129 votes
Accepted

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

I think the word you want is conveyance. It's pronounced something like kun-VAY-unss and means "a method or way of being transported". It is a valid English word, but it's slightly obscure and ...
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  • 34.9k
109 votes

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

Because so-called long vowels (a, e, i, o, and u, when pronounced "like their letter name") and digraphs do not require a doubled consonant to form the participle. Compare hating or waiting with ...
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  • 14.3k
81 votes
Accepted

Was "twelve" pronounced as "TPELF"?

TL;DR Your friend is incorrect. It's not *tpelf with p, but tƿelf with ƿ—Wynn—which was the Old English (OE) letter to represent the phoneme /w/. So twelve was tƿelf 1. Twenty was tƿēntiȝ 2. Two was ...
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  • 17.7k
70 votes
Accepted

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

TLDR The pronunciation of 'iron' in standard varieties of English is EYE-URN (BrE: /'aɪən/, AmE: /'aɪrn/) and not EYE-RUN (which is also a common pronunciation of 'iron' in some varieties of English) ...
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  • 17.7k
62 votes

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

The English language has no universal rule for when to double a consonant before the suffix "-ing". As evidence that there is no universal rule, consider the word "travel." It ends consonant-vowel-...
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  • 3,148
61 votes

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

You are confusing "Sever" with "Severe" Severe is definitely used as an adjective. It means: very great; intense. While, sever is a verb which means: divide by cutting or ...
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  • 3,107
60 votes
Accepted

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

TLDR The W in 'two' and 'sword' is silent because of a sound change that took place somewhere between Old English & Middle English. The change applied to words in which the W was preceded by [s, t]...
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  • 17.7k
58 votes
Accepted

The Ö letter in "Coördinator"

See Diaeresis: The diaeresis indicates that a vowel should be pronounced apart from the letter that precedes it. For example, in the spelling 'coöperate', the diaeresis reminds the reader that the ...
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  • 3,123
54 votes
Accepted

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

Beware of teachers who tell you that something is "never" true in English. Exceptions abound, particularly when it comes to pronunciation. Perhaps the best example is wind, which can be pronounced ...
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  • 108k
49 votes
Accepted

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

We form the plurals of regular nouns ending in the sound /s/ by adding the sound /ɪz/ to the word. So for the word bus, /bʌs/, we get the plural form /bʌsɪz/. In writing we represent this with the ...
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46 votes

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

I assume you mean conveyance, which OALD defines as [uncountable] (formal) the process of taking somebody/something from one place to another [countable] (formal) a vehicle The formal ...
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  • 17.5k
42 votes
Accepted

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

"Ph" is most commonly used in words that come from Greek, like "philosophy". The Greek letter that makes the "F" sound is "phi", written like φ. As for "Gh", most of the words containing it come from ...
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  • 2,046
42 votes
Accepted

What does web-mistress imply as a job title

While these are three unrelated words, they share some characteristics: all are produced by modifying existing words in particular ways that are fairly standard. You're right that a documenter would ...
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  • 9,409
41 votes
Accepted

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

The usual mnemonic in English to remember the ruling for this is represented by a fairly simple poem: i before e, Except after c, Or when sounded as "a," As in neighbour and weigh. Of course,...
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41 votes
Accepted

What is the spelling of `~`?

I believe the symbol is known as a tilde https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tilde The Punctuation Guide is a good source of information for English punctuation and its usage, including what each symbol ...
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  • 9,757
38 votes
Accepted

"the US." or "the US"

"US." is wrong. Initialisms are either written with full-stops (periods) between every letter or not at all: The U.S.A. The USA Shortenings are are abbreviations in which the end of the word has ...
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  • 72.9k
36 votes
Accepted

Does the notion of check word exist in English?

English is an "analytic" language: "a language that conveys grammatical relationships without using inflectional morphemes". Hence, the morphological forms for "The forest was dark" and "She walked ...
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  • 36.2k
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 ...
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  • 17.7k
30 votes

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

The word eating "eat" is "vowel + vowel + consonant". It is not "consonant + vowel + consonant", therefore rule 2 does not apply. Only the general rule of "just add -ING" applies. to sleep => ...
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  • 419
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 ...
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  • 17.7k
25 votes
Accepted

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

Assumption is directly derived from Latin assumptionem which does have a P, so it also has a P. Assume on the other hand is derived from Latin assumere, which didn't have a P. Other similar examples ...
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  • 17.7k
25 votes
Accepted

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

TL;DR The reason why the ⟨th⟩ in posthumous is pronounced /t͡ʃ/ (ch) is the coalescence/assimilation1 of the t and the following u. Explanation 'Posthumous' is made up of the prefix post- and humous. ...
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  • 17.7k
22 votes
Accepted

Spelling "brute force"

You have four examples due to how the words are being used differently in each case. The noun phrase “brute force” describes the raw strength used to achieve or get through something. For example: "...
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  • 336
21 votes
Accepted

Why do they use small van in van Gogh?

There's a long discussion of this point in the Talk section of Wikipedia. The upshot seems to be that the official Dutch convention (the painter was a native of the Netherlands) requires a separate ...
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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 ...
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  • 17.7k
19 votes
Accepted

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

The best way to explain why the same letter patterns are pronounced differently in different words is just to explain the actual historical reasons for it. You'll have to choose the timing and the ...
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  • 27.4k
18 votes

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

I have in fact heard (American) native speakers spell two consecutive U's out loud as "double U". There is no rule. Language is something to have fun with, and there is a wee bit of fun in saying "...
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  • 27.4k
18 votes
Accepted

Is "anyways" a correct word in English?

I disagree with @mstorkson. I believe that many teachers (including mine) would mark it as misspelled word, but it's actually debatable to say it's entirely wrong. This is what I found in New Fowlers ...
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  • 8,628
17 votes

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

It is mostly a matter of historical accident. From the outset English spelling represented a compromise between competing native, French and Latin schemata. In Middle English spelling began to be ...
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