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Friday, December 13, 2019

Is the spelling ANZAC, Anzac, or anzac?

The word ANZAC is an acronym for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. An acronym expectedly consists of the capitals for each word. Interestingly, we also have Anzac, which has an initial capital to refer to people, places, or other uses, other than the specific Corps. For example Anzac Day, Anzac biscuits and the Anzacs.

Spelling the word anzac using only lower case is a spelling error.

Interestingly, in Microsoft Word if you misspell ANZAC, the capitalised version will not be suggested, but only the version with the initial capital. In fact Microsoft Word will even autocorrect a misspelled capitalised variation of ANZAC, to be the word Anzac, with the initial capital letter.

Kelvin Eldridge
The preferred Australian English spelling.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Is the spelling nightime, nighttime, night time, or night-time?

A common issue with spelling is whether two words should be put together without a space (known as a compound word), include a space, or the words hyphenated. Sometimes words evolve over time starting as separated, then hyphenated and finally joined together.

A check of Google for Australian sites ending in .au, returns 1.76 million results for nighttime, 3.88 million results for night time (which includes night-time) and 101,000 for nightime.

Nightime should be considered a spelling error, but it is used for Codral Nightime Cold and Flu tablets, where misspelling a word is common in branding and marketing situations.

The compound word nighttime is a US spelling. In Australia the spelling is not listed in either the Macquarie dictionary or the Australian Oxford dictionary, so nighttime should be considered a spelling error in Australia.

The Macquarie dictionary lists night-time as a noun, with no reference to night time. The Australian Oxford dictionary also only lists night-time, again with no reference to night time.

I have to say I didn’t see that coming. The correct spelling for Australian usage is night-time with the hyphen.

A quick review of the first 100 sites for “night-time” shows only 30% of sites use the correct spelling, many using both night time and night-time in the one article which is considered an error. Given the number of people using the spelling nighttime, nightime and night time, it is conceivable that 80% or more of writers are using the incorrect spelling for Australia, according to the Macquarie and Australian Oxford dictionaries.

With Microsoft Word, if you enter nighttime Microsoft Word will mark nighttime as an error, but suggest both night time and night-time, which could easily lead writers to use the wrong spelling for Australia, depending on what they mean to write.

Kelvin Eldridge
The preferred Australian English spelling.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Microsoft Outlook does not correctly spellcheck flavor when in the subject field.

Recently I was sending an email using Microsoft Outlook and to my surprise, the incorrect spelling flavor was not picked up as a spelling error. In fact the correct spelling flavour was marked as a spelling error in the subject field.

If typing flavour in the body of the email message the spelling was correctly handled as the correct spelling for Australia and flavor was correctly marked as a spelling error.

It really is hard to believe after so many decades of Microsoft Outlook being available, there's still errors in the code. In this case the spelling language was set to Australian English. The body of the message is spellchecked correctly, but the subject field is checking the text entered against American English.

To get around this issue and check the spelling correctly, copy the subject text into the body of the email, check the text is spelt correctly, then cut and paste the text into the subject field. That way you know you're getting the text spellchecked using the selected language.

Kelvin Eldridge
The preferred Australian English spelling.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Is the spelling Afterall or After all?

Recently, whilst checking a Microsoft Word document, the word Afterall with the initial letter capitalised did not come up as a spelling error, whereas afterall without the initial capital, was shown as a spelling error. How could this be?

The compound word afterall is a common misspelling of after all. The Australian Oxford dictionary confirms the spelling is after all.

A check of Google for sites in Australia (sites ending in .au) returns 321,000 results for afterall and 19.6 million results for after all, which shows most people spell the word correctly. So why isn't Microsoft Word marking the word Afterall as a spelling error?

It may simply be the Microsoft Word dictionary is in error. Another possible reason is a check of the internet shows Afterall is used by a number of organisations as part of their name. As part of an organisation's name, Afterall can be capitalised.

In this situation, how the word Afterall is being used, is after all the only way to know if the word should be capitalised or not. If Afterall is not part of an organisation's name, it is a spelling error.

Kelvin Eldridge
The preferred Australian English spelling.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Is the spelling checkbook, check book, check-book, chequebook, cheque book or cheque-book?

It's been a long time since I've written a cheque. Remember ripping out those cheques. But how do you spell the thing you ripped the cheques out off?

The easy task is we can eliminate checkbook (and any variation) as checkbook is listed in the Macquarie Dictionary as the US spelling. The Australian Oxford dictionary lists cheque book and the hyphenated variation as in cheque-book journalism. The Macquarie Dictionary has the entry chequebook and chequebook journalism. Two dictionaries with two different spelling variations.

If we perform a search on the NAB, Westpac, Commbank and ANZ sites, our four main banks nearly always use cheque book.

A search of Google restricting sites those ending in .au for cheque book and chequebook gives  36,00 and 31,900 respectively. Using the plural cheque books and chequebooks gives 12,000 and 6,320 respectively. If we search for cheque book journalism and chequebook journalism the results returned are 508 and 74 respectively. Of the 508 results for cheque book journalism around 30% used the hyphen, as in cheque-book journalism. Finally, if we use chequebook diplomacy and cheque book diplomacy we get 70 results and 44 results respectively.

Certainly this is not an easy one. The banking industry appears to mostly use cheque book as two words. The results returned from Google for sites ending in .au also indicates cheque book is the preferred spelling. When used as an adjective with the word journalism, the most common usage was cheque book without the hyphen.

Based on these results, for Australian usage, the preferred spelling appears to be cheque book as two words and when used as an adjective, the spelling may not need to be hyphenated. Although this does make me wonder if it's because using hyphens is often a problem for people. Normally, going forward we'd probably expect to see chequebook become the preferred spelling, however since cheque books are being used less and less, there's a good chance cheque books may become a thing of the past.

Kelvin Eldridge
The preferred Australian English spelling.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Is the spelling free standing, free-standing, or freestanding?

Looking for kitchen appliances recently, the results returned In Google showed the use of free standing, freestanding, and free-standing, sometimes even in the one result. It is often said if there's multiple ways to spell a word, you should be consistent with the spelling you choose.

The Australian spelling dictionary aims to provide the single spelling preferred in Australia, but sometimes, as in this case, it can be quite difficult to identify the single preferred spelling. A search of Google for sites from Australia (sites ending in .au) returns 5.41 million results for free standing and 6.37 million for freestanding. Because of the way search engines work, searching for free-standing with the hyphen, usually doesn't return something we can have confidence in, as a hyphen is often treated as a word delimiter. Hyphens are also regularly used in the website URL  (address) and these results will be returned by Google as well.

The Macquarie dictionary has the entry freestanding, but not free-standing. The Oxford Australian dictionary has free-standing, but not freestanding. Microsoft Word is no help at all as it will suggest freestanding and free-standing with the same meaning, and both free and standing are legitimate words in their own right.

It appears this may be a situation where the spelling is evolving. Often when there's two words used as an adjective, the words will be hyphenated. However, as time goes on the hyphenated words drop the hyphen and the result is a single word. With freestanding exceeding free standing (and free-standing), this would indicate the preferred Australian spelling may now be freestanding, with the hyphenated version free-standing a secondary variation. The use of free standing as a two word adjective - when used in the sense of self-supporting, unconnected, independent – which is very common, would also not be the preferred spelling.

Kelvin Eldridge
The preferred Australian English spelling dictionary

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Is the spelling help desk or helpdesk?

A very common situation is whether or not two words should be separated by a space, or joined together as a compound word. The term help desk/helpdesk is one such situation.

A check on the internet of Australian sites (limiting sites to end in .au using Google) returns 12.6 million results for help desk and 379,000 for helpdesk. However, most people aren’t aware of how to limit results to just include sites ending in .au, so if they did the same test without restricting the results, they would get 66.8 million and 73 million respectively. The reverse of the usage in Australia. This is a perfect example of why it isn’t wise to just accept the information you receive from Google, without understanding more about the results you’re seeing.

Microsoft Word accepts both helpdesk and help desk equally, meaning writers using Microsoft Word are often unaware they’re using a secondary spelling variation.

If you check the Macquarie and the Australian Oxford dictionaries, both list help desk as the primary entry and helpdesk as an also entry.

The primary spelling in Australia is therefore help desk, with a space between the two words.

Kelvin Eldridge
The preferred Australian English spelling.