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

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10
votes
4answers
7k views

Is “thankyou” acceptable as a single word?

I was doing a small piece of language translation in Google Translate, and it detected the use of "thankyou" in the text and asked "do you mean - thank you". Is the single word version - thankyou - ...
0
votes
0answers
17 views

Etymology of “queue” from “cue” [migrated]

Queue has such a strange spelling (80% of it is vowels!) that I wanted to see where the word came from. I searched for its origin at Etymonline.com, which had this to say: queue (n.): late 15c., ...
6
votes
2answers
209k views

“Dammit” vs. “damnit” [closed]

What is the correct spelling, dammit or damnit? And what is the difference? Just writing this question brings up a red squiggly underneath damnit and the suggestions include dammit and damn it.
20
votes
3answers
105k views

Co-Founder, Co-founder, or cofounder?

I've seen all three used and there doesn't seem to be a definitive one that I can find. I'm hedging towards Co-Founder as it's a title, but any clarity would be appreciated. Edit If it makes it any ...
26
votes
2answers
9k views

What's the deal with “colonel”?

Why does the word colonel (as in military rank) have such a strange spelling compared to how it's pronounced (or vice versa, although I don't know how you would pronounce that)?
0
votes
0answers
26 views

Correct Address [closed]

I'm confused as to what words to use when writing my address. My Flat is located in a building under which there is a bank. When writing my address should I write as: Flat A-04, ABC Building, ...
2
votes
2answers
44 views

Hyphenation of “left hand side”

I would like to know exactly where (or whether) "the right hand side", "the left hand wall", etc. should be hyphenated.
37
votes
2answers
3k views

Where does “ö” fall in alphabetical ordering?

Much to my surprise, I just learned that some English-language documents use the ö character. I need to know, when sorting words in an English-language document, where is ö placed? before A? ...
2
votes
3answers
504 views

“semi transparent”, what is used in between?

How do you write the word semi transparent (meaning partially transparent)? semitransparent semi-transparent semi transparent I found each of them on the Internet and none of them in my English ...
5
votes
2answers
95 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, ...
4
votes
3answers
929 views

Pluralization of proper nouns: regular or irregular? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Family name pluralization If a proper noun is a homograph of a common noun, is the proper noun subject to the same usage and form rules as the common noun, especially if ...
11
votes
0answers
500 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
150 views

Is “webdesigner” a word?

I am a uh, designer of websites, and I would like to use the phrase for my profession correctly. Unfortunately, webdesigner is flagged by Google Chrome's spellchecker as a misspelling, and web ...
13
votes
5answers
1k views

Why is “wavelength” one word when “wave height” isn't?

Why is “wavelength” one word when “wave height” isn't? As another example, wave speed is two words. But wavelength is only one word. What is the reason for this? In Swedish and other contructs, ...
1
vote
3answers
65 views

LOL: Spelling double l or single l for 'lolled, lolling' vs 'loled, loling' [closed]

The word 'lol' (lower case) is now sometimes used in the English language. Should we spell its past tense as 'lolled' or 'loled'? And should it be 'lolling' or 'loling'?
8
votes
4answers
14k views

Why does English spelling use silent letters?

Why have a letter in a word when it’s silent in pronunciation, like the b in debt? Can anyone please clarify my uncertainty here?
5
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
-2
votes
2answers
4k views

What is the correct British / Irish English spelling of Yoghurt? [closed]

Is it youghurt, yoghurt, or yogurt? Is there a correct spelling, or are they all correct?
5
votes
3answers
244 views

Is “ O’Leary’s’s ” orthographically correct? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Possessive of a word that's already possessive? There’s a bar near me named O’Leary’s Irish Pub—or just O’Leary’s for short. One day, they changed their menu. I ...
2
votes
4answers
2k views

Is “blah blah blah” the most common spelling?

What is the most common or correct spelling of "blah blah blah"? blah blah blah blah blah bla bla bla bla bla My question stems from when I first wrote it as "bla bla bla" in an English text, ...
5
votes
2answers
696 views

Are heteronyms unique to English and why do they exist?

Heteronyms are words with identical spelling and unique definition and pronunciations. For example, read (I have read that book; I will read that book), close (The door is close; I will close the ...
4
votes
5answers
21k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
909 views

Is there any rhyme or reason to when one should double the last consonant when adding -ed or -ing? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: focussed or focused? The double consonant Sometimes, final consonants are doubled when adding -ed or -ing to the end of a verb whose penultimate letter is a vowel. ...
0
votes
1answer
175 views

Is spelling part of Language? [closed]

In response to another question I asked, I was told spelling is not a part of language because it is a part of writing. This statement confuses me. Writing is a form of communication and is ...
60
votes
6answers
3k views

How come 'ou' was reduced to 'o' in the US?

Americans write color and favorite, when others say colour and favourite. How/why did this happen?
0
votes
2answers
187 views

Adding “-ing” to a verb ending with a pronounced “e”

When a verb ends with a "e" that is pronounced, do you get rid of the "e" when you add "-ing"? For example, would you say "His karaoking last night was really unique", or "His karaokeing last night ...
4
votes
0answers
67 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
8k views

Is it “dent” or “dint”?

It seems both dent and dint can mean an impression or hollow in a surface. Is there a reason for the two spellings? Do they have different connotations?
0
votes
1answer
103 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
3answers
2k views

Term for words with identical spelling but different meaning and different pronunciation

What do you call words with identical spelling but different meaning and different pronunciation? A couple examples are bass and resume.
1
vote
1answer
976 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!
23
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
407 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\ ?
4
votes
2answers
586 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
5k views

Hwat, hwere, and hwy?

In which English accents do they put an h before every word that starts with wh? Example from Youtube. Notice his pronunciation of whisky.
0
votes
1answer
488 views

Reform of English writing?

As is commonly known, English is quite notorious for having a writing system that is far removed from the actual way it is most commonly pronounced. I understand that there are important historical ...
21
votes
2answers
4k views

Why is it true that “I before E, except after C”?

I almost hesitate to ask this, because it is hard to believe no one else asked it; but it isn't showing up in the "similar titles" list. What is special about 'C' that switches the 'IE' immediately ...
11
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
21
votes
2answers
2k views

Why does the 'i' in 'explain' disappear when written as 'explanation'?

The word 'explain' has an 'i'. Why does that 'i' disappear when we write it as 'explanation'.
2
votes
4answers
4k views

Why are 'blueish' and 'bluish' both considered correct spellings?

My nine year old son fought hard on this and is taking a stand on spelling bluish as blueish. I'm certain his teacher will mark it as a spelling error in his writing... Several dictionaries have ...
22
votes
5answers
2k views

How do you spell Muammar Qaddafi?

This name, which is spelled القذافي in Arabic, is spelled in so many different ways in the Latin alphabet: Gadafi, Gadaffi, Gaddafi, Gaddaffi, Gadhafi, Gadhaffi, Ghadafi, Ghadaffi, Ghaddafi, ...
18
votes
3answers
37k views

Why is the word 'bologna' pronounced like 'baloney'?

Why is the word 'bologna' (as in a bologna sandwich) pronounced so differently from the way it's spelled? The word 'lasagna' isn't pronounced 'lasagney'... The American sausage is derived from a ...
13
votes
2answers
40k views
6
votes
2answers
248 views

“Lessen, poisoned gulls, ditcher wander hair annulled furry tell a boarder Slipping Booty?”

This is the prelude to an article published in Sports Illustrated magazine on August 17, 1959: Lessen, poisoned gulls, ditcher wander hair annulled furry tell a boarder Slipping Booty? Hoecake? ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

Silent letters in English [closed]

With the help of dictionaries, I’ve assembled a list of letters that can be silent in English: For most letters, I found more than one example, what are the other examples of a silent z ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Why is “hiccup” spelled with two c's?

Is there a historical or grammatical reason for spelling hiccup with two c's?
4
votes
2answers
632 views

Where do the idiosyncrasies in the spellings of English words come from and why do they survive?

For example: GH in enough is pronounced "F" O in women is pronounced short "I" TI in nation is pronounced "SH" Why aren't the words spelled enouf, wimen, nashon, or why not spell fish "ghoti"? It ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

“Lambast” or “lambaste”

I looked up both lambast and lambaste in several dictionaries, but came up with no conclusions about which one is AE and which BE (if this distinction can ever be made). Moreover, the different ...
1
vote
1answer
778 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 ...