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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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 ...
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69 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 ...
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1answer
106 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 ...
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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
45 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 ...
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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" ...
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1answer
47 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."
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1answer
58 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 | ...
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1answer
85 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 ...
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1answer
71 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" = "...
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1answer
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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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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
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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,...
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1answer
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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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Why “equiped” as opposed to “equipped”? [duplicate]

Why do we use two p's instead of one when spelling "equipped"?
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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
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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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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 ...
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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, ...
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1answer
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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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1answer
61 views

Should I write 'organization' or 'organisation'? [duplicate]

I can not choose what to write for my project about being organised... Should I write: organization or organisation Is it just a spelling difference between American English and British English? (I ...
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2answers
232 views

Two 'x's in “anti-vaxxer”

I have always found myself impulsively and automatically spelling "anti-vaxxer" with two 'x's, and a Google search indicates that most other media sources did the same; however, I can't ...
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Final consonant doubling in Proper names

Webb, Rudd, Barr, Pratt are all proper names that have a double final consonant. What is the reason for this doubling?
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1answer
315 views

Is it “Thats why!” or “That's why!”? [closed]

I see it spelled both ways, what is the right way ? So far I lived by the rule that apostrophe s means possession and without the apostrophe it is a simple abbreviation. Or is it more complicated ? (...
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Which sentence is correct and why? with 'to' or without 'to'

All I can do is to tell her not to go out during the weekend. All I can do is tell her not to go out during the weekend.
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What is the difference between a dieresis and an umlaut?

In my personal experience, many native speakers of U.S. English are familiar with the term "umlaut" as referring to the double dots above a letter, though they are not generally aware of its ...
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2answers
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Is respect awarded, accorded or afforded?

I was revising a colleague's work, and saw the phrase "awarded the respect it deserves". This struck me as incorrect, but I was struck harder still by an uncertainty as to whether it ...
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Two-weeks' notice

For me it's uncountable, either two weeks' notice or two-week notice. Yet I've just come across two-weeks' notice. I cannot think of any similar examples. Is this used of the hyphen grammatical ?
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2answers
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What rule governs “panic->panicking” and why? Would it apply to all -ic verbs? [duplicate]

It seems odd that the continual tense of "to panic" is "panicking". Or "picnic->picnicking". When did the "k" get added, and why? Surely the natural ...
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1answer
60 views

If I want to use “bountying” in a sentence, how might I construct a spelling for it? If not possible, what word could be used instead?

I frequently add bounties to Stack Exchange questions. I do a lot of bountying. I find this question fascinating and in need of bountying, but alas, I do not know how to attempt to spell bountying and ...
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1answer
193 views

Why do some spell checker mark “copiable” as an error?

Some of my spell checkers (including the one in vim, and the build-in one in gmail) mark the form "copiable" as an error, and insist on "copyable". This doesn't seem to make sense; ...
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Luscious, Vicious, Delicious, Nutritious? Why not Nutricious? [closed]

Why is nutritious spelled as such, and not as nutricious? What's the rule I'm missing here?
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Question Regarding Punctuation and Quotation Mark

I'm struggling to recall the answers to the questions below. Any assistance would be wonderful! Thanks! Does the comma go inside or outside the quotation mark in the sentence below? I submitted my ...
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1answer
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Hyphenation usage in US English [duplicate]

I am writing my Ph.D. Thesis in US English and have two questions on hyphenating. Would it be re-entry or reentry? Would it be (re)training or (re-)training? Or would it be retraining at all times? ...
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3answers
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In British English, is “bail” or “bale” more common? [closed]

In American English, let's say we have something like Dude, I want to leave this party. Let's bail. This holds up in various American dictionaries (with the exception of to bale out of an airplane, ...
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0answers
258 views

What's the origin of “-er” vs. “-re” endings?

There's some words that end in "er" or "re" depending on the word, and depending on what country you learned English from. There's words like reader with the "er" ending, ...
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Why was 'Jesus' spelt 'Jhesus' in Wycliffe's Bible?

I found that in Wycliffe's Bible, Jesus Christ is spelt as "Jhesu Crist". Why was it spelt with 'Jh' instead of 'J'?
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Abbreviating “of course” to course or 'course - is apostrophe needed to indicate missing word?

I'm looking at some dialogue that has been written as "'Course not!". Is the apostrophe here - indicating the missing word "of" - correct, incorrect or optional for clarity? ...
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What’s going on with "hot -> heat”? [duplicate]

I am looking for a particular linguistic term for this process of turning words like hot into words like heat. English has a bunch of pairs like these: Hot -> heat Whole -> heal (Folk)lore ->...
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meridional or meridianal?

The wikipedia article on the history of the metric system uses the adjectives meridional and meridianal (as the metre was derived from the length of the meridian passing through Paris). Which is ...
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Why are 'electric', 'electricity' and 'electrician' pronounced differently?

Why are the words electric, electricity and electrician pronounced differently? Electric -> /iˈlek.trɪk/ Electricity -> /ˌel.ɪkˈtrɪs.ə.ti/ Electrician -> /ˌɪl.ekˈtrɪʃ.ən/ My main question ...
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1answer
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Rules for pronouncing the “gh” sound [duplicate]

In English, we have many words ending in or containing “gh”, but in some cases, the two letters are silent, while in others, it is pronounced as “f” . We have the words tough, rough, and draught, ...
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1answer
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Adjective: attributive “leftover”, predicative “left over”

Wiktionary's entry for left over reads: Use left over after a verb, in a predicate phrase. When directly before a noun, use leftover. Is this a general productive pattern? Otherwise, any reference ...
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2answers
424 views

Why is letter E the most common used letter?

It is well known that the letter E is the most common letter. In my corpus, I found 12.478% of letters is letter E. What makes me surprise was 64.219% of words contain the letter E. I also found that ...
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“Bias”: reason(s) for doubling the last consonant before inflectional endings

Forms such as concussed or discusses may lead people to wrongly double the final consonant of focus ―at least that's the only reason I have come up with. Yet, I cannot come up with a potential ...
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<ie ⟷ y> before the ·ing suffix

Page 1579 of the CambridgeGEL reads For die the ie is the default spelling, so that the replacement works in the opposite direction: ie is replaced by y before the ·ing suffix. Why was a replacement ...
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Can 'postsynaptic' be written as 'post-synaptic'?

Under the heading "Excitatory and inhibitory postsynaptic potentials" in this article on Khan Academy, the word 'postsynaptic' is written with and without a hyphen. Does this imply that both ...
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1answer
2k views

Is “bestfriend” an acceptable spelling now?

I'm a non-native speaker and I'd like to know if it has been grammatically acceptable in the UK or the US to write "best friend" as "bestfriend". I've seen such spelling used a lot ...
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How did English final /əl/ come to usually be spelled “le”?

English has suffixes spelled "-le" and pronounced /əl/ with several meanings. However, they variously come from Old English -el, -ol, -ul, and -lian. Of these, only -lian has a vowel after ...

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