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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0
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1answer
149 views

“Open source” or “open-source”? [duplicate]

Would you say both are correct? I have a doubt about "open-source", but I've seen it quite a lot. Thank you.
2
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1answer
662 views

When do I use æ?

I've always seen this letter but didn't start learning about it until 10 minutes ago. What I was wondering most was when to use it. I have found some conflicting sources about it so if anyone could ...
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 ...
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1answer
95 views

non taxable vs non-taxable [duplicate]

Is the correct usage of the non-taxable or nontaxable? I'm not sure what the correct use is. I want to say that it is with the hyphen however it ha become a debate that this could be incorrect.
26
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2answers
5k views

How did words like align get a g?

One answer for Is there an etymological explanation for the silent ‘g’ in “paradigm”? mentions that words such as align, apophthegm, arraign, assign, benign, campaign, consign, deign, design, ...
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2answers
3k views

Is there an etymological explanation for the silent ‘g’ in “paradigm”?

Whenever I come across the word paradigm, I have to make a small conscious effort not to pronounce the letter ‘g’. In Italian, it is spelled paradigma and each letter is individually pronounced i.e. ...
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1answer
42 views

When did 'some one' turn to 'someone'?

I was recently reading a book from sometime in the first half of the 20th century and I noticed that the word ‘someone’ was spelled separately as ‘some one’. Was there an official change at some ...
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0answers
66 views

Consistency. If I write 'recognize' with a 'z' do I have to write 'characterize' with a 'z' too?

I'm translating a book and need to keep the English orthography consistent. I'm a native 'British English' speaker. I know in British English you can often use either 'ize' or 'ise' endings. My ...
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0answers
457 views

Is “mediaeval” an outdated spelling of “medieval”?

I saw "mediaeval" on a Wikipedia page, and figuring it was a typo, edited it to "medieval", it was reverted as apparently mediaeval is the UK spelling. However, in all the dictionaries I've found from ...
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0answers
88 views

Examples and rules for one-letter change in spelling drastically changing pronunciation [closed]

I only have one example but it is striking for me as it showed how much I still do not know about spelling: breath /brɛθ/ vs. breathe /briːð/ Can you give more examples of this phenomenon? Are there ...
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4answers
528 views

If “cleanliness” is a word can I say something is “cleanly”?

As per the question, I might have spelt cleanly wrong...
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1answer
654 views

Reengineering or re-engineering?

I have seen both spellings of re-engineering used (with and without hyphen). Personally I prefer the hyphenated version as it aids with proper pronunciation of the word. Dictionary.com seems to ...
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2answers
103 views

If anonymous and anonymously are words, and so is onymous - why isn't onymously?

I need to write the following but apparently "onymously" isn't a word?... The user can post anonymously or onymously How can anonymously be ok to use - but not onymously? Can anyone suggest a ...
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2answers
1k views

What is the history of the spelling “imflammable” (with M instead of N)?

It's well known that some people find the presence of the in- prefix in inflammable to be confusing, and as a result, the form flammable has become more common over time. Although the spelling "...
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2answers
746 views

which one is correct and why “I will crack a joke or I will tell a joke” [duplicate]

This morning my bro told me “I will tell a joke” but my sister said “I will crack a joke.” I am confused. which one is right or why?
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2answers
111 views

Why is it necessary to continue to use the apostrophe in don't?

This is a case where afaik there is no existing word spelled "dont" which is confusing. Is there any evidence that this is becoming or will become acceptable spelling? More broadly, is texting and ...
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2answers
106 views

The term “ad hocness”

A strange compound of Latin and English. Reasonably common in epistemology and the philosophy of science. (Academic philosophers are not uneasy at creating new words when the need arises.) Questions: ...
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1answer
320 views

What is the proper usage of “high school” as an adjective?

I want to indicate that a friend's brother is in high school. For example, I was not close with my friend's high-school brother. Is this construction correct? Should it be high-schooler brother ...
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2answers
279 views

Uncataloged vs Uncatalogued?

I've googled around and is there a difference between these two spellings? Are both accepted. My initial instinct was that the first spelling is incorrect, but appears to have some usage.
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2answers
80 views

Could this use of “awhile” in a 1882 book be a mistake?

I found the following sentence in John Payne's translation of The Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night: So, when awhile of the night was past, he entered [...] I think I understand the ...
2
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3answers
658 views

Which is correct: “eucharistic” or “Eucharistic”? Or is there no hard rule? [closed]

Recently I have been writing a question at https://christianity.stackexchange.com. I have noticed that browser underlines word "eucharistic". As I am neither English nor catholic, I do not know any ...
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1answer
42 views

The correct way to refer to a drop list on a computer window?

For example: Type in the description for the event (or use the droplist to choose one of the predefined choices). My spellchecker is offering: drop list drop-list Isn't droplist valid?
2
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1answer
602 views

Defense vs. Defence in Canadian English

I recently came across this spelling of "defense/ce" in a Canadian newspaper: Canada is a close U.S. military ally and the top U.S. export market, more than the U.K., Japan and Germany combined. It ...
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0answers
16 views

Why is high spelled that way? [duplicate]

Why is "high" pronounced "hiy" but is not spelled as the latter, but the former? Wouldn't "high" be read as "heeg-h" or "haig-h"? The other possible duplicate's examples all have a "t" prefixing, ...
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1answer
69 views

I'm looking for the spelling of the word which is pronounced [cashay] [closed]

I'm looking for the spelling of the word which is pronounced [cashay] and means "a desired status". eg. "being knowledgeable in popular TV shows has a certain [cashay] among teenagers today."
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2answers
172 views

Fractions without slash on road signs

According to the UK Department for Transport Traffic Signs Manual, distances in fractions of miles are written without the dividing line or slash on traffic signs: What is the linguistic (i.e. ...
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1answer
1k views

curios vs curious

Is the spelling "curios" acceptable? Someone has given the title "The curios case of ..." for his talk (it does not follow by Benjamin Button!). At first, I thought that it is a misspell but after ...
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1answer
99 views

Alternate spelling of maximize & minimize [duplicate]

So I was writing a document for a piece of coursework and I started to struggle for the right words when I found this: You can spell 'maximise' as opposed to 'maximize'. The word 'maximalize' exists,...
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0answers
43 views

Must or should you use a hyphen in *Turing-complete* and *Turing-completeness?* [duplicate]

Here's quite a good general answer of when and how to hyphenate. This makes me believe, that Turing-complete is correct, even though most people are not writing it this way. However, Turing-...
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1answer
64 views

Why are there different vowels in the words “podiatry, podium” and “pedicure, pedestrian”?

There are some words like "podiatry, podium" and "pedicure, pedestrian" which are etymologically cognate and very close in their semantics. At least, the first morpheme in all of them is the same. Why,...
2
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1answer
51 views

Older English Term

My question is about a word I heard the other day in an audio book. Phonetically, it sounded like "SAW-sir-us" and had to do with a soft souind of the wind, or a soft wooshing sound. I believe it's ...
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2answers
384 views

Is “Pre-Raphaelite” capitalized? [closed]

Is the art term "Pre-Raphaelite" capitalized or is it spelled "pre-Raphaelite"? What is the general policy for the orthography of "pre-"? For example, The Pre‑Raphaelites emphasized attention to ...
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1answer
5k views

Non-existing or nonexisting [closed]

What is correct in English, non-existing or nonexisting? Searching sources on Google doesn't help much as both variants are widely present there. Onelook Dictionary Search doesn't show much about ...
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4answers
2k views

Who changed the way vacumn was spelled 40 years ago?

I noticed Robin Michael, who is on this site, stated she learned to spell vacumn as did I in school around 40 years ago. I always scored the highest in my English class and won spelling bees back then....
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1answer
27 views

Comma needed when applying these 3 adjectives to a noun being introduced? [duplicate]

Copyediting this sentence: Create a new, integrated and dynamic platform I'm unsure if the comma after "new" is needed or not, or if one should go between "integrated and dynamic". Is the quoted ...
2
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1answer
117 views

spelling change from verb form to noun form [duplicate]

Is there a reason why the verb is ABSORB but in the noun form the B becomes a P---ABSORPTION?
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2answers
1k views

Are there words other than “friend” where “ie” is pronounced as /ɛ/ (“short e”)?

Are there any words in English other than friend where the spelling "ie" corresponds to the "short e" sound /ɛ/?
3
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1answer
241 views

The pronunciation of final “s”

(First question ever.) Fellow friends, I've stumbled upon a weird quirk in this language whose spelling-pronunciation correspondence at times works in mysterious ways. How am I to know for sure ...
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3answers
391 views

The curious case of “UChi” and its pronunciation

The Free Dictionary tells me that UCHI is the acronym for The University of Chicago. But if that were the case, shouldn't it be TUOC? I visited the official university website and it says said Our ...
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0answers
109 views

Why does American English spell center, theater and fiber, but not spell “appel, middel and titel”? [closed]

Why does American English spell center, theater and fiber, but not spell "appel, middel and titel" ? Did Noah Webster never think about this question in his spelling reform?
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1answer
255 views

Why is the spelling of “company” different from the pronunciation?

My students regularly pronounce the word "company" with [o] in the first syllable. Why do we pronounce [ʌ] in this syllable? but write "o"? Thank you.
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3answers
2k views

Why is cat spelt with a 'c' while kitten is spelt with a 'k'?

On the one hand I would expect these words to come from the same roots, and yet one is spelt differently from the other. I've encountered this phenomenon in a few other words as well (revoke and ...
0
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3answers
116 views

Trade marks or trademarks?

What is the correct format to use when referring to trademarks in British English? Is "trademarks" generally preferable? I've seen both used in different contexts, the UK GOV page uses "trade marks", ...
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2answers
1k views

The use of hyphen in “twentieth-first-century reader” and “twentieth-first century reader” [closed]

Which variant is correct: "twentieth-first-century reader" or "twentieth-first century reader"? Is the use of the second hyphen in the first example a matter of taste or not?
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2answers
719 views

Would you please explain to me the morphology of the word retroviral?

I cannot understand the morphology of the word retroviral. is "re" the prefix? I think the prefix might be retro, is that true? is "al the suffix? I am assuming that "viral" is the root, is ...
4
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1answer
267 views

Notepad++ insists “dependancy” is the correct spelling, while Google Chrome insists it's “dependency”. Who's right?

So I started off using dependency in a text file I was making in Notepad++, and then corrected to dependancy when the red underlining appeared. However, going to Google Chrome, the red underlining ...
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1answer
146 views

who(m):whose::who(m)ever:?

I am actually asking about the spelling of this word, not whether it exists... which in fact makes it rather difficult to write about. I will spell it as "whoever's" for the purpose of explaining the ...
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4answers
281 views

Seeking etymological explanation of card game Euchre based on its spelling

Am seeking etymological explanation how, Euchre, the United States’ most popular card game in the late 19th century, might have come to be spelled in that manner. It is speculated that the game ...
1
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1answer
185 views

The usage of “…that one might assume” [closed]

I have a question about the following sentence. In the (A) option, I'm aware that's a classical "as .... as you assume". But my main confusion is that (B) option seems really legit to me gramatically. ...
1
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2answers
419 views

Pronunciation and syllables of pre-Modern English “belewe”?

I know the word "belewe" from traditional astronomy as a precursor to the phrase "blue moon", also known as the "betrayer" thirteenth moon in one of every three years that would disrupt a lunar ...