Monday, September 30, 2013

Proofreading 2

    The first in a great mystery series, by 
Canadian author and genealogist, Virginia Winters

Canadian doctor and amateur genealogist Anne McPhail finds a murdered woman on the floor of the library in Culver's Mill's, a small town in Vermont. Jennifer Smith, the dead librarian was a gifted genealogical researcher who had been collecting information about her clients, and using it to blackmail them.

American and British English and spelling differences

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Doubled consonants

Doubled in British English

The final consonant of an English word is sometimes doubled in both American and British spelling when adding a suffix beginning with a vowel, for example strip/stripped, which prevents confusion with stripe/striped and shows the difference in pronunciation (see digraph). Generally, this happens only when the word's final syllable is stressed and when it also ends with a lone vowel followed by a lone consonant. In British English, however, a final -l is often doubled even when the final syllable is unstressed.[65] This exception is no longer usual in American English, seemingly because of Noah Webster.[66] The -ll- spellings are nevertheless still deemed acceptable variants by both Merriam-Webster Collegiate and American Heritage dictionaries.
  • The British English doubling is used for all inflections (-ed, -ing, -er, -est) and for the noun suffixes -er and -or. Therefore, British English usage is cancelled, counsellor, cruellest, labelled, modelling, quarrelled, signalling, traveller, and travelling. Americans usually use canceled, counselor, cruelest, labeled, modeling, quarreled, signaling, traveler, and traveling.
    • The word parallel keeps a single -l- in British English, as in American English (paralleling, unparalleled), to avoid the unappealing cluster -llell-.
    • Words with two vowels before a final l are also spelled with -ll- in British English before a suffix when the first vowel either acts as a consonant (equalling and initialled; in the United States, equaling or initialed), or belongs to a separate syllable (British fu•el•ling and di•alled; American fu•el•ing and di•aled).
      • British woollen is a further exception due to the double vowel (American: woolen). Also, wooly is accepted in American English, though woolly prevails in both systems.[67]
  • Endings -ize /-ise, -ism, -ist, -ish usually do not double the l in British English; for example, normalise, dualism, novelist, and devilish.
    • Exceptions: tranquillise; duellist, medallist, panellist, and sometimes triallist in British English.
  • For -ous, British English has a single l in scandalous and perilous, but the "ll" in marvellous and libellous.
  • For -ee, British English has libellee.
  • For -age, British English has pupillage but vassalage.
  • American English sometimes has an unstressed -ll-, as in the UK, in some words where the root has -l. These are cases where the change happens in the source language, which was often Latin. (Examples: bimetallism, cancellation, chancellor, crystallize, excellent, tonsillitis, and raillery.)
  • All forms of English have compelled, excelling, propelled, rebelling (notice the stress difference); revealing, fooling (note the double vowel before the l); and hurling (consonant before the l).
  • Canadian and Australian English mostly follow British usage.[65]
Among consonants other than l, practice varies for some words, such as where the final syllable has secondary stress or an unreduced vowel. In the United States, the spellings kidnaped and worshiped, which were introduced by the Chicago Tribune in the 1920s,[68] are common. Kidnapped and worshipped are the only standard British spellings.
  • British calliper or caliper; American caliper.
  • British jewellery; American jewelry. The standard pronunciations /ˈəlri/[69] do not reflect this difference. According to Fowler, jewelry used to be the "rhetorical and poetic" spelling in the UK, and was still used by The Times into the mid-20th Century. Canada has both, but jewellery is more often used. Likewise, the Commonwealth (including Canada) has jeweller and the US has jeweler for a jewel(le)ry seller.

Doubled in American English

Conversely, there are words where British writers prefer a single l and Americans a double l. In American usage, the spelling of words is usually not changed when they form the main part (not prefix or suffix) of other words, especially in newly formed words and in words whose main part is in common use. Words with this spelling difference include wil(l)ful, skil(l)ful, thral(l)dom, appal(l), fulfil(l), fulfil(l)ment, enrol(l)ment, instal(l)ment. These words have monosyllabic cognates always written with -ll: will, skill, thrall, pall, fill, roll, stall, still. Cases where a single l nevertheless occurs in both American and British English include nullannul, annulment; tilluntil (although some prefer "til" to reflect the single L in "until", sometimes using an apostrophe ['til]); and others where the connection is not clear or the monosyllabic cognate is not in common use in American English (e.g. null is used mainly as a technical term in law, mathematics, and computer science).
In the UK, ll is sometimes used in distil(l), instil(l), enrol(l), and enthral(l)ment, and often in enthral(l), all of which are always spelled this way in American usage. The former British spellings instal, fulness, and dulness are now quite rare.[70] The Scottish tolbooth is cognate with toll booth, but it has a distinct meaning.
In both American and British usages, words normally spelled -ll usually drop the second l when used as prefixes or suffixes, for example fulluseful, handful; allalmighty, altogether; wellwelfare, welcome; chillchilblain.
The British fulfil and American fulfill are never fullfill or fullfil.[71][72]
Johnson wavered on this issue. His dictionary of 1755 lemmatises distil and instill, downhil and uphill.[73]

Dropped e

British English sometimes keeps silent e when adding suffixes where American English does not. Generally speaking, British English drops it in only some cases in which it is needed to show pronunciation whereas American English only uses it where needed.
  • British prefers ageing,[74] American usually aging (compare raging, ageism). For the noun or verb "route", British English often uses routeing,[75] but in America routing is used. The military term rout forms routing everywhere. However, all of these words form "router", whether used in the context of carpentry, data communications, or military. (e.g. "Attacus was the router of the Huns at ....")
Both forms of English keep the silent e in the words dyeing, singeing, and swingeing[76] (in the sense of dye, singe, and swinge), to distinguish from dying, singing, swinging (in the sense of die, sing, and swing). In contrast, the verb bathe and the British verb bath both form bathing. Both forms of English vary for tinge and twinge; both prefer cringing, hinging, lunging, syringing.
  • Before -able, British English prefers likeable, liveable, rateable, saleable, sizeable, unshakeable,[77] where American practice prefers to drop the -e; but both British and American English prefer breathable, curable, datable, lovable, movable, notable, provable, quotable, scalable, solvable, usable,[77] and those where the root is polysyllabic, like believable or decidable. Both systems keep the silent e when it is needed to preserve a soft c, ch, or g, such as in traceable, cacheable, changeable; both usually keep the "e" after -dge, as in knowledgeable, unbridgeable, and unabridgeable ("These rights are unabridgeable").
  • Both abridgment and the more regular abridgement are current in the US, only the latter in the UK.[78] Likewise for the word lodg(e)ment. Both judgment and judgement are in use interchangeably everywhere, although the former prevails in the US and the latter prevails in the UK[79] except in the practice of law, where judgment is standard. This also holds for abridgment and acknowledgment. Both systems prefer fledgling to fledgeling, but ridgeling to ridgling. Both acknowledgment, acknowledgement, abridgment and abridgement are used in Australia; the shorter forms are endorsed by Australian governments.[4][80]
  • The word "blue" always drops the "e" when forming "bluish" or "bluing".

Past tense differences

In Great Britain, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand it is more common to end some past tense verbs with a "t" as in learnt or dreamt rather than learned or dreamed.[81] However, such spellings are also found in North America. The "t" past tenses may have been influenced by German past tenses; for example dreamt has an irregular ending found in no other English word, which is probably derived from the German geträumt.
Several verbs have different past tenses or past participles in American and British English:
  • The past tense of the verb "to dive" is most commonly found as "dived" in British, Australian and New Zealand English. "Dove" is usually used in its place in American and Canadian English. Both terms are understood, and may be found either in minority use or in regional dialect.
  • The past participle and past tense of the verb "to get" is most commonly found as "got" in British and New Zealand English. "Gotten" is also used in its place in American and Canadian, and occasionally in Australian English, as a past participle, though "got" is widely used as a past tense. The main exception is in the phrase "ill-gotten", which is widely used in British, Australian and New Zealand English. Both terms are understood, and may be found either in minority use or in regional dialect. This does not affect "forget" and "beget", whose past participles are "forgotten" and "begotten" in all varieties.

Different spellings for different meanings

  • dependant or dependent: British dictionaries distinguish between dependent (adjective) and dependant (noun). In the US, dependent is usual for both noun and adjective, notwithstanding that dependant is also an acceptable variant for the noun form in the US.[82]
  • disc or disk: Traditionally, disc used to be British and disk American. Both spellings are etymologically sound (Greek diskos, Latin discus), although disk is earlier. In computing, disc is used for optical discs (e.g. a CD, Compact Disc; DVD, Digital Versatile/Video Disc), by choice of the group that coined and trademarked the name Compact Disc, while disk is used for products using magnetic storage (e.g. hard disks or floppy disks, also known as diskettes).[83] For this limited application, these spellings are used in both the US and the Commonwealth. Solid-state devices also use the spelling "disk".
  • enquiry or inquiry:[84] According to Fowler, inquiry should be used in relation to a formal inquest, and enquiry to the act of questioning. Many (though not all) British writers maintain this distinction; the OED, on the other hand, lists inquiry and enquiry as equal alternatives, in that order (with the addition of "public inquiry" in a 1993 addition). Some British dictionaries, such as Chambers 21st Century Dictionary,[85] present the two spellings as interchangeable variants in the general sense, but prefer inquiry for the "formal inquest" sense. In the US, only inquiry is commonly used; the title of the National Enquirer, as a proper name, is an exception. In Australia, inquiry and enquiry are often interchangeable.[86] Both are current in Canada, where enquiry is often associated with scholarly or intellectual research.[citation needed]
  • ensure or insure: In the UK (and Australia and New Zealand), the word ensure (to make sure, to make certain) has a distinct meaning from the word insure (often followed by against – to guarantee or protect against, typically by means of an "insurance policy"). The distinction is only about a century old.[87] In American usage, insure may also be used in the former sense, but ensure may not be used in the latter sense. According to Merriam-Webster's usage notes, ensure and insure "are interchangeable in many contexts where they indicate the making certain or [making] inevitable of an outcome, but ensure may imply a virtual guarantee ensured
the safety of the refugees>, while insure sometimes stresses the taking of necessary measures beforehand insure the success of the party>."[88]
  • insurance or assurance: In the business of risk transfer, American English speakers will normally refer to life insurance or fire insurance. In British English, "assurance" refers to risk associated with certainty, such as covering death (death is inevitable), whereas "insurance" refers to uncertainty (such as a home insurance policy). In British English "life insurance" is used for a policy covering uncertainty (for example, a pianist's hands may be covered under "life insurance"). Canadian speakers remain more likely than US speakers to use assurance.[89] Assurance is also used for the legal names of several Canadian insurance companies, such as Canada Life Financial[90] or Great-West Life.[91]
  • matt or matte: In the UK, matt refers to a non-glossy surface, and matte to the motion-picture technique; in the US, matte covers both.[92]
  • programme or program: The British programme is from post-classical Latin programma and French programme. Program first appeared in Scotland in 1633 (earlier than programme in England in 1671) and is the only spelling found in the US. The OED entry, updated in 2007, says that program conforms to the usual representation of the Greek as in anagram, diagram, telegram etc. In British English, program is the common spelling for computer programs, but for other meanings programme is used. New Zealand also follows this pattern. In Australia, program has been endorsed by government writing standards for all meanings since the 1960s,[93] and is listed as the official spelling in the Macquarie Dictionary;[4] see also the name of The Micallef P(r)ogram(me). In Canada, program prevails, and the Canadian Oxford Dictionary makes no meaning-based distinction between it and programme. However, some Canadian government documents nevertheless use programme for all meanings of the word – and also to match the spelling of the French equivalent.[93]
  • tonne or ton: In the UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, the spelling tonne refers to the metric unit (1000 kilograms), whereas in the US the same unit is called a metric ton. The unqualified ton usually refers to the long ton (2,240 pounds or 1,016 kilograms) in the UK and to the short ton (2,000 pounds or 907 kilograms) in the US (but note that the tonne and long ton differ by only 1.6%, and are roughly interchangeable when accuracy is not critical; ton and tonne are usually pronounced the same in speech).
  • See also meter/metre, for which there is a British English distinction between these etymologically related forms with different meanings but the standard American spelling is "meter". The spelling used by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures is "metre".[94] This spelling is also the usual one in most English-speaking countries, but only the spelling "meter" is used in American English, and this is officially endorsed by the United States.[95]


    1. Watcha gonna do? People have a hard time with spelling. Spanish, unlike English, has uniform and very straightforward spelling, but it's amazing how many native speakers can't spell properly. I can't spell either, but if a word doesn't "look right" I have to check it and find out why. That's the secret to my usually passable spelling.

    2. Your spelling is exemplary CM. Mine is highly original.