Questions tagged [orthography]

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

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7
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3answers
2k views

What constitutes humor on this "i before e" coffee mug text?

I saw this writing on a coffee mug, which is supposedly popular amongst linguists: i before e Except after C and also when you heinously seize your feisty foreign neighbor's conceited beige heifer ...
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0answers
35 views

Why isn't "head" spelled "hed"? [closed]

Why isn't "head" spelled "hed"? "Bed" isn't spelled "bead".
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0answers
24 views

Wizerd or Wizard? [closed]

Please help me with these words. Which one is correct? Google Translate gives me same meaning for both. Wizerd gives me an error in a dictionary. If both are correct, which one is used where?
4
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3answers
353 views

Is there a (more-or-less) established spelling for “the us[ual]”?

Unusual orthography When you visit your local diner, or favorite bar, and the server wants to know if you’d like your standard order, the thing you always get, they’ll often inquire, in shorthand: ...
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0answers
51 views

Why doesn't the 'gh' in 'flight' count as deleted? [migrated]

Debt, rhetoric, style: all these words have a silent 'b','h', and 'e'. In my test paper, this is known as a result of deletion rule. But why doesn't the 'gh' in 'flight' count as deleted?
4
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1answer
367 views

How did English come to use a writing system which makes spelling it so hard?

Alphabetic writing systems use graphemes to represent phonemes. But in their “Psychology of Reading” chapter of 2003’s Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science, researchers Simon Garrod and Meredyth Daneman ...
1
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0answers
52 views

Why didn't spelling of words keep track of pronunciation changes during the great vowel shift?

In the English language, words are written according to the way they were pronounced before the great vowel shift. Take e.g. the sentence: "I came from my house, now I'm here". If we ...
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0answers
73 views

One or two words: "Doorframe" or "Door frame"?

Is "doorframe" correct? Or is "door frame" correct? Merriam Webster is saying "doorframe" however every professional editing software I use flags the word doorframe as a ...
1
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1answer
206 views

Hobbes spelling inconsistency

I was reading Chapter 2 of Leviathan, on Page 17 of my edition (but I'm not sure if most editions have the same numbering). Hobbes spells the same word two different ways, "brain" and "...
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1answer
54 views

Why is double -ll- used after a vowel digraph in "surveilled, surveilling"?

Why is the letter l double in the inflections of the verb surveil? It's not in those of (as)sail or veil, and AmE has canceled but mostly cancellation. It's a counterintuitive spelling similar to ...
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0answers
36 views

Glamourisation/Glamorisation/Glamorization?

I ran into a problem whilst writing the word 'glamourisation'. I want to adhere to the British spelling, which I think would be with and but the Oxford English Dictionary has no entry for '...
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0answers
16 views

Plural "-i" vs. "-uses" [duplicate]

Similarly to Latin words with no plurals in English I still have trouble with some plurals when the word ends in -us. For example, I have often been told that the plural for cactus is cacti, but then ...
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1answer
63 views

Accent marks on nouns [duplicate]

English does not use accent marks basically. However, some foreign names and nouns (like Dalí, Gaudí, café, fiancé) contain accents symbols. Then, the question is "is it ok to write without ...
3
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1answer
92 views

How does the word "today" make sense?

So I'm currently reading a book from the 1930s (Lost Horizon), where some language conventions are quite different than the language conventions I am used to today. One thing piqued my interest: The ...
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0answers
27 views

Can you ever place a comma ᴀꜰᴛᴇʀ the word "which"? [duplicate]

Is there any scenario in which a comma is used right after the word which? For example, is this sentence correctly written as is — or not? The sensitivity to material AAA, which, in fact, is ...
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0answers
19 views

correctness of "and the smallest last" vs "and the smallest, last"

Which is correct? If both are correct, is one more correct than the other? The largest pixie should be eaten first, and the smallest last. The largest pixie should be eaten first, and the smallest, ...
2
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3answers
102 views

Did quotation marks have other applications or uses, like for emphasis?

I have frequently observed instances of quotation marks being used in interesting ways, often with rather funny implications. Here are some notable examples of unnecessary or suspicious quotation ...
2
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5answers
311 views

Is the hyphen in the adjective phrase “just-[past participle]” mandatory?

I came across the following sentence: The target can be resolved through one of the just mentioned record types. I believe it should have been written as “… just-mentioned record types”, with a ...
1
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0answers
65 views

What do we call the shift in the orthography of words like "cuppa, fella, attaboy and attagirl"? [duplicate]

I know that words like cuppa, fella, attaboy and attagirl are contractions of, respectively, cup of tea, fellow, that's the/a boy and that's the/a girl. I wonder if there is a term which would ...
5
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1answer
157 views

Why did word final S get replaced by "CE" in Middle and Modern English?

There are many words in English that have ce at the end in Modern English. The roots they have come from had s but replaced by ce in Modern English. Is there any reason why the s's got replaced by ce? ...
0
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1answer
38 views

'Frame' or "frames' of reference [duplicate]

I am stuck on whether to use 'frame' or 'frames' of reference. Example sentences: This study seeks to add value to the theologies of the Hebrew Scriptures in both its Hebrew and Greek frame/frames of ...
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0answers
28 views

Georeferencing vs. Geo-referencing [closed]

What would be the correct spelling: georeferencing or geo-referencing? I'm writing my PhD on the topic and would prefer to write correctly, of course. Some research I've conducted already: Merriam-...
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0answers
37 views

"quantum mechanical" vs "quantum-mechanical" [duplicate]

I'm currently writing a short report, where one (sub-)chapter heading reads: The quantum(-)mechanical basics I am now wondering, whether it is preferable with or without the hyphen. When googling ...
0
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1answer
93 views

Capitalization of "neo-scholasticism" [duplicate]

Is the word 'neo-scholasticism' capitalized in academic writing, or not? It is lowercase in the Merriam Webster dictionary, but capitalized in the Collins English dictionary. So in a thesis, which ...
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0answers
77 views

Why does ou change to o when adding the suffix -ous in words such as ‘humorous’?

Background I realised today that humour when made an adjective by adding the suffix -ous, loses its -ou- spelling to -o-. There are some other words which have a change in spelling, such as miracle → ...
2
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1answer
113 views

When is the "Short A" sound actually spelled with an AE?

I was reading a book on English spelling (Dictionary of the British English Spelling System, by Greg Brooks) and it mentioned that the Short A sound (æ) can be spelled using the following graphemes: ...
3
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1answer
316 views

Why are "mobile" and "automobile" pronounced differently?

I just came across the words and then I looked them both up in the dictionary app, which shows the word "mobile" pronounces as /'məʊbaɪl/, whereas the other word-"automobile", ...
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4answers
295 views

How do you tell a spelling mistake from a grammar mistake? [duplicate]

How do you tell a spelling mistake from a grammar mistake? For example: Your the best. This iz the end. I likes music. She preatend to be asleep. One method is to read the erroneous sentence aloud (...
5
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3answers
252 views

Publick or Public? in the 18th and 19th Century Britain

The spelling of -ck was more popular than -c in many words in Britain. But in America, Noah Webster proposed around 1800 to replace -ck by -c, which caused the widespread of this -c spelling in US. In ...
4
votes
1answer
130 views

Term for intentional inaccuracies that better convey meaning?

Is there a term or concept that describes instances where an author/speaker intentionally or knowingly uses wrong spelling/pronunciation/grammar because it better conveys the intended meaning, and is ...
1
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1answer
90 views

Does English allow /eɪʃ/ in the end of a syllable (in the same syllable)?

The sound /ʃ/ is almost always spelled with more than one letter i.e. with a digraph unlike, say, /p/ which is spelled with a single letter (pan, pen, pie). I have noticed a particular pattern: vowels ...
3
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1answer
138 views

Which letters do not appear consecutively in English words?

Are there any letters in the English alphabet that never appear twice consecutively in a word? For example: the word running has the letter n repeated consecutively in it. What letters never appear in ...
0
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1answer
98 views

How did words like rubbish, ribbon and cabbage get "BB"?

Certain words that have double B in Modern English didn't have "BB" in the word they are derived from. Rubbish: "c. 1400, robous, from Anglo-French rubouses" (Etymology Dictionary)...
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1answer
143 views

Approach to or for? [closed]

My sentence: ---The exploitation of natural and ecofriendly resources could be an alternative approach to creating a sustainable environment. Is the preposition correct or should I rearrange the ...
1
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0answers
51 views

Is counter example a valid form of counterexample?

In student writing about math, I see the term "counter example" instead of "counterexample" too often. Does anyone have good ideas about why people think "counterexample" ...
0
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1answer
52 views

which is correct here, break or broke? [closed]

which one is correct? "Steve was amazing before his leg break." "Steve was amazing before his leg broke."
5
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2answers
315 views

Why does the word ‘suffix’ have a double ‘ff’ while ‘prefix’ has a single ‘f’?

While writing the word ‘suffix’, I stopped to do a spellcheck as a result of the ‘ff’. I did not do so with the word ‘prefix’ as I was comfortable with the ‘pre’ and ‘fix’. I looked up ‘ff’ vs. ‘f’ ...
0
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1answer
82 views

Cosmetics: Make up, make-up, or makeup? [closed]

When referring to cosmetics, which is correct? Make up, make-up, or makeup? And does it matter in case of a noun, verb, adjective? The actor playing Frankenstein's monster wore 6 pounds of [makeup | ...
0
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1answer
100 views

Can we use "depot" as an adjective? [closed]

Can we use depot in this form: depotted books or depot books? (I’m not sure about the past participle of this word.) Or should it be used only as a “place” where books are supposed to be stored, a ...
2
votes
1answer
94 views

Why "admit" with T but "admissible" with SS? [duplicate]

I have noticed that when the suffix -ible is added to "admit", it becomes "admissible" rather than "admittible". There are few other examples: "omit" = "...
2
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1answer
59 views

Is it ever ac­cept­able to write slashes be­tween mul­ti­ple but sep­a­rate pre­fixes?

For ex­am­ple, can I get away with writing bio/tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vances have made? Even if this is or­tho­graph­i­cally ac­cept­able in one or another kind of writ­ten English, would it better for ...
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4answers
65 views

Violence incidents or violent incidents? [closed]

In an academic paper I discuss violent situations. Is it correct to refer to this as 'violence incidents'? Or should I refer to it as 'violent incidents' instead?
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3answers
257 views

Is narcist an accepted spelling of narcissist? [closed]

Wiktionary lists "narcist" as an "alternative form of narcissist." A few other online dictionaries list it as well, but none have much information on it. It doesn't say nonstandard,...
0
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1answer
51 views

Does the em dash take precedence over the comma?

In a sentence like: While I would love to do A, I cannot wait to do B. If I add a set-off clause right before the comma, which of these is correct? While I would love to do A—for reasons X—I cannot ...
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0answers
24 views

Why "equiped" as opposed to "equipped"? [duplicate]

Why do we use two p's instead of one when spelling "equipped"?
3
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1answer
52 views

Is there a specific for a voluntarily made monosyllabic sound from the mouth used to express humor/laughter/cynicism?

The sound I'm thinking of isn't so much a snort, it's not expelled from the nose, however, a sound used to express humor or amusement that doesn't quite hit the laughter threshold. I notice I do it ...
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1answer
58 views

Grammar Corrections

Correcting Grammar: "The committee is not only working to preserve historical buildings, but also is interested in developing a local museum" My Notes: I was thinking that it violates ...
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0answers
31 views

Why doesn't US English drop the "o" from "subpoena"?

US English usually drops the o from the diphthong oe (or œ). So for example the o in the UK English manoeuvre, diarrhoea, oesophagus are all usually dropped in US English. Why then isn't the o in ...
2
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0answers
73 views

Why were full stops used in old texts after singular words or incomplete sentences?

This is a table of 17th-century mathematical notation standards by Samuel Jeake. It looks completely alien, compared to our modern notation, but that's not relevant. What is important to note, ...
1
vote
1answer
137 views

Chanterelle and Chantrelle, which is the correct name of the mushroom?

I always spell it as chanterelle until I bought a box of CHANTRELLE in Whole Foods Market. I looked up my dictionary, and yes, the word should be chanterelle. However, I also noticed that, the word ...

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