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
77 views

Is “pronunciable” or “pronounceable” more correct, considering etymology?

The former seems more natural to me, and is personally what I've used, but the latter is easier to pronounce.
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1answer
132 views

Why did the “-re” spelling persist in the British spelling of some words?

The -re ending in British English spelling derives from French -re. However, most French loanwords originally ending in -re in Old/Middle French or Anglo-Norman had their spelling changed to -er in ...
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2answers
190 views

-t- and -tt- in present participle and past participle of words

Why present participle and past participle of some verbs have -tt- and others have -t-? Examples: accept -> accepted, interpret -> interpreted, elicit -> elicited have -t-. Admit -> admitted, submit ...
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1answer
146 views

Why some words ending in -ke become -cable (and/or -cative), while others become -kable (or -keable)

Today I learnt that revoke + able would make revocable. What's the reasoning for this? Are there any other examples like this?
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2answers
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Should I say “One-Click RemovER” or “One-Click RemovAL”?

I'm building a software and am wondering if I should say "remover" or "removal" for its name. What is the correct way to describe the process? "One Click Color Removal" or "One Click Color Remover"?
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1answer
72 views

What is the proper way to spell and pronounce the name Yoanna or some certain names?

My name is "Yoanna" but I am not sure of how to pronounce or spell it properly in English. It is derived from "Joanna". Should I write it "Joanna" and pronounce it "Yoanna" or do I stick with "Yoanna" ...
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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, ...
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2answers
3k views

Is it CoViD? Or COVID? Covid? How should the word be spelled?

I have seen it spelled COVID-19, but I have also seen Covid-19. In addition, I believe I have seen CoViD-19, capitalising only the first letter of each word from which it was abbreviated (for it isn't ...
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12 views

What is the correct spelling of two fold? [duplicate]

Two fold, twofold, or two-fold: which one is the best option?
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2answers
59 views

Question on spelling “two drink minimum” (two-word adjectives) [duplicate]

Due to an argument, I must ask: Is it "two-drink minimum" or "two drink minimum"? Are both valid? To me, the latter feels wrong because it has neither plural on "drink" nor the dash/hyphen to imply ...
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0answers
59 views

the plural of the name of the letter e is ees [duplicate]

According to the wikipedia article of letter e The plural of the name of the letter e is ees (the plural of the letter itself is rendered E's, Es, e's, es). Therefore, is ees then a regular ...
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2answers
289 views

Which version of English is most common in Switzerland?

Since I'm from South Africa (a former British colony) and attended a British school, I mostly write English in a British way. Given that there are also Americans in Switzerland, one also comes across ...
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1answer
112 views

Why is “phony” spelled with a ph?

Who decided to spell “phony” or “phoney” that way and why? Usually, a “ph” can be traced back to a Greek φ (phi), but not so here. Wiktionary says it may come from “fawney”, with no Greek in sight. ...
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1answer
41 views

Is my StackExchange-Description written correctly? [closed]

This is my profile-description of the StackExchange-Site: "Dösbaddel" is a (North-)German word for "Dummkopf" which probably means "fool" in English. Is it written properly or do I need to insert ...
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2answers
191 views

How is 'compound noun' defined in CGEL?

This question is specifically about The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language by Huddleston and Pullum. Here's CGEL's definition of word: In order to avoid possible misunderstanding we will ...
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1answer
143 views

When did spelling “-ic” words “-ick” start/stop being popular?

I've been reading Gulliver's Travels(1726) and noticed almost all words that we commonly spell ending "-ic" are instead spelt "-ck" such as publick or politick. Researching online I can't find any ...
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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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0answers
32 views

Determine the difficulty of spelling a word

Is there a formula or a method to determine the spelling difficulty of a word? For example, Cat would be 1, appendectomy would be would be a 5, etc.?
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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, ...
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0answers
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Writing letter name pronunciations in a simple way [duplicate]

Short version, I want to fill in this list of letter names suitable for use in dialog: ?, bee, cee, dee, eee?, eff, gee, aitch, eye, jay, kay, ell, em, en, oh, pee, queue/cue?, arr, ess, tee, you/yew?,...
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Lock picking, lockpicking, or lock-picking: Which is correct to use? [duplicate]

I am trying to identify which usage is correct or most common in American English: lock picking, lockpicking, or lock-picking. I found no results in Merriam-Webster online, and data from Google Ngram ...
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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 ...
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1answer
77 views

Should the first instance of an author-made word in a work use an accent mark? [closed]

If an author makes up proper nouns for their text, for example, Bilgebauth, should the very first instance in the text be typeset with an accent: Bilgebáuth to inform the reader of the proper stress ...
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1answer
132 views

Is “swap” an accepted alternate spelling for “swab” in Australian English?

A client from Australia sent us some documents that pretty consistently use "alcohol swap" to describe disinfecting wipes. So no, this is not a "what do I use if I don't have gin" type of situation; ...
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1answer
54 views

Capitalizing the first letter of each word in letter greeting [closed]

I have searched for an answer on the site, but all the questions I have found (e.g. this one) seem to be less general. Assuming that I'm writing a cover letter to join a team working on a project ...
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0answers
65 views

Macroregional or Macro-Regional?

I have searched for the correct spelling of "macroregional / macro-regional" on the Internet, but there are used both variants (sometimes even on the same website). Wiktionary spells it as "...
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0answers
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Is “anymore” a word? [duplicate]

Quite often when I type the word "anymore" in software featuring built-in spell check, I get the following kind of warning: (this one is courtesy of TortoiseGit). i.e., the "anymore" word gets ...
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2answers
93 views

Which is a more common way, 10+ or 10 then + as superscript?

I don't know which shortened form of "10 or more" is more appropriate, is it 10+ or 10+ (i.e. with the plus sign as superscript). What do you think? Extra question, when do we use superscript in ...
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1answer
222 views

Hyphenate wrap-around porch? [duplicate]

I do not know if it is correct to use a hyphen between the words wrap, and around, in describing a porch that wraps around a house.
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3answers
794 views

Why is ‘Earth’ often spelt with a lowercase e, even when referring to the planet?

The word earth has several meanings; the most central one is ‘soil, dirt’, that thing we walk on when we’re outside. It’s also used as a name for the planet we live on. The Lexico definition for this ...
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1answer
86 views

Should a semicolon be used before both a coordinating conjunction and a conjunctive adverb?

Please see: http://academics.smcvt.edu/writingctr/semicolons.htm for reference. Now I understand that a semicolon could be used before a conjunctive adverb (eg: also, furthermore, therefore, etc..) ...
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1answer
60 views

Is there a Word to describe Words that have Differing Masculine and Feminine Forms?

Granted that English has few such words, blond/blonde and fiancé/fiancée are the only ones that immediately come to mind. Apart from calling them "words with gender-specific forms", the closest I've ...
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1answer
823 views

Why does the word “school” contain an 'h'?

Considering the low prevalence of words in English written with the letter combination "sch", why is the word "school" written the way it is, rather than simply "scool"? As far as I could tell, the ...
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2answers
233 views

Spelling of helium vs beryllium

Why is one of those spelled with a single L and not the other? For the etymology of Beryllium name it's unclear but could be either Greek or Latin, and Helium is named after Helios (so Greek here).
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1answer
115 views

Rase: another spelling of raze (literary) [closed]

Is the spelling using s as opposed to z really literary as the Microsoft® Encarta® 2009 purportedly explains? Raze 1. completely destroy place: to destroy or level a building or settlement ...
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1answer
46 views

What is it called when a prefix moved back for alphabetic sorting purposes?

I have seen this many times, but I am not sure what to call this. For example, the People's Republic of China is often written as China, People's Republic of. Thanks in advance!
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2answers
3k views

How did “ordnance” lose the “i”?

All the dictionaries and etymology sites I've checked say that the word ordnance, meaning weapons and ammunition, was derived from ordinance, which means a regulation or law. Etymonline says that the ...
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0answers
32 views

Comma - American versus British, Really? [duplicate]

So, from my writing infancy, my High School Teacher Mom taught me never to place a comma before the conjunction in any list of more than 2 things and yet there seems to be quite some debate about it, ...
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2answers
99 views

Can “either” be used as an adverb, and if so does it require, allow, or prohibit the use of a comma when so used?

Can either be used as an adverb, and if so, does it always take a comma when it is? And is the following statement correct in congruence with my question? I believe there is some mistake that I don't ...
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2answers
60 views

regarding the correct/incorrect use of the comma [duplicate]

There is a building which is taller than all others known as the Burj Khalifa. Is a comma necessary after "others", which makes the sentence: There is a building which is taller than all others, ...
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1answer
96 views

What's the proper plural for file extensions? [duplicate]

I have one .msi. Then I get another. Do I now have: two .msis or two .msi's or two '.msi's or something else?
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2answers
1k views

“One of my friends'” or “One of my friends's”? [closed]

When specifying possession, my understanding is that one adds an apostrophe if modifying a plural ending with an 's', or adds apostrophe followed by an s if not. How does one specify possession of one ...
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0answers
71 views

What is the correct use of hyphens and capitals in “Big Brother style pop competition”? [duplicate]

Not sure it technically should have any, but a Big Brother style pop competition feels like quite a mouthful as it is so I’m wondering whether hyphens might help. Also want to check the ...
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3answers
5k views

Why is there an extra “t” in Lemmatization?

When we say : Specify, it becomes Specification (no t) Value, it becomes Valuation (no t) Custom, it becomes Customization (no t) Lemma is a code used in programming, to describe the ...
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1answer
192 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 ...
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1answer
3k 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
59 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 ...
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1answer
474 views

How did “Papa” become “Pope”?

Pope, according to Etymonline is from: Old English papa (9c.), from Church Latin papa "bishop, pope" (in classical Latin, "tutor"), from Greek papas "patriarch, bishop," ...
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0answers
179 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.
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2answers
2k 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 ...

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