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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Is it centimetre or centimeter?

Even though I've been maintaining the preferred Australian English spelling dictionary now for around 13 years, I still get a surprise every now and then. Recently I created an inches to cm calculator ( and whilst searching the internet, I noticed the spelling centimeters, as well as the usual spelling centimetres on Australian sites. I couldn't help but wonder why so many people would be spelling the word incorrectly.

What I found actually surprised me, but in hindsight, perhaps I shouldn't have been so surprised. I'd never noticed the spelling centimeter before, but that's not unusual. Often we don't notice things even thought they are there.

It turned out the American spelling of the distance related words, metre, centimetre, millimetre are meter, centimeter and millimeter respectively. That was a surprise. However in hindsight, given the American spelling of centre is center, where the re is er, it makes sense this spelling may apply to other words, as it does in this case.

The spelling in Australia is thus centimetre.

Kelvin Eldridge

Monday, September 19, 2016

Australian English dictionary for macOS Sierra

The release date for macOS Sierra appears to have been announced for Tuesday September 20th 2016. Once I've downloaded the operating system I'll test and update the instructions for the Australian English dictionary files I provide for Mac users.

Note this will not include any changes in the dictionary files, just an update to the documentation.

The Australian English dictionary files I produce for Microsoft Office provide the preferred Australian English spelling and removes thousands of secondary spellings, American spellings and errors. A native dictionary is also available for Mac users and once tested, will be available for use under macOS Sierra.

Stay tuned.....

Kelvin Eldridge

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Version 4.2A of the Australian English dictionary files now available.

The new version of the Australian English dictionary files is 4.2A. This is only a refresh of the documentation.

For those with version 4.2 there's no need to consider version 4.2A. The documentation has been updated to include the latest versions of Windows, Microsoft Edge, Mac OS X and Office. The only change to the files is the removal of two words from the Mac OS X native dictionary.

The pages on the web site have been updated to also include the latest versions of the software.

Kelvin Eldridge

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Census site uses inquiry instead of enquiry.

As soon as I opened the Census site I noticed something that flagged a concern. It was the word inquiry.

What I've found in the past is if companies aren't diligent with their public presence in terms of spelling, it often provides a deeper hint about the company. In this case it is the Australian government.

When the Census failed in what so far has to be the largest public failure of the government's public online presence, I couldn't help wonder if that hint was a sign of things to come.

In Australia we use two different spelling variations for the very similar words inquiry and enquiry. The spelling inquiry is used in reference to the more formal legal situation such as a government inquiry. The spelling enquiry is used when we make an enquiry about something. In America there's only the single spelling inquiry.

I'd like to admit that spelling inquiry/enquiry has caught me out over the years. I have a science/IT background and without knowing it, the spelling inquiry became the way I spelt enquiry. It was only as a result of my interest in the preferred Australian English spelling dictionary that I became aware of the difference usage of inquiry and enquiry. I was more than happy to adjust my usage once I'd realised I was using the incorrect spelling. We continue to learn and hone our skills as we journey through life.

Kelvin Eldridge