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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1answer
62 views

What is the plural form of musical score?

The title of a Spotify playlist from Disney is "Disney Score To Study To". The name surprised me because I would have thought it would be titled "Disney Scores To Study To". Seeing as this is an ...
28
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5answers
849 views

Is it Web site or website?

Future Perfect's "Is it Web site or website?" states: Since the World Wide Web is a proper noun, we use initial upper-case letters, as we would with your surname, for example. As for ...
1
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1answer
704 views

Propagatable vs propagable?

propagatable vs propagable Which one is correct? I've seen both in usage.
6
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1answer
71 views

The spelling “ui” and the pronunciation /uː/ in juice, fruit, bruise, cruise, sluice, suit, nuisance, recruit, bruit

The words juice, fruit, bruise, cruise, sluice, suit, pursuit, suitcase, lawsuit, nuisance, recruit, bruit are spelled with ui and pronounced with the IPA phoneme /uː/. Full pronunciations from OED: ...
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2answers
47 views

spelling the word Resemblance with E

I came across 'resemblance' spelled as 'resemblence' in a set of Proficiency tests printed by Cambridge University Press. Since this spelling was kind of an eyesore, I looked it up and never found any ...
31
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2answers
18k views

When do you use “learnt” and when “learned”?

Is learnt UK English and learned US? Is it that simple? I’m used to using learnt, but my US spellchecker says it is wrong.
7
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3answers
1k views

Is there a reason why “gn” in “reigning” is pronounced /n/ while in “regnant” it is pronounced [gn]?

Both reigning and regnant are related to the same Latin noun, regnum. Why is the ‹gn› spelling pronounced [n] in the first word but [gn] in the second?
10
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4answers
3k views

Spicket or spigot?

I recently was making a list and for the first time using a digital device, typed in what I grew up referring to an outdoor faucet 'spicket' as into my iPad. My mother grew up in Utah and my father ...
0
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0answers
21 views

When is there a space and when is there a hyphen between two words? [closed]

Which one is correct "show room", "showroom" or "show-room"? Which one is correct "gift shop", "giftshop" or "gift-show"? Also "multi-media" or "multimedia" (multi media looks wrong.)? What is the ...
0
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0answers
34 views

Origin of “ight” [duplicate]

So many words end in "ight", such as "light", "might" and "sight". I am curious about this -- is there an etymological reason why "ight" is used for many seemingly disparate words? Thanks.
5
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1answer
4k views

Why is “night” spelled with “gh”?

I am not a native speaker, and I find it very interesting that night is written with gh. Why is it spelled this way?
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2answers
302 views

NORMINAL — normal or with nominal mistake?

At the very end of the live-stream for the nominal SpaceX STP-2 mission, the presenter places what appears to be a baseball cap onto the table. It reads "NORMINAL" (sic). My first thought was how ...
3
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1answer
41 views

How can enforce and reinforce have slightly different spelling and still be valid?

When I initially wrote inforce the dictionary told me that enforce was the correct word. However, when I wrote reenforce it told me that reinforce was the word I was looking for. So, I searched this ...
99
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14answers
79k views

“Email” or “e-mail”?

Which way of writing the word: "Email" or "e-mail" is correct? Both variants seem to be in wide use. If both ones are okay, maybe there is a difference in contexts they have been used (one is more ...
0
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2answers
3k views

“Web design” vs. “webdesign”

Suppose I want to use the word in a company's name, for example: ABC Web Design ABC Webdesign Which one is correct? Should it be one word or two?
1
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1answer
142 views

Why is the Turkish president's surname is spelt in English as Erdogan, with g?

I recently got puzzled as to why American journalists spell the surname of the current Turkish president in articles written in English as Erdogan, with g (see, e.g., this article in New York Times). ...
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0answers
29 views

Semicolon and Em-dash Usage in Technical Articles [closed]

First off, I am looking more for readability takes, not necessarily hard fast grammar policing. However, utter grammar mistakes must be avoided. The last couple works I have made for publishing (in ...
1
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0answers
26 views

Is it ok to have a semicolon after a colon or em dash? (or other variations)

I've looked all over but have not found this example. Can one use a semicolon after a colon or em-dash (or similar doubling up combinations). Is it a matter of style or is there a fast rule? e.g.: ...
4
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1answer
73 views

Historical abbreviation of 'multiplied'

I was reading Bayes' essay "An Essay towards Solving a Problem in the Doctrine of Chances" and noticed the following bit of notation The meaning of the n+1 term is clear from the rest of the essay (...
1
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1answer
34 views

I am trying to find out if there is a convention of correctness for writing Arabic proper nouns starting with 'Al'

The news channel 'Al Jazeera' writes its name like I have i.e with a space between 'Al' and 'Jazeera', in text but in the logo it is 'ALJAZEERA'. One come across variations like 'Alqaeda', 'Al-Qaeda', ...
5
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1answer
15k views

“s” vs. “z” in BE vs. AE

I have trouble understanding why some words change "s"-es to "z"-s from BE to AE and some not. For example: analyse -> analyze characterise -> characterize hypnotise -> hypnotize But: compromise -> ...
1
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2answers
152 views

Why does “inferred” have two Rs while “inference” doesn't?

Earlier today I spelled "infered" with one R and my handy editor promptly added some red squiggles. Acknowledging the error of my ways I added the missing R happy carried only writing my document. ...
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0answers
40 views

Tying. Is Tieing really that unusual?

When tieing two things together, e.g: Two distinct ideas, but with a common theme tieing them together Tieing shoe laces is easy. I have always spelt it with an ie. Now I am being told by ...
2
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0answers
25 views

Pre-requisite vs prerequisite

Looking up this on English exchange I couldn't seem to find a single source of truth: Instance 1 - "Prerequisite" in search: "Prerequisite for" vs. "prerequisite to" Instance 2 - ...
3
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0answers
37 views

First use of capital letters [closed]

The first latin script which consisted of both majuscule and minuscule letters (lowercase and uppercase, or small and capital letters) is Carolingian minuscule. It is a fact. But what is unknown to me ...
27
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5answers
10k views

What is the standard rule for using or not using hyphen and diaeresis on the words like reelect , reexamine, and cooperate?

I found that diaeresis is used on the word, reelection in the following sentence of the article titled “Rational Irrationality” in the New Yorker magazine (April 27). “This morning’s news that ...
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0answers
17 views

is it okay to start a paragraph with Due to? [duplicate]

Due to the severe foot injury, I was recommended to stay on bed rest for three months and also attend physical therapy to heal completely
37
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7answers
107k views

“Focussed” or “focused”? Rules for doubling the last consonant when adding -ed

Initially, my question was: is "focussed" or "focused" the correct past tense of "focus", but since this applies to a lot of words, I would like to generalize and ask: is there supposed to be a rule ...
2
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4answers
5k views

How do you spell 'hoo-wee!'

My dad used the expression 'hoo-wee!' a lot when I was a kid. (That is what it sounds like.) For example, if we were using the grill and it flared up he would say "hoo-wee!", and I love saying it but ...
2
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4answers
47 views

Prime-square or prime-squared? [closed]

I am not so sure which one is the correct spelling. When we try to say a square/cube of a prime, we should call it a "prime-squared/cubed" or a "prime-square/cube" number? It sounds to me that "...
4
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1answer
2k views

The meaning of the Middle English word “king” [closed]

Why was the word (?verb?) "king" used in this (page 63) Mk.2:6 part of the Wycliffe Bible? The King James Version Mk.2:6 But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their ...
1
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3answers
4k views

Nonsmoking or Non-smoking [closed]

Would one write that someone is “a nonsmoking so-and-so” or “a non-smoking so-and-so”? I'm not sure if the hyphen is necessary or superfluous.
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0answers
43 views

Spelling changes

There was a word I learned to spell when I was 11 in which there was a silent G. It is no longer used. Right now I cannot remember the word, but I am interested in finding out how to locate U.S. ...
-1
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1answer
88 views

The etymology and the Middle English spelling of “beginning” [closed]

This question is about historical spelling, but in my opinion the knowledge of the historical spelling relates with the etymology knowledge. The questions are: 1. Is the fourth letter in image 1 (y) ...
0
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0answers
37 views

The name of the letter, which is related to two English letters “gh” [duplicate]

What is the name of the marked letter, which in my opinion relates to the two modern English letters "gh"?
11
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3answers
29k views

Use of hypens with “auto”: autopopulate, auto-populate, or auto populate?

I've done a fair amount of research (like here), but I can't find any examples of hyphen rules with "auto". Microsoft Word doesn't take "autopopulate", but will accept either auto-populate or auto ...
2
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5answers
9k views

Should “japanese” be capitalised when used as an adjective

Which one of these is the correct usage: 1) Your favourite Japanese restaurant 2) Your favourite japanese restaurant (being an adjective in this case, it should be in lower case)
2
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2answers
166 views

What is the use of the double L in Llama and double A in Aardvark? [duplicate]

Always wanted a clear explanation as to why these animals had double letters at the beginning of the spelling. What’s up with that?
19
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3answers
1k views

What's the current scholarly opinion on the “minims” explanation for the spelling of “love”, “tongue,” etc?

According to the Online Etymology dictionary (as cited in this question How was the letter -u- written in Old English?): The substitution of Middle English -o- for Old English -u- before -m-, -n-,...
2
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2answers
139 views

Using a designer's name or brand name as a substitute for the product itself

Example: A character owns a pair of Sophia Loren sunglasses. Before going out for the afternoon, "She drew on her Sophia Loren’s, flipped her long mane back, and tossed him a cheeky grin." If I'm not ...
0
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1answer
58 views

“Sic on” or “Sick on”? [closed]

What is the actual spelling of "sic"/"sick" in a phrase like "I will sic my dog on you"? This is a tricky one to look up in an online dictionary, every match seems to be referring to an editor's mark ...
4
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3answers
817 views

Word/term meaning “conversion from one dialect to another”?

Is there a word in linguistics that means conversion from one dialect to another dialect? In most sources in which I've looked¹, the word "translation" only means conversion of one language to ...
1
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5answers
6k views

Why does the pronunciation of “U” vary in English?

The letter U is pronounced differently in different words such as Umbrella and Utensils, as well as when it is Used inside of words such as stUdent and stUdy. Can I please have a grammatical ...
0
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2answers
58 views

Is it deodoriser/deodorizer/deodouriser/deodourizer? In British English as well as American [closed]

British English would usually use "-our" and "-ser" and American English would use "-or" and "-zer". I don't seem to find an appropriate answer to this. Which combination is actually correct for ...
1
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2answers
53 views

Is it Decryptor or Decrypter? [duplicate]

I'm coding a decryption service and wondering which is the best name, Decryptor or Decrypter I had a quick look online and it appears -er and -or convert a verb to an agent noun, however is one ...
0
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2answers
39 views

Should it be “doxxed/doxxing” or “doxed/doxing”?

The Oxford Style Guide says, for example, that: When the final consonant is w, x, or y this is not doubled: tow, towing, towed vex, vexing, vexed However, it seems that doxxed/doxxing ...
56
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3answers
90k views

What’s the rule for adding “-er” vs. “-or” when forming an agent noun from a verb?

What’s the rule to decide whether you add -er or whether you add -or when creating an agent noun from a verb? Sometimes it’s -er: read > reader hate > hater hit > hitter But other times it’s -...
2
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2answers
674 views

How to pluralize surnames ending in short vowel then s?

I've seen on this board that these are the rules: for certain ending letters - which include s - to add es to pluralize, and add only s to the rest. The rules say never change y to ies. And of course ...
0
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2answers
504 views

When did Americans begin to use “practice” instead of “practise”?

I am writing an historical novel, and I try to have my characters speaking and writing as everybody did at the time. But I don't know when we in the US began to use practice as a verb instead of ...
27
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7answers
35k views

Why did “sceptical” become “skeptical” in the US?

Compare the following two Google Ngram Viewer charts for sceptical vs. skeptical in American English and British English: British English American English My interpretation of these charts is that: ...