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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
828 views

Why is it forbidden for English words to contain the same letter 3 times in a row?

I am wondering why it is forbidden for English to have the same three letters in a row, as in Goddessship? Why is it that words like Goddessship, frillless, beeeater, and skulllike either are ...
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0answers
36 views

Why does my spellcheck disallow themself, but not themselves? [duplicate]

When I type "themself" my computer browser spellchecker underlines it in red. It's an error. When I right click the word I'm offered 3 alternatives "them self", "them-self", and "themselves". Why is ...
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0answers
195 views

Terminal “f” versus “ff” in anglicized Russian surnames

Today, foreign names are anglicized more or less systematically from their original spelling: the Russian surname "Петров" generally becomes "Petrov", not the calqued "Peterson" or the more phonetic "...
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3answers
4k views

Wrot vs. Wrought?

I came across this word "wrot" while looking for information on plumbing fittings. For instance, the Copper Development Association has a page that includes the words Wrought (Wrot) copper ...
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1answer
442 views

Accidently vs accidentally [closed]

Is the form 'accidently' a correct adverb alternative to 'accidentally'? My kid got this as a spelling exercise and I never encountered the "short" form before. Is this a British thing?
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1answer
70 views

Phrases inside parenthesis and hyphens

I usually use parenthesis to add a sort of explanatory sentence in a passage... you know, the typical use (like this, for example). But then, I have seen in articles, and some other places I can't ...
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0answers
24 views

Are line references capitalised? [duplicate]

When I write, I treat references as though they are proper nouns; for example, Chapter 10, Section 10, Line 10, Page 10. (As opposed to chapter 10, section 10, line 10, page 10 - no capital letter.) [...
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2answers
111 views

What punctuation should I use? [closed]

What punctuation should I use here? Hester needs to be more grateful and focus on: her baby, Pearl; and her sewing.
55
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7answers
6k views

What happened to the “ch” in moschito?

Mosquito > Moschito > Mosquito /məˈskito/ — [mɒˈskiːtəʊ], [məˈskiːtəʊ], [mɒˈskitoʊ], [məˈskitoʊ] The name of this insect is spelled with the letters ‹qu› in several languages, including Catalan ...
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0answers
97 views

Rules for pronuciation [closed]

What are the pronunciation rules for words ending with the 's" sound ? I simply can not remember these rules and can not seem to find the answer in any of my text books. Can anyone by chance help or ...
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1answer
5k views

How to use rendezvous in its singular and plural forms?

While I was reading a book I encountered the use of the word rendezvous, this is originally a French word according to the dictionary. The usage in the book was plural followed by “are”. Let me ...
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2answers
40k views

Nana or Nanna? (When Referring to Grandmother)

So, according to the Oxford Dictionary (English Dictionary), Nana is defined as one's grandmother, and Nanna redirects to Nana. According to Dictionary.com (American Dictionary), Nana is one's ...
4
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1answer
48k views

Why is the plural form of piano “pianos” and not “pianoes”?

The rule says that if a singular noun ends in consonant + "o" then the plural form will be consonant + "oes". e.g. tomato => tomatoes. Then, why this rule does not apply to piano?
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2answers
3k views

Was Zink ever valid spelling for Zinc?

On the Genealogy & Family History Stack Exchange I asked What might 'pitt Zink' in 1873 South Australian diary mean? and the first answer I received more or less aligns with my thinking that Zink ...
2
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1answer
430 views

Word for words with close/similar spellings

I am working on Levenshtein distance and I try to explain the concept. Is there a word that means that 2 words are "close graphically speaking". I found homophone, or homogragh, but these words are ...
3
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1answer
129 views

Pagination styles in novels

While reading novels, I like to put a bookmark on a page where a sentence or a paragraph ends, preferably at the bottom right, which will enable me to just turn the page and put the marker. I can ...
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2answers
8k 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
144 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
947 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 ...
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7answers
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
313 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
342 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
729 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
259 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
304 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
113 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 ....
33
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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. ...
5
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3answers
3k 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
701 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, ...
2
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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 ...
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1answer
562 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
218 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
268 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
17k 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 ...
-1
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2answers
671 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
5k views

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

Is the chemical Sulfur or Sulphur?
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1answer
201 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 ...
1
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1answer
196 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
424 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 ...
5
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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
76 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: ...
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1answer
125 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
144 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
1k 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
2k 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 ...
0
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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 ...