Why do some words in English become joined together and what is the criteria that prevents common phrases of doing the same?

For example:

None the less > Nonetheless

Never the less > Nevertheless

Some what > Somewhat

1 Answer 1


Actually in English there are quite a few words that are made up by other words joined together: moreover, someone, notwithstanding, whereas etc. one possible reason may be the fact that many English words are derived from old Germanic-based languages, and in those languages it was common to combine words to create compound words.
For example, an equivalent German word for nonetheless is "trotzdem". It's made up of two words, "trotz" and "dem", or "despite" and "that", a parallel construction to the English.

Actually nonetheless appear as a single word since the 20's but other compound words have been used as a single entity much before that date. I think that also the continuous usage of words often used together have resulted in the creation of single words.

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