second row, all the way to the right. Does this glyph have a name? I am unfamiliar with it and had never come across it before. Page 21 in Bullokars Booke at large, for the amendment of orthographie ...
4
votes
4answers
5k 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
13k views

Which is correct, “on-line” or “online”?

I am still seeing uses of on-line, though I think it is incorrect. For example: A web browser enables a user to go on-line/online. Can you tell me which is the more appropriate to use, on-line ...
3
votes
2answers
7k views

siphon vs. syphon - any reason to prefer one over the other?

I've come across two spellings for this word. Siphon and syphon are apparently both correct. English is not my first language and this word is not used often in practice, especially in written form. I ...
0
votes
1answer
14 views

Hyphenation in pre[-]determined

Pre-determined or predetermined? I've seen both forms. Are both right, or only one of them? Is there any dialect difference between AE and BE? Do the same rules apply for all words starting with pre ...