Questions tagged [spelling]

This tag is for questions which a dictionary cannot answer concerning the written representation of the English language, especially spelling and word breaks (including hyphenation).

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78
votes
6answers
346k views

What's the difference between "center" and "centre"?

Which one is correct: examination center or examination centre? What is the difference between center and centre? Is the difference only in spelling? What is the usage difference?
63
votes
8answers
60k views

Why is the correct spelling "eating" and not "eatting"?

I am learning -ing spell rules from Woodward English. Can't figure out why is it correct to say 'eating'. Is the second rule not applicable here ? 2). If the verb ends in a consonant + vowel + ...
58
votes
4answers
14k views

"Conveince": A word commonly used in Pakistan having to do with transportation but no English person knows about it

In Pakistan, when we don't have any transportation then we say "I don't have any conveince". This spelling is wrong but I never used in written English so I don't know. None of my English fellows in ...
52
votes
6answers
49k views

How do I avoid misspelling "receive" as "recieve"?

As a non-native speaker and before the advent of the panaceas called spell-checkers and auto-correct, I used to often misspell words like receive ( as "recieve") and achieve (as "acheive"). I still ...
41
votes
4answers
15k views

"I can't login" or "I can't log in"?

Which is correct: I can't login? I can't log in? I'm confused if that's with a space or no space?
40
votes
3answers
18k views

Why is "iron" pronounced "EYE-URN" but not "EYE-RUN"?

I just noticed that the word iron is pronounced EYE-URN in standard Englishes instead of what the spelling suggests. I have always been pronouncing it "EYE-RUN" but I just checked its ...
38
votes
3answers
29k views

Why is a 'ph' or 'gh' used instead of an 'f' in commonly used English words like Elephant and Enough?

It's pretty silly. But then, this question has been left unanswered since preschool. English clearly defines an alphabet 'F'. So why is a 'Ph' used ? or a 'Gh' in words like 'Enough' or 'Tough' ? It ...
37
votes
5answers
3k views

Is "thru" for "through" acceptable? "Tho" for "though"?

I've been told that in American English, sometimes words ending in -ough are written -u: for example thru instead of through. Is this correct English, or is it simply a common error? If it is ...
32
votes
6answers
60k views

How to write a plural form of 'ex' (ex girlfriend..etc)

She's my ex But then, In my photo album, you see many exes/exs/ex's of mine?
31
votes
1answer
9k views

Why is the W silent in "sword" but not in "swore"?

The word "sword" is pronounced /sɔːd/ (AmE: /sɔrd/) while "swore" is pronounced /swɔː/ (AmE: /swɔr/). The W in "sword" is silent because of the following round vowel; the ...
31
votes
2answers
4k views

The Ö letter in "Coördinator"

I was watching some Pink Panther episodes on YouTube, and I noticed something weird. The word COORDINATOR is written COÖRDINATOR with an Ö. I searched for it in dictionaries and etymology references ...
29
votes
5answers
6k views

How are silent letters important?

Some words use silent letters in the spelling. I often ask myself: why are they used? English is a global language and it is changing day-by-day. Even if I have to believe they exist as they were in ...
28
votes
1answer
6k views

Was "twelve" pronounced as "TPELF"?

I came across this piece of text and I for the life of me can't understand why "twelve" is written tpelf. I have encircled other numbers that are strange. My friend who lives in New York ...
25
votes
2answers
3k views

Why is there a 'p' in "assumption" but not in "assume"?

I know a little bit about the suffix -tion. It is usually added to verbs. Examples: -domination (from dominate), -admiration (admire), -deviation (deviate), -ejection (eject). "Exemption (...
22
votes
5answers
7k views

What does web-mistress imply as a job title

I love that none needs my permission to take my code and do something cool with it, and someone else can do the same with that code. I love that an "end user" is usually only a few hours work away ...
22
votes
2answers
6k views

What is the spelling of `~`?

I searched ~ spelling and ~ symbol spelling on Google but found nothing. My dictionary doesn't contain ~ either. P.S.: is there any online dictionary that can translate symbols? I find I know almost ...
21
votes
7answers
5k views

"Its" and "it's" - how to remember?

What is a good mnemonic rule that an English learner can use to remember the difference between its (possessive adjective: a team has started its lunch) and it's (verb: it's raining)?
21
votes
3answers
7k views

Is it common to use "gonna" in written English and even in business English?

Gonna is a short form of going to. That sounds a little bit like slang. Is it common to use it in written English and even in business English?
20
votes
3answers
9k views

"severe" as a verb: is it acceptable usage?

According to the Oxford Dictionary, the word "severe" is not a verb, but an adjective. However, the word "severe" seems to have been used as a verb in the sentence below: She has severed contact ...
19
votes
6answers
6k views

You can't spell 'Slaughter' without 'Laughter'

...and yet they are pronounced very differently. /ˈslɔtər/ vs /ˈlɑːftə(r)/ For those who don't read 'pronunciation': Slaw-ter vs Laff-ter Similarly: Homographs (words spelled identically but ...
18
votes
4answers
9k views

Why do they use small van in van Gogh?

There seems to be two ways of spelling for ‘van Gogh’: with small v or big V. It may have some reason I do not know having small van in the middle of Vincent van Gogh, but why do they still spell ...
17
votes
6answers
6k views

Spelling a word with two U's in a row out loud

I would like to know how to spell a word with two consecutive U's out loud—like "vacuum". Do we say vee, ay, see, double U or just U, U, em? I'm wondering because if we say "double U" it might be ...
16
votes
6answers
6k views

Spelling/pronunciation of "gross" different from "moss","floss", "loss", "toss" etc

I am puzzled by the spelling of "gross". I always heard it pronounced as a diphthong, and my dictionaries confirm this. Now my English teachers always taught me that while a repeated consonant in ...
16
votes
1answer
2k views

"the US." or "the US"

When I said "in my field, people earn triple in the US. for the same work in China." a native speaker told me I should have got rid of that ".", is it a more modern style to refer to America?
15
votes
2answers
2k views

Does the notion of check word exist in English?

It is interesting if in English there is the notion of the check word? In Russian if we don't know how to spell a certain unstressed vowel in some cases we can find the check word ( проверочное слово )...
15
votes
4answers
7k views

When do we double the consonant before '-ing' affix?

My son is learning how to spell. He is doing a good job listening to sounds and working out spelling that way (which doesn't work for many words, but at least a lot of common ones), but although he's ...
15
votes
2answers
14k views

Why should the "T" in "T-shirt" be capitalized?

Wiktionary says that the "T" in "T-shirt" should be capitalized, with "t-shirt" an alternative spelling. Why is an upper case "T" preferred?
14
votes
7answers
2k views

Should I use diacritical marks?

Being a speaker of several European languages, I'm always getting upset when I see people are using certain loanwords ignoring accent marks: Sending my resume for your review; We went to cafe; ...
13
votes
2answers
94k views

Visualization or visualisation

Both of them are used: visualization and visualisation. Visualisation is more commonly used in UK. But, visualization is more common in US. What is the history of this word? Which is officially ...
12
votes
2answers
3k views

Why is the <th> in "posthumous" pronounced as <ch> (/tʃ/)?

I have always pronounced the th in "posthumous" as if it was the "th" in think (/θ/), but when I searched itd it was actually the ch /tʃ/: UK: /ˈpɒs.tʃə.məs/ US: /ˈpɑːs.tʃə.məs/ ...
12
votes
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 ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

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 ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

I before E- A good rule or not?

Everyone learns the I before E except after C or as sounded like A as in neighbor and weigh. But as an English Learner, how much trouble can you get into with this rule? What else do you have ...
11
votes
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 ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

Spelling "brute force"

I'm a bit confused about the correct spelling of the word 'brute force' (that spelling could be wrong since I'm not quite sure how to write it properly). Different resources write it in different ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

Is there a strategy Japanese ELLs can use to spell English words derived from Japanese?

I would like native speakers of Japanese, when writing in English, to use the correct English spelling of words that are derived from Japanese. For example, I'd like them to write "tsunami" rather ...
9
votes
2answers
7k views

Is "anyways" a correct word in English? [duplicate]

I have seen many people use "anyways" in chat and comments on SE. But I think I have read in many books as "anyway". Which is the correct word? This suggests that "anyways" is an informal language. ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

Words to Disambiguate Alphabet Letters from Others

Dictating e-mail/website addresses each one letter by one on a phone call is always challenging for me. I found that listeners often misspell certain letters like B/D/V because the pronunciation is ...
9
votes
3answers
3k views

"Backyard" vs "Front yard" - same but different

Not really a serious English question, more like a curiosity. I am wondering, why "backyard" is written as one word but "front yard" is written as two separate words. Equivalently, ...
9
votes
3answers
3k views

Are there any circumstances when the article 'a' is used before the word 'answer'?

Generally, we use the article "an" before the word "answer", because it starts with the sound of a vowel. But "a" is also used before this word: Above all things never show an inmate fear or ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

Spelling of noun for 'absorb' - 'absorption' or 'absorbtion'

Can anyone tell me which noun should I use for absorbing; is it absorbtion or absorption? I read some articles in which (in my opinion) both words were used interchangeably. Or maybe it was a typo.
9
votes
2answers
150k views

I think "Thank you for letting me knows" is incorrect. Am I right?

Microsoft Word corrected my text to read Thank you for letting me knows so now I'm a little unsure that know is correct and knows is incorrect. I usually work it out by the ‘which sounds right’ ...
8
votes
2answers
796 views

Irreproducible, unreproducible, non-reproducible or not reproducible, which one to use?

I was going to add a tag for issues of my GitHub repository, to describe an issue that would not be able to be reproduced. Here are the four versions of this word I can think of: Irreproducible ...
8
votes
2answers
671 views

Lite instead of Light

I commonly see lite version, lite cream, etc. When is it acceptable to replace light with lite? Is Lite already accepted as correct English or is it just an informal/incorrect spelling? Are there any ...
8
votes
2answers
5k views

When should I use "phantasy" rather than "fantasy"?

I am a native speaker of Italian, and since the equivalent word in Italian is fantasia, I write fantasy. A friend of mine told me that phantasy is also an English word. Considering that generally, ...
8
votes
2answers
965 views

Why 'receive' and 'relieve' have different spellings?

Why they have different spellings although they have same pronunciation?(Iam referring to the 'ei' and 'ie' part of that words respectively) I always get confused between them during exams.Can ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

Plurals ending in -es in words for which the last letter is not e

There are words, like potato where the plural form ends with es (potatoes). In which cases does a word have a plural ending with es, but the singular doesn't end with e? Is there a rule for that, or ...
8
votes
3answers
10k views

When is the suffix -tor and -ter used?

Can someone help me in understanding the suffix -tor and -ter? I am not able to understand it properly and I always mix the spelling like: "computor" when it should be computer "administrater" when ...
7
votes
2answers
5k views

What's the meaning of "that's you done" and what does "'s" stand for?

What does 's stand for in the bold sentence, and what's the meaning of "that's you done"? Could you also provide me with a reference? Harry entered Madam Malkin's shop alone, feeling nervous. Madam ...
7
votes
3answers
27k views

When to pronounce ‹s› as /z/ in the middle of words?

When do you pronounce ‹s› as /z/ in the middle of words? Is there any rule? I also saw there are some differences in articulating medial s between American and British accents. I already know the rule ...

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