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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2
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3answers
5k views

As a shortening of “bourgeois”, is “bougie” or “bourgie” correct?

Bougie or bourgie is used as a shortened, informal version of bourgeois used in African American Vernacular English. For example: The car he drives is indicative of his [bougie | bourgie] lifestyle....
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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?
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4answers
3k views

What does “randomically” mean?

I've just read the O'Reilly book Getting Started with Storm and encoutered the word randomically. I highly suspect this is a made up word, but a quick google found it in use here, here, and here. Is ...
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2answers
7k views

What does 'ü' mean in song titles?

In some song titles there is the letter 'ü', which isn't a letter in the English alphabet, but in the German. What does it mean? Is it some sort of emphasis? An example for such a song title would ...
27
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8answers
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+100

Why does “attach” have two Ts but “detach” only one?

The title says it all. We have two words: attach detach Shouldn't they be ...? attach dettach Or …? atach detach
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1answer
530 views

Why is “make do” considered correct

Why is "make do" considered correct? I am specifically not asking why "make due" grinds people's gears, how distressing they find it, or what they feel "make do" would ...
2
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2answers
83 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 ...
38
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2answers
37k views

Use of “f ” instead of “s” in historic, printed English documents

I was at a museum in London yesterday, and one of the items on exhibit is a document from the eighteenth century. It uses the letter f a lot where s should be used—for example, in Majefty. Did the ...
25
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10answers
110k views

How do you spell wifi / Wi-Fi / WiFi?

This is probably related to whether one should capitalize Internet or not. I am looking for the correct spelling of wifi when referring to a wireless connection to the Internet. I want to tell the ...
0
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1answer
52 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
139 views

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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0answers
37 views

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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2answers
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Strong /strɔːŋ/ → stronger /strɔːŋɡər/ - Why do we have to put an extra /g/ in front of /ər/? Is it a rule?

Ok, see this in the dictionary: Strong → /strɔːŋ/ Stronger → /strɔːŋɡər/ Why do we have to put an extra /g/ in front of /ər/? But sing → /sɪŋ/ & singer → /ˈsɪŋər/ do not adhere to that rule. But ...
0
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1answer
68 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 ? (...
0
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1answer
40 views

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.
2
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4answers
11k views

When did “Pensylvania” become “Pennsylvania”?

On the Liberty Bell, it's spelled Pensylvania. Likewise on plenty of maps from the colonial days. When did it become Pennsylvania (with three n's)?
11
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2answers
17k views

When should a singular word ending in “y” end in “ies” plurally?

Words like "sky" and "money" have "ies" as a plural suffix (i.e. "skies" and "monies") but other words like "monkey" and "Emmy" do not ("monkeys" and "Emmys"). Is there a rule dictating the use of "...
13
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1answer
64k views

When are 'tion', 'sion', and 'cion' used

I am confused when the spellings "tion", "sion", and "cion" are used in words that contain the "shun" sound. Are there any rules to help me understand when to use the correct spelling in a word?
19
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4answers
15k views

“Defense” or “defence”

Is the only difference that in USA they write it with s and in UK they write it with c, or is there anything more?
19
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2answers
37k views

Why is “fulfil” spelt as “fulfill” in American English?

In this answer, simplification is stated as one reason for spelling variations in American English. But unlike in color and favorite, the number of letters to spell the word in fulfil increases in ...
48
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4answers
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 ...
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4answers
1k views

“Naïve” yet “naivety”?

I am used to spelling "naïve" thus - "naïve". I am also used to Microsoft Word automatically changing "naive" to "naïve". Hence, I was surprised when it didn't change "naivety" to "naïvety". I then ...
21
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2answers
13k views

Adjectival form of “collide”—“collideable” or “collidable”?

I need to name an interface in a program I'm writing as being able to collide, but I've seen use of both collideable and collidable in projects with a similar type. Both of them look right in some ...
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5answers
3k views

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 ...
5
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2answers
719 views

New Yorker Dieresis Rule; prosaic, unionized?

There are lots of informal references to the traditional / "New Yorker" style of using diereses to disambiguate runs of vowels, however I have yet to find a definitive guide. See, for ...
29
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1answer
82k views

Is it spelt “naïve” or “naive”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “Whereäs” as an alternative spelling of “whereas” I've always wondered which is the correct spelling: "naïve" or "naive"? Are both correct, and it is just ...
6
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2answers
196 views

Use of superscript 'x'(?) as an abbreviation for 'yards'

I'm currently working with some handwritten notes that look like they could be quite old, or at least written by somebody who grew up a little bit earlier than I did. I don't really know when they ...
25
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4answers
5k views

Is IOU an abbreviation, an acronym, or an initialism?

IOU stands for I owe you and we pronounce each letter separately. But how do we classify that construction"? abbreviation: a shortened form of a word or phrase acronym: an abbreviation formed from ...
6
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2answers
6k views

“interactible” or “interactable”

I came across this when developing a computer system in an object-oriented way. That is grouping data and functionality which relate to each other into objects and give those objects names. Now, ...
10
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7answers
132k views

“Zoe” or “Zoë”: which is the correct spelling? [closed]

I have a relation who has named their child Zoe, on the grounds that “in English we don’t use the dots”, but they pronounce it like the second version. Of course I don’t want to argue that’s not the ...
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8answers
32k views

“Bald Faced Lie” vs. “Bold Faced Lie”

Which of these is correct? What is the origin of this expression? I've searched here on the exchange and haven't found an answer.
12
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4answers
6k 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 ...
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3answers
10k views

Are there any other English syllables without vowels, besides “thm”?

As far as I knew*, all English syllables have a vowel sound and all of them are spelled accordingly, except for "thm" as in rhythm and algorithm. Are there any others? And are there any etymological ...
1
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0answers
82 views

'MURDER“ or ”MURTHER" ? — Question on when distinct (archaic) spellings for words were used and when not

Salutations, I am currently writing a play that is being regulated to the very distinct notions of authentically replicating the English language and its archaic spellings during its usage in London, ...
1
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2answers
64 views

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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0answers
29 views

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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4answers
46k views

Why is the “a” in “cocoa” silent?

Not being a native speaker of English, one of those words that tripped me up is “cocoa”. Besides having its vowels inverted from “cacao”; it also is pronounced exactly the same as “coco”, whereas “...
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4answers
8k views

Why is it “argument” instead of “arguement”?

Why would you replace the <e> in argue before affixing <-ment>?
5
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1answer
33k views

One-letter words in English language

The original question that came to my mind was "How many one-letter words are there in English language?". But of course, I did some research and found out there are three: A – an ...
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2answers
296 views

Which spelling would be more correct: “Evictor” or “Evicter”?

Both "Evictor" and "Evicter" show up at Lexico.com. The "Evicter" page is much more substantial, though. At Dictionary.com, "Evictor" is the only accepted spelling. Google Trends shows that "Evictor"...
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4answers
49k views

I'm British, so should I take a rain cheque?

I want to write the phrase "take a rain cheque" and am British. Should I therefore use the British spelling of the word cheque, or respect the baseball origin of the phrase "rain check" and use the ...
1
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2answers
71 views

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 ...
2
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3answers
3k views

“Webpages” or “Web Pages”? [closed]

Sometimes I found it written as "WebPages" and sometimes it is "Web Pages" .. I'm confused should it be written as one word or two words ?!
28
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4answers
4k views

Why did the letter “o” disappear in the word “pronunciation”?

The verb pronounce has the letter o in its second syllable, but in the noun pronunciation, that same letter disappears from the corresponding position. Why is that?
0
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3answers
150 views

Why did 's' in 'wisard' change to 'z'

Wizard: a man in stories who has magic powers someone who is very good at something Origin and usage: The word wizard comes from the Middle English word 'wys' meaning 'wise'. In this sense, it first ...
1
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1answer
36 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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2answers
2k views

Are heteronyms unique to English and why do they exist?

Heteronyms are words with identical spelling and unique definition and pronunciations. For example, read (I have read that book; I will read that book), close (The door is close; I will close the door)...
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1answer
3k views

Why is “living room” two words, yet “bedroom” is one word?

Is there an origin difference or English reason why "living room" is two words, but "bedroom" is only one?
1
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1answer
94 views

Term for wordplay where a new spelling is made up for an existing word [duplicate]

I am familiar with homographs and homophones (and homonyms), but there is a different type of "word play" or "spelling play" I've seen come up as of recently that I'm trying to ...
1
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3answers
433 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 ...

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