78 votes
Accepted

Why does the i in "naïve" have two dots?

It's called a dieresis. It's used to show that the "a" and the "i" are not to be pronounced as a single sound. So it's pronounced something like "na-eve" and not like "knave" or with the "ai" rhyming ...
user avatar
  • 6,671
64 votes

Why does the i in "naïve" have two dots?

The two dots on the letter i are a French diacritic sign. The two dots in the French spelling naïf/naïve show that ai has not its normal pronunciation but is spoken as two separate vowels /a-i/. In ...
user avatar
  • 8,410
50 votes
Accepted

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

It's pronounced /spel/ in the audio clip. Phonemically, English has two bilabial plosive consonants, /b/ and /p/. Phonetically, these two sounds can be realized in more than one way. The relevant ...
user avatar
  • 26.8k
34 votes
Accepted

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

Short answer: The p does not get doubled in 'hope' because it's followed by the silent/ magic e. It's called magic e because it's silent itself, but it often changes the pronunciation of the preceding ...
user avatar
  • 17.7k
28 votes

How do I decide if an "i" is pronounced long or short?

There isn't a relatively simple explanation, I'm afraid. As you've pointed out, there are more exceptions-to-rules than than there are rules; however, there are some general guidelines that might help ...
user avatar
  • 17.7k
27 votes
Accepted

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

It's called spoonerism. Examples: A blushing crow -> A crushing blow A lack of pies -> A pack of lies A well-boiled icicle -> A well-oiled bicycle Bedding wells -> wedding bells belly jeans -> ...
user avatar
  • 17.7k
24 votes

Why does the i in "naïve" have two dots?

I think it is worth pointing out that perhaps the most common use of this diacritic to indicate diaresis in modern English is in the personal name Zoë, which is not pronounced to rhyme with "toe" but ...
user avatar
23 votes

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

In your examples rollback is a compound word consisting of the verb to roll and the preposition back. It is similar to turnoff which is composed of to turn and off. The past tenses are ...
user avatar
  • 65.4k
23 votes
Accepted

Why isn't there a way to say "catched up"? We can only say "caught up"

"Caught up" is correct. I'm not sure "catched" is ever correct. Merriam-Webster lists it as "chiefly dialectal".
user avatar
21 votes

Why does the i in "naïve" have two dots?

Basically the answer is that naïve is sometimes spelled with the diaresis because it is derived from French which spells it that way. It is actually very uncommon for native English speakers to spell ...
user avatar
  • 466
20 votes
Accepted

Why are "LOse" and "LOOse" pronounced differently?

𝑇𝐿;𝐷𝑅 'Lose' came from Old English (OE) word losian while 'loose' was taken from Old Norse around the thirteenth century. There was a process in OE through which s, f and th became voiced ...
user avatar
  • 17.7k
17 votes
Accepted

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

Tenses always apply to verbs, so to see where to apply it, you need to figure out which part of the compound (or hyphenated) word is the verb. "Rollback" is a compound word, consisting of the verb "...
user avatar
  • 306
16 votes

Why does the i in "naïve" have two dots?

In some cases in English, the two dots indicate an umlaut, typically seen on loan-words (predominantly from languages like German and Swedish), to indicate a special pronunciation of the vowel: ...
user avatar
15 votes

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

Because of the letter e at the end of the word hope. There is no e at the end of mop. There is the word mope which in its present participle form is spelled moping - note the single p. Similarly, ...
user avatar
  • 36.2k
14 votes

Why isn't there a way to say "catched up"? We can only say "caught up"

Caught is the 'standard' past and past participle of catch now, but it wasn't always the case. The correct past and past participle of catch was catched. The current past and past participle caught, ...
user avatar
  • 17.7k
13 votes
Accepted

"6-foot tall" or "6-feet tall"?

When a measurement is used right before the noun it measures, use a hyphen and the singular form of the unit of measurement: I saw a 95-foot yacht in the harbor. The 12-mile climb is too arduous ...
user avatar
  • 2,118
12 votes

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

The accepted answer by Damkerng is an excellent explanation, but I think it is also helpful to understand why it is pronounced this way, and as a native speaker of English I'd be happy to explain. In ...
user avatar
9 votes

Using ('s) for "is"

Yes, you can, but I would only write it if you want to transcribe an oral conversation. Which means, in spoken language it's common, but not in writing. By adding the possessive tag Brian points to a ...
user avatar
  • 191
9 votes

Why are "LOse" and "LOOse" pronounced differently?

"Loose" has probably always been pronounced with [s] - the Norse word that it was borrowed from is spelt with double "s". "Lose" has been pronounced with [z] at least ...
user avatar
  • 22.5k
8 votes

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

While @DecapitatedSoul's answer may be linguistically correct, my answer is much more similar to how @CowperKettle's describes things. It's based on how I learned English and phonics in a English ...
user avatar
  • 339
7 votes
Accepted

When to double the consonant before the suffix "-able"

If it's a short vowel sound and a single consonant, then you double the consonant to signify that the vowel sound is supposed to stay short: map > mappable hit > hittable cancel > cancellable ...
user avatar
  • 18.1k
6 votes

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

The general rule for noun phrases like this is to separate them by spaces. However, many* specific pairs of words have exceptions and are either written hyphenated, or are even merged into a new word ...
user avatar
  • 9,429
6 votes
Accepted

Why "i" is written with a capital?

The important information in this thread is from Etymonline.com. They get their information from the famous English linguist Otto Jespersen:, who said this The reason for writing I is ... the ...
user avatar
6 votes

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

Each English vowel letter has two main sounds, one of which is called the "short" vowel sound and the other of which is called the "long" vowel sound. The short vowel sounds are the sounds in the ...
user avatar
  • 69
5 votes
Accepted

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

You are right. English, when referring to language, the people, or the country, would always be conventionally capitalized. The text does use conventional capitalization for the first word of ...
user avatar
  • 17.5k
5 votes

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

The correct one is, as SF says, absorption, not absorbtion. Absorb has a B but when the suffix -tion is appended to it, the second B changes to P. So why does it happen? Why is absorption spelt with a ...
user avatar
  • 17.7k
5 votes

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

The important thing to understand is:      OK is written as if it were an an acronym even though it doesn't stand for anything but itself. So, the common practice in print is to write OK or O.K. or ...
user avatar
  • 27.4k
5 votes

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

You are, I think, confused by an evolving orthographic convention. Fifty years ago, when I was in school, it was an almost universal convention that the plurals of numerals and individual letters (...
user avatar
5 votes

Should a word always start with capitalized letter after a comma followed by space and double quotation?

Your output in the example is correct. However, this will cause problems with quotes like: "I didn't see an actual alien being," Mr Johnson said, "but I sure wish I had." You'll ...
user avatar
  • 152k

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible