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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

2
votes
1answer
39 views

Was analysis spelt as anlysis in the past?

I found a lot of uses of the term anlysis, mostly in older texts and archived articles (from the 1970s). Was the word spelt as anlysis before the current use of analysis? Update: It seems like people ...
8
votes
2answers
12k views

Why isn't “citizen” spelled as “citisen” in British English?

In British English vocabulary, most words with "z" are spelled with "s". For example, "capitalization" is "capitalisation", "industrialization" is "industrialisation". But for some words, like "...
0
votes
4answers
80 views

Are there specific situations where one spelling variant is recommended over another?

I am not a native speaker of English so I get confused when writing since there are sometimes two different spellings of words in English — by which I mean an American spelling and a British spelling. ...
0
votes
1answer
54 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"
2
votes
1answer
29 views

How to spell [kæʃt] in the sense of “expended”

I have Googled but can't even find this word sense in online dictionaries. I've heard the word [kæʃt] used in the sense of "expended", such as in the following examples: My drink is [kæʃt]. (...
4
votes
0answers
50 views

What's the current scholarly opinion on the “minims” explanation for the spelling of “love”, “tongue,” etc?

According to the Online Etymology dictionary (as cited in this question How was the letter -u- written in Old English?): The substitution of Middle English -o- for Old English -u- before -m-, -n-...
116
votes
8answers
27k views

Why is “Pokémon” written with an accent?

Is there a language-related reason why the word has an accent on the "é"? The Japanese for Pokémon is "ポケモン" (pokemon), so it's not to represent a long vowel.
22
votes
1answer
2k views

Why are nouns corresponding to verbs ending with “oke” written with “c”?

I was wondering about this for a while now. Could anyone explain this phenomenon or is it just "English quirks"? Examples: invoke/invocation provoke/provocation revoke/revocation
15
votes
2answers
17k views

Why is it spelled “maintenance” and not “maintainance?”

Why is the task of maintaining spelled "maintenance" and not "maintainance?" Other words related to maintaining include: maintain, maintained, maintainer, maintainability, and maintainable. Each of ...
10
votes
1answer
4k views

Spelling of “high” vs “height”

Out of curiosity, how come height is spelt with an e while one drops it in high or highest? In my opinion, it seems rather weird that it isn't consistent. Is there a logical or historical explanation?...
2
votes
0answers
43 views

hiccough vs hiccup [duplicate]

I had 12 years of public school, 4 years of college (honors), 4 years of medical school and 3 years of post graduate training. Now I have practiced medicine for 35 years. Last week, someone told me ...
7
votes
2answers
133 views

Professionally Indicate a Misspelling

I am writing a formal letter to a business colleague, and I know that I may have misspelled someone's first name. I do not have a way of checking if my assumed spelling is correct, but would like to ...
1
vote
1answer
22 views

Marshaller / Marshaler [duplicate]

What is the correct spelling of Marshalling/Marshaling? I also have problems with other derived variants of marshal: marshaller / marshaler marshalling / marshaling marshalled / marshaled Google ...
5
votes
1answer
101 views

What does “iages” refer to “gauges” or edges?

We're trying to determine whether "iages" was used to describe "gauges" or "edges". The usage was found in a document from the early 1630's drafted by an alderman attempting to settle a dispute ...
5
votes
5answers
14k 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
66 views

Is it true that the “i before e” rule is vastly untrue? [duplicate]

After reading questions like Why is it true that "I before E, except after C"?, and searching for the rule on Google, I happened upon the following image: This claims that only 44 out of ...
16
votes
5answers
2k views

Why does “attach” have two Ts but “detach” only one?

The title says it all. We have two words: attach detach Shouldn't they be ...? attach dettach Or …? atach detach
7
votes
3answers
15k views

Is “targetted” a standard British English spelling?

Wiktionary says that the difference between "targetting" and "targeting" is that the first one is a British spelling and the second one is American. Meanwhile, Oxford Dictionaries says that "...
-2
votes
1answer
51 views

Why don't we simplify spelling of “champagne” to something like “champen” [closed]

In modern (or American) ENglish, we simplified spellings of many words, such as plough, mould, neighbour, and many many more. Why don't we do same thing for word "champagne"?
4
votes
1answer
104 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
5k 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). ...
7
votes
1answer
143 views

What is the linguistic term used when a place is associated with building or historical figure(s)

What is the linguistic term used when a place is associated with a particular building or historical figure(s)? For example Westminster is associated with the Houses of Parliament and the Prime ...
6
votes
2answers
3k views

Why “pastime” but not “passtime”?

pastime n. An activity that occupies one's spare time pleasantly: Sailing is her favorite pastime. [TFD] Etymonline says that it is from pass + time: late 15c., passe tyme "recreation, ...
1
vote
1answer
148 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
913 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
20k 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 ...
197
votes
1answer
256k 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?
37
votes
7answers
25k 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 ...
23
votes
2answers
101k 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
183 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!
3
votes
3answers
9k 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
597 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
96 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
80 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
239 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
394 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
363 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
33 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
92 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
71 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
58 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
39 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.