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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What would be the etymologically Greek spelling of 'misogynoir'? [closed]

I wasn't too sure how best to phrase the title of this question, so hope I can better explain it here. For those who are perhaps unaware, 'misogynoir' is a term coined by queer Black feminist Moya ...
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2answers
7k views

Am I crazy, or is “underappreciated” one word?

I've always written "underappreciated" as one word, but as I'm typing this, my browser spell-check is trying to correct it to "under appreciated" (with the second suggestion being "under-appreciated" ...
46
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3answers
7k views

What is this famous example of the absurdity of English spelling?

A long time ago I read about this funny example posited by some relatively well-known author who spelled a word (I forget the word) in the most difficult way possible, but in a way that was totally ...
5
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1answer
141 views

Confusing 'r' sounds

In their kids song "Crazy ABCs", the Barenaked Ladies sing about words that start with confusing sounds: A is for aisle B is for bdellium C is for czar However, when the song gets to "r":...
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1answer
66 views

Word containing “my”, where the “y” is pronounced like the “y” in “yes”? [closed]

Word containing "my", where the "y" is pronounced like the "y" in "yes"? NOT a word where the "y" is pronounced like a different letter. They can either be in the same syllable or adjacent ones, as ...
5
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2answers
934 views

What is this word for a person more knowledgable than an aficionado? [duplicate]

A friend told me a new word for a person with a higher more sophisticated knowledge than an aficionado. It sounds like "koount ah shent ie". My best guess of the spelling is "countashenti", but that ...
31
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8answers
2k views

Usage of diacritics in loanwords

I was told here that not using diacritics (specifically the cedilla) is bad usage for those who know — I assume — their diacritics. Is that correct? Is garcon a correct spelling, in English, of the ...
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4answers
296 views

Why is English not constantly updated to better match written and spoken versions? [closed]

I understand that English has a lot of history and lots of weird corner cases come from French or German origins. However, even native English speakers no longer speak nor write identical to ...
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1answer
256 views

Differences between “how to do something…” and “how do I do something…”

"how to...." is correct ? or Impolite? I'm not really make sure What's the difference between the two.
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2answers
671 views

Is it ok to write the American spelling of words on IELTS? [closed]

I took the IELTS exam a week ago and on the way home I started to remember to have written 'color' on one answer and then it came to my mind: Do I loose marks if I write the American spelling of words ...
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4answers
1k views

In computing, what is the plural of 'child' in terms of inheritance? [duplicate]

For example: when using inheritance with classes in Java, I have a parent and two classes which inherit from that parent. Do I refer to these as 'children' or as 'childs'? In other words, what is the ...
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1answer
1k views

What are the rules when to use double letters for words that end with a consonant when modified both in British English and in American English? [duplicate]

Example of such words are: http://grammarist.com/spelling/cancel/ http://grammarist.com/spelling/travel/ As far as I know, at least in American English, words that have single syllable double their ...
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1answer
239 views

What is the word for someone who is “transcended”?

This word should have the word "transcend" as its root, and it should describe humans who have improved intelligence and physical abilities (power, stamina, illness resistance, etc) by way of genetic ...
3
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1answer
267 views

Esh (ʃ ) as S in English language? [duplicate]

I was reading a book, "Ancient accounts of India and China" which, I think, was published in the middle of 1856, and I see "S" was replaced by the "ʃ" symbol (in small letter s, it looks more like "f')...
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1answer
109 views

How to spell a word that sounds like mewnewsha?

It would fit into this sentence: ...important for the reader to overlook the mewnewsha of details and enjoy ....
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1answer
5k views

Is “ageing” the only exception?

have, having love, loving make, making take, taking give, giving hate, hating strive, striving Etc. When a verb in its lemmatic form ends with "-e" then its present participle omits that letter. ...
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3answers
2k views

Waling vs wailing vs whaling upon

There's a saying I hear used which I've spelled as “wailing upon”, implying someone besetting someone else to such an extent they are overwhelming that person. I mostly hear it used in ...
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1answer
617 views

Plural spelling of words ending with 'f'? [duplicate]

Why is it that in the plural spelling of many nouns (thief, leaf, life, knife, etc) with an ending consonant of 'f', the 'f' is replaced with a 'v' while other words such as 'chief' (chef, ...
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2answers
1k views

Why is the misspelling of “its” (possessive) so widespread? [duplicate]

It happens everywhere: blogs, forums, newspapers, ... Example: “Regrettably, the time President Trump spent sharing sensitive information with the Russians, was time he did not spend focussing ...
0
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1answer
386 views

Winter('?)s first snow

I'm having a hard time deciding if these get apostrophes. The beauty of winters first snow. The days final light. If either or both need the apostrophe, where should I place it, and why?
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2answers
196 views

Why isn't portmanteau spelled portemanteau?

Portmanteau, which describes words that are formed by combining two other words, was apparently coined by Lewis Carroll according to Wiktionary. This word has obvious French origins, and there is in ...
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2answers
236 views

Street corner, street-corner, or streetcorner

Is there a universally agreed upon way to refer to the corner of a sidewalk? My fingers immediately went to 'streetcorner,' as a compound word, but very few spellcheckers acknowledge this spelling. ...
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6answers
15k views

Are spelling, punctuation and capitalization part of grammar?

Before I start, I know this question already exists: Do capitalization and punctuation fall under the category of grammar? However, I would like to follow-up on it. This definition from Oxford ...
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2answers
575 views

Is “cant” a spelling or grammar mistake? [duplicate]

Is "cant" a spelling or grammar mistake? I know using "where" instead of "were" and similar mistakes are grammatical errors. But is using "cant" instead of "can't"? Why is it one rather than the ...
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1answer
4k views

What is the name of the chemical Sulfur or Sulphur? [closed]

Is the chemical Sulfur or Sulphur?
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1answer
175 views

dog-leg, dogleg, or dog leg? [closed]

I've asked this question about the path that a rocket takes during launch, or actually the ground-track of its path. If the rocket launching from Florida were to go into a polar orbit, it would have ...
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1answer
185 views

Is there a grammar rule for nouns coming from verbs? [duplicate]

I'd like to know if there is a grammar rule stating when the last consonant of the verb has to be doubled. E.g. why: "to cut" -> cutter, "to program" -> programmer, but "to read" -> reader?
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0answers
405 views

Hyphenated and non-hyphenated words that are homophones?

We know of many cases where hyphens are necessary to distinguish a compound word (man-eating) from a pair of separate words (man and eating). But are there any cases where a hyphenated word has a ...
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3answers
1k views

Macbeth or MacBeth (and other Scottish surnames)? [closed]

I get the impression that names beginning with Mac generally seem to be followed by a capital, and yet Macbeth doesn’t. Is that impression correct, and why the variation?
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1answer
75 views

“state's secrets” vs. “state secrets” [closed]

Is it state's secrets or state secret? I am always confused when I try to put " 's " to things . I have read answers about use of the possessive apostrophe but I am not sure whether this should be: ...
0
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1answer
118 views

What is the uppercase version of “McDermott”: “MCDERMOTT” or “McDERMOTT”?

How should "McDermott" be typed in uppercase? Should the c after the M be lowercase? MCDERMOTT or McDERMOTT Which of the above is right?
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2answers
142 views

Is this sentence well written?

Anon native english speaker here. I'm playing a game that gamifies life, and I'm creating an item that stands for coke (Coca~Cola). I want it to be rpg-ish, so I wrote this: “‘Whomever layeth sight ...
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1answer
995 views

“Both” or “bolth” [closed]

Should I use "both" or "bolth"? I have seen bo(l?)th words used and bo(l?)th are mentioned in various sources, but "both" seems to be more common. A Google search turned up bo(l?)th a Yahoo Answers ...
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3answers
1k views

Is there a universal format for 24-hour time?

This may seem like a duplicate but I didn't find the exact answer to this, and all related answers were opposite to each other and confusing to me. At my work (in the US) we use 24-hour format. I ...
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0answers
6k views

Why “controlled” not “controled”? [duplicate]

Unlike British English and other varieties, American English does not double the letter "l" in words such as "traveled", "canceled", etc. However, it does with the word "controlled". Is there any ...
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2answers
1k views

Wont - contraction or not? [closed]

The word wont - for example: 'I wont do it!'. Should it be spelled wont or won't, is there an American/English difference?
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2answers
547 views

“Here”, “there”, and “where”

Are "here", "there", and "where" morphological cognates, or just an orthographic coincidence?
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2answers
186 views

When was 'diahrrœa' most commonly used?

During what period in the history of the English language was diahrrœa most used as a variant spelling of the word? Whence did this spelling originate? I would like to contrive to play this word in ...
3
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1answer
135 views

Why in British spelling do verbs ending in a vowel plus l double the l when adding endings that begin with a vowel?

As we all know, Americans typically use dialed, canceled, councilor, cruelest, modeling, traveler, and traveling. However, British English usage is dialled, cancelled, councillor, cruellest, modelling,...
7
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1answer
288 views

When did possessive *it's* fall out of favor?

Here are two parts of the US Constitution that would today be treated as having spelling errors: No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or ...
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1answer
569 views

Is there a definitive way to spell out the “and” in “Rock and Roll?” [closed]

So I’ve seen the genre of music known as “rock and/or roll” spelled out as follows but have never been clear on what the accepted, proper, consistent way of doing so is: Rock and roll. Rock & ...
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2answers
2k views

What is the difference between “going to love” and “gonna love”? [closed]

Is there any difference between "you are going to love it " and "you gonna love it"?
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2answers
201 views

Is “deepo” an archaic spelling of “depot”?

In several places in Mark Twain and C.D. Warner's novel The Gilded Age, the word "deepo" is used. One such occurrence is the following: Dilworthy will be elected to-day, and by day, after to-...
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0answers
50 views

V-W switch in Dickens [duplicate]

As I was reading Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist, I noticed some irregularities in the spelling choices. Specifically, in several words beginning with a v, Dickens switched them out with a w. Here are ...
2
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2answers
252 views

Is there a word for people who deliberately disregard standard spelling?

These days, a majority of youth hate spelling here in India, not because they find it hard to grasp but because they think it is cool to deviate from standards and follow their own spelling whims. Any ...
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2answers
196 views

Daylight Savings Time - “Saving” or “Savings”?

The Israeli Ministry of Interior uses the wrong term for DST in their URL: http://www.moin.gov.il/Pages/summer-clock.aspx Summer Clock is a word-for-word translation for the Hebrew Term שעון קיץ, ...
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1answer
229 views

What's this use of the comma called?

Each group will receive one pie and one apple per child. Each group will receive one pie, and one apple per child. In the first case each group receives many apples and many pies. In the second ...
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2answers
262 views

How to make a Trump pee correctly

When editing the title to this question here on our sister site ELL: The "p" in Trump my childish inner self was tempted to try and make some sort of scatological pun on the "p" in the question. Now,...
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2answers
7k views

When is it appropriate to use “adjustor” instead of “adjuster”?

I found out recently that there are 2 different accepted ways to spell the word "adjuster". My question is whether or not there is a difference between the two spellings and when it's appropriate to ...
2
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2answers
2k views

What's the best way to bowdlerize an expletive but keeping the meaning understandable?

I was writing a blog post for my website, about the etymology of the word fascist, and I wanted to write about how it's connected to the modern slang curse word for "homosexual" which used to mean "a ...