Questions tagged [orthography]

This tag is for questions about the written representation of the English language, especially spelling and word breaks.

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29 views

Why using 'They' instead of 'You' in this sentence?

I have a question about this sentence I have found during my daily study rutine of English learning: Anyone have anything they'd like to add to the agenda? I don't understand why is used 'they' ...
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2answers
55 views

Plural of Hercules

I was reading a question in aviation.se and there were multiple planes. There were several planes with the designation of P-3 Orion, so it was worded Orions. There were several planes with the ...
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3answers
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How do I decide if an “i” is pronounced long or short?

I am an English teacher who has never really learned the complex rules of teaching pronunciation. Many learners here in Spain have difficulties deciding whether an "i" in a word is long or ...
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3answers
3k views

Why are “LOse” and “LOOse” pronounced differently?

I know that both the words are pronounced and used differently. I also found another question on this site: "Use of loose and lose [closed]", but that is about the usage of the word. My ...
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7 views

Should I use a hyphen in premodifiers referring to a time period? [duplicate]

As the heading says: Should I use a hyphen in premodifiers referring to a time period? That is, should I write A five-year stay A 60-credit programme A year-long ordeal or A five year stay A 60 ...
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2answers
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Why isn't there a way to say “catched up”? We can only say “caught up”

I am realizing sometimes when talking, I always say: Oh that guy catched up with me! But then I realized there is a way to say: Oh that guy caught up with me! I may think the grammar of "...
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144 views

Is it once-great or once great in the context of something of declining or former glory or status?

I am writing a story. A peer gave me the suggestion to change the "once great" to "once-great". Here is the sentence: He was tall and his body frame showed the signs of stoutness ...
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2answers
45 views

Which is correct? dubious looking + noun Or dubious-looking + noun?

I'm currently writing an essay. I don't know whether or not it's 'dubious looking' or 'dubious-looking' when describing a noun. For example, 'dubious(-)looking' form. I know the hyphen is used when ...
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2answers
21 views

Are sun glasses and sunglasses both correct?

My questions are: the words sun glasses mean the same as sunglasses? And both are grammatically correct? And both are still in use?
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2answers
158 views

Reason or rule for pronunciations [closed]

I am not a native English speaker and I am learning English. Sometimes I will get baffled by the pronunciations used in English. It is very difficult to pronounce something just by looking at it. ...
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1answer
43 views

Should you add an hyphen with un + foreign word?

I'm aware that you should add an hyphen in un-American and not add a hyphen in unstylish. How about when it's a foreign word and, therefore, you're creating a new usage? Talking to my parents is the ...
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1answer
47 views

When do I hyphenate compound nouns used as adjectives?

For example, is the correct phrase English-language journals or English language journals?
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1answer
71 views

Is the correct spelling “fulfil” or “fulfill”? [closed]

Which of the spelling is correct? “fulfil” or “fulfill”? I can find both spellings on the web, although “fulfil” is more common.
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1answer
87 views

Is “You rank 12 out of 50 participants” the way you should say and write that?

How do I correctly describe somebody’s position within a ranked list for a competition when their position is not yet final because the competition hasn’t finished yet and so I am showing only the ...
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1answer
2k views

Swapping the first parts of two words (e.g. Taylor Swift -> Saylor Twift)

I'd like to know the name of the process in English in which you swap the first letters of two words. I can't explain it well but see the examples below: Taylor Swift -> Saylor Twift London Town -> ...
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6answers
5k views

Why is there one P in “hoping” and two P's in “hopping”?

Hoping is the present participle of hope. hopping is the present participle of hop. Hoping has only one p while hopping has two. What difference does it make? Why is hoping not hopping? Edit: I ...
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1answer
45 views

How to tell the time in written form

It is correct to write four thirty for (4:30am/pm)? I do know that sometimes we will tell the time in that way but is it correct when it comes to writing? Or would it only be correct when we write "...
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2answers
108 views

Problems when add “s” to a nouns/verbs

My horse paints beautiful photos. {Here I understand why the "s" is used} These pigs usually cook[s] dinner. {Why the "s" isn't used here?} Your dog, cat and chicken get[s] along well. {Neither here}...
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2answers
3k views

Is it “mid-air”, “midair” or “mid air”

The bird feels the breeze all around it when it's in mid-air. Is it "mid-air", "mid air" or "midair"? I have seen all three of them in various context, so I am not sure if all of them are valid.
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2answers
4k views

Where does the apostrophe go in “participant(s) ratings”?

Which of the following sentences is correct? I'm unsure regarding the participant(s). Figures showing the distribution of the participants' ratings on the math tasks. Figures showing the ...
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2answers
3k views

Over think or overthink?

I saw both over think and overthink are used. Are they correct? Is overthink preferable or I can use no matter which one?
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1answer
752 views

can not or cannot

I used to write 'can not'. But a website like grammarly correct it to 'cannot'. I am confused which one to use?
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2answers
2k views

Is “goose bumps” one or two words?

I would like others to explain this to me. Which is correct? goosebumps goose bumps Thank you!
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2answers
44k views

“6-foot tall” or “6-feet tall”?

I have heard/seen people say/write "She is 5 feet 10 inches tall" and "She is 5-foot-10." But in formal writing, is there a convention? I found both "8-foot-tall" and "nine-feet tall" in online ...
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2answers
428 views

Hyphenation rules (rec-ommendation?)

Can you recommend me a good source of hyphenation rules in English? Something that would begin with explaining how words are divided into syllables, which I am not entirely sure about. For example, ...
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3answers
922 views

Why fiancé? Why “É”?

You usually use "fiancé" with "é" and not "e" as "fiance". Why? I know "É" is a letter of the Latin alphabet, and the word "fiancé" refers to mid 19th century: from French, past participle of ...
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1answer
70 views

0's: For years between 0 to 9 AD?

For years between 30 to 39 AD you say: 30's For years between 20 to 29 AD you say: 20's For years between 10 to 19 AD you say: 10's But what about the years between 0 to 9 AD? Is it 0's? Note: ...
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1answer
334 views

Is there a difference between the pronunciation of 'use' as a verb and a noun? [closed]

Is there a difference between how we pronounce: The verb "use" and The noun 'use" In other words, the transcription for the verb use is /ju:z/; is the transcription of the noun &...
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1answer
139 views

Letter “s” in a shape of a sail

Sometimes in archaic books and in different scrolls, books and texts in old games I meet the letter "s" resembling a sail (Wikipedia article here calls it the cursive form). Is it still used in ...
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2answers
162 views

How to cure bad spelling? [closed]

A friend who is a lawyer and reads a lot spells badly and it's affecting her practice. Spellcheckers are ok but they don't work in all cases, for instance when there are two words that sound the same ...
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2answers
2k views

How do I know when to start a word with “r-” or “wr-”?

How do I know when to spell a word with "r-" or "wr-"? For example, (wr)ap and (r)ap, (wr)ing and (r)ing. Both sets have the same R sound but different spellings. Is there a way of working out ...
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2answers
5k views

Use of “this” and “It”

In te next sentence: We use "this" only in the first question. The answer and the other questions use "it" Is correct? If the above is correct, then the following example: - Is this a gull? - no, ...
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3answers
9k views

Why “i” is written with a capital?

This is a long error that has run with me, so it is better to have to an understanding of why, I always used I in small letters, whereas I am always corrected that it is a capital I e.g I am not ...
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1answer
206 views

How to pronounce correctly final Y in words such as “city” or “story”?

I am interested in pronunciation of the letter Y at the end of the words, such as city, story, belly, penny and so on. Wonder what sound it denotes. I understand it is some kind of [i] sound. But is ...
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3answers
445 views

Where do we put the apostrophe in this phrase: the 90s burgers?

Do we say the 90's burgers, the 90s' burgers , or do we simply not add an apostrophe to it?
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1answer
9k views

a ten-year period of documenting…?

This book is the first volume and part of a ten-year period of.. This book is the first volume and part of a ten years period of.. This book is the first volume and part of the ten year period of.. ...
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1answer
87 views

Why do I have to use 's in some sentences? [duplicate]

For example: Brandon's house instead Brandon house. How is that rule named, I'm trying to improve my English.
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4answers
27k views

“Rollbacked” or “rolled back” the edit? And what about “double-click”?

The noun (and verb) rollback on Stack Exchange means to undo or reverse an edit. I'm not sure if there is a difference between the two, but that's how I understand it. Recently, I posted the past ...
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2answers
5k views

When to use double-t (“-tt-”), when to use a single-t (“-t-”) in spellings?

I have the following questions: Why do words like "Committee" have a double-t ("-tt-") while words like "satisfy" have a single-t ("-t-")? Is there a general rule concerning when should one use a ...
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1answer
15 views

Proximizable or proximitizable?

Math terminology: uniformity → uniformizable proximity → proximizable? or proximitizable?
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1answer
63 views

“Blätterkreis”, “Dornenkreis”, “Herzkreis”, in Englisch

I need to translate the three terms - in the heading - into Englisch. Blätterkreis: with Blätter I mean the leafs that fall down from trees. Is Leafcircle the correct translation? Dornenkreis: Is ...
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2answers
2k views

When we write, do we have to write “OK” instead of “Ok” or are both correct?

I'm confused when I have to write "Ok" in a writing, because I don't know if "OK" and "Ok" are both orthographically correct or just one is.
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4answers
12k views

Graham vs. Graeme [closed]

Scotish English is very strange (like some dialects of my language, Czech). It is not easy to read, speak or even understand it for foreign speakers, and also for (almost) native speaker (my teacher ...
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1answer
570 views

Why is “advanced english class” not capitalized in “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”?

In the following passage from The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Cbhosky, "english" isn't capitalized: There is this one girl in my advanced english class named Susan. In middle school, ...
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2answers
2k views

How to use the underline character in English?

I've been learning English for 5 years, but I don't understand when or how to use underline character (_) in English. Please can you help me explain it to me? Example about hyphen, I read here and ...
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3answers
3k views

Why does spell sound like “|sbel|” while in dictionary it is “|spel|”?

I listened to the pronunciation of spell in Wiktionary, and it sounds to me that it's pronounced as |sbel|—it sounds to me very clearly as a b sound. But in dictionaries, such as my Mac dictionary ...
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3answers
548 views

Why do “thermometer” and “parameter” have different syllables in different dictionaries?

For example: parameter See definition in Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary Syllabification: pa·ram·e·ter merriam-webster Dictionary thermometer noun ther·mom·e·ter thermometer ...
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2answers
14k views

Why does “life-saving” have a hyphen?

When I listened to a new program, I heard a word "life-saving" and I thought it was life saving without the hyphen. Medical community is outraged after a life-saving drugs. I have seen other forms ...
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1answer
59 views

Is this usage of abbreviation of “it is” correct?

I just complimented a user on how quickly he answered my question, upon which he replied: A lot of it's luck, really. I'd definitely not write it like that. Although using contractions quite ...
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2answers
1k views

A sentence may contain two nouns back-to-back. How are these nouns written?

A sentence may contain two nouns back-to-back. How are these nouns written together? I went to that book store. I went to that bookstore. I went to that book-store. Why can these two nouns be ...