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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1answer
35 views

“long” <i> - inconsistencies in the relationshipt between orthography and pronunciation

I'm wondering about the dual pronunciations of the letter /i/ in open syllables- usually it has the realization [a͡ɪ], representing the regular outcome of long i after the great vowel shift, but ...
2
votes
5answers
3k views

Where does 'doofus' (or perhaps 'dufus') come from?

Both Dufus and Doofus seem to be common on the web, so I'm not sure which is the correct spelling, if either. It's kind of a cool word. Do we have any idea where/how it originated?
1
vote
2answers
1k views

Shalln't vs. Shan't in British English

I am a British English speaker and often use "shall" and "shall not". When I contract "shall not", I pronounce it [ʃɑlnt] -- that is, the "l" sound remains. My question, therefore, is how do I spell ...
12
votes
1answer
11k views

“Philippines” vs. “Filipino”

Why is Filipino spelled with an F? Philippines is spelled with a Ph. Some have said that it's because in Filipino, Philippines starts with F; but if this is so, why did we only change the beginning of ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Why did Australian English change from spelling words like 'honor' to 'honour'?

I know there are other questions comparing the US and UK usage of o and ou in words like colour. My question is specifically in regard to Australian English. I was always taught that here in Australia ...
3
votes
2answers
5k views
26
votes
1answer
1k views

I'd like to know the spelling of a word, a synonym of unknown

I'm used to watching American TV Series all the time. I watch them with Italian subtitles, so I misspell many words. Many of them are not so difficult to figure out, but there's one that I just cannot ...
7
votes
2answers
6k views

Is “swop” an acceptable variant of “swap”?

I've always spelt it with an "a". But my friend insists on spelling it with an "o". Is this an acceptable variant?
17
votes
2answers
5k views

Why does the 'b' in absorb change to a 'p' in absorption?

The question pretty much says it all. Why is "absorbtion" an incorrect spelling?
0
votes
1answer
42 views

“exhaust gas aftertreatment” vs. “exhaust gas after treatment”

My question is related to filters and catalysts in vehicles. I would name them "exhaust gas aftertreatment". However MS Word always corrects this to "exhaust gas after treatment". What is correct? ...
1
vote
2answers
38 views

Can I place a comma before and after a possessive noun?

Should I put a comma before and after "Luke's"? Thank you for considering us for your cat Luke’s grooming needs.
0
votes
1answer
69 views

does the slogan “furniture made by makers” make sense? [on hold]

I am working on a slogan for a new furniture website that will feature furniture made by different individual makers and English isn't my first language, so I was wondering if this slogan made sense: ...
16
votes
0answers
970 views

Graphotactics of possessive: the true reason for the apostrophe

I have some hypotheses for English graphotactics: 〈w〉 and 〈y〉 are optional positional variants (i.e. allographs) of 〈u〉 and 〈i〉, respectively, in digraphs that correspond with diphthongs or vowels: ...
1
vote
3answers
3k 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?
-1
votes
0answers
31 views

Forming a word with the given letters [closed]

I was asked to form a word which complete the following sentence: "..... a difficult situation." I was given the following letters to form the right word: "nehglacel". Could you help me finding which ...
4
votes
7answers
24k 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
54 views

What is the linguistic perception phenomenon when a person can read a word whose inner letters are rearranged?

What is this linguistic perception phenomenon called? Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht ...
1
vote
0answers
26 views

Hurray vs Hooray? [duplicate]

I've seen two different spellings of this word - which is correct: hurray, or hooray? As in: You haven't got any outstanding alerts to action — hurray! I'm interested specifically in ...
11
votes
6answers
7k views

Why is “liquorice” pronounced (or spelt) so strangely?

Liquorice is pronounced ˈlɪkərɪʃ. But every other word I can think of ending with -ice is pronounced differently (such as police or rice). How did liquorice get such a strange pronunciation, or ...
1
vote
2answers
19k views

“Wear off” or “ware off” [on hold]

Iv'e seen both spellings of the phrase. Is one correct and the other incorrect or are they both acceptable? Does one belong to British English?
8
votes
3answers
298 views

Are vowel ligatures common in any disciplines these days?

Are there any areas of writing, literature or science where æ or œ are still used? Are there contexts where they are still considered mandatory?
1
vote
4answers
282 views

Recordkeeping, record keeping, or record-keeping

In the following sentence, a reviewer claimed that record keeping is a spelling error that should be corrected to recordkeeping. Service providers shall manage information using agreed upon ...
0
votes
1answer
25 views

non-living vs nonliving [closed]

What is the proper way to spell this word? This in the context of writing a curriculum for children distinguishing living vs non-living things. Is it non-living or nonliving?
0
votes
1answer
71 views

What to use after a word which ends with “se” to indicate possession? [duplicate]

I apologize for the seemingly simple question. I've searched on Google for this, but could not find anything. The word "Recluse", meaning (noun) "a person who lives a solitary life and tends to avoid ...
4
votes
2answers
434 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 ...
22
votes
3answers
2k views

Why did the letter “o” disappear in the word “pronunciation”?

The verb pronounce has the letter o in its second syllable, but in the noun pronunciation, that same letter disappears from the corresponding position. Why is that?
0
votes
0answers
64 views

Why “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 ...
122
votes
1answer
124k 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?
14
votes
2answers
6k views

“noone”, “no one” or “no-one”?

What is the correct form? Does context play a role? Are there noticeable trends towards the awkward "noone" or is it just a by-product of careless orthography on the Internet?
6
votes
2answers
107 views

Spelling of “possibility”

I looked up possibility on Thesaurus.com, but what I want to know is where the 'i' in possibility comes from? Why not have 'possibile' or 'possiblity'?
48
votes
2answers
5k views

Why is “q” followed by a “u”?

Is there a particular rule that states that q should always be followed by a u? Because in certain cases like Qatar, or qawwali, this so-called rule is violated. What do you folks say?
-1
votes
2answers
78 views

Is “bared fruit” grammatical? [closed]

Am I the only one whos athletic career bared fruit? Is this sentence correct grammatically?
19
votes
5answers
2k views

Is “princessship” a real word? Are there any other words which have the same letter 3 times consecutively?

One of my friends argues that princessship is the only word which has 3 identical letter comes together (s) ,but I think there is no word such as princessship. Can anyone tell me whether this is a ...
1
vote
0answers
19 views

Comma after introductory phrase in “As a B, I want A”? [duplicate]

Is this comma needed or allowed? As a citizen, I think that this problem undermines the right to privacy. Or should it be written this way instead: As a citizen I think that this problem ...
1
vote
1answer
48 views

Job title spelling

I have a question regarding my job position and its spelling - I develop mobile apps, what would be the correct spelling of my job position to put on my LinkedIn page: Mobile Application Developer ...
28
votes
2answers
7k views

When is “L” doubled?

Some verbs can have double Ls in the gerund form; for example: modeling; modelling traveling; travelling Which form should we use, or which form is used more in the literature?
2
votes
6answers
655 views

How to write Vietnamese names in English correctly? (“Việt Nam” to “Vietnam” or “Viet Nam”?)

Commonly, in writing, the country name in Vietnamese is Việt Nam, in English is Vietnam; its capital city name in Vietnamese is Hà Nội, in English is Hanoi; its largest city name in Vietnamese is ...
0
votes
1answer
114 views

Is there the term “majour fource” in English? [closed]

A person from the legal department replaced "major force" with "majour fource" in a document. I wanna know if this spelling has any background in the English language or is a typo.
6
votes
3answers
4k views

adding a prefix “re” to a word, with or without a hyphen?

In science we often invent words, but that doesn't mean we know how to spell them. Most of the time words are invented by adding prefixes. In that case should there be a hyphen or not? Specifically, I ...
1
vote
2answers
113 views

Are or is? May be a simple question but I am confused

Which of the following sentences are grammatical? Being egocentric and selfish are dangerous in a world where karma is always with you. Being egocentric and selfish is dangerous in a world ...
2
votes
1answer
108 views

One-letter words in English language

The original question that came to my mind was "How many one-letter words are there in English language?". But of course, I did some research and found out there are three: A – an indefinite ...
3
votes
1answer
48 views

When do words like “Rewirable” keep the 'e' from “Rewire”?

I was spelling "rewirable" earlier and could've sworn it should be spelled 'rewireable' but google said otherwise. Whats the deal here? I never paid a lot of attention in my english classes ...
16
votes
3answers
6k views

“Time zone” vs. “Timezone”

My spell checker shows that both "time zone" and "timezone" are correctly spelled. Which one of these is the correct one to use?
1
vote
1answer
43 views

Transforming words as in CAE tests (Cambridge Advanced English)

I am doing a Cambridge Advanced English test this weekend. The free online test they provide online lets you transform words like this, from nouns to verbs to adjectives, back and forth. • Come ...
0
votes
1answer
108 views

What is the most “hardworking” letter in the English alphabet? [closed]

I hope I am not being pedantic; however, I could not come up with an answer on the internet. I wonder which is the letter which can be discriminated from the alphabet system on the basis of its ...
5
votes
2answers
668 views

Character vs Charm - Pronunciation

Is there a rule to understand how the group "Cha" has to be pronounced? "Character" sounds with a hard first syllable, while "Charm" sound softer, but I don't find how to tell which sound to use ...
4
votes
4answers
196 views

Why does English omit diacritics on foreign names?

Why does English omit diacritics from foreign names that still use the Latin alphabet? For example, why are the Czech tennis player Tomáš Berdych, the Norwegian crime writer Jo Nesbø, or the Polish ...
3
votes
2answers
672 views

“Cancellation”, “Canceled”, “Canceling” — US usage

I'm trying to figure out if there is a specific rule behind the word "cancel" that would cause "cancellation" to have two L's, but "canceled" and "canceling" to have only one (in the US). I ...
1
vote
1answer
43 views

Is “fatah” an alternative spelling of “fatwa”?

I've occasionally seen "fatah" being used instead of "fatwa" to mean Islamic religious ruling. For example, from Fear and Loathing of Sharks in Western Australia by Paul Watson (in an article which ...
9
votes
4answers
27k views

Is 'useable' preferred in certain regions, or just an alternate spelling of 'usable'?

I rarely use spell checkers, but today when I did use one, it suggested changing the word 'useable' to 'usable' (i.e. to drop the first 'e'). This seemed immediately intuitive and I thought I'd just ...