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Australian Dictionary

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Thursday, December 21, 2017

Business person or businessperson

Is it business person or businessperson?

Businessman is listed in both the Australian Oxford and Macquarie dictionaries as a single word. Businessperson/business person isn’t listed in the Australian Oxford, but is listed in the Macquarie dictionary as one word.

If you perform a check on the internet using Google for sites ending in .au, you’ll find a ratio 1 to 5 people using business person or business people, when they really should be using businessperson and businesspeople. Perhaps not Surprisingly then, there’s a ratio of 1 to 5 people spelling businessman as two words, when they shouldn’t.

If you’re using Microsoft products the problem is, if you type business person or businessperson, both are considered correct. The reason in the case of business person is because the spellchecker looks at each of these words individually, and since both business and person are themselves valid words, there’s no spelling mistake. Another gotcha is many people use online dictionary resources such as the online UK Oxford dictionary or Wiktionary. In many cases these are not suitable for Australia. The online UK Oxford dictionary lists the spelling as business person, which doesn’t correspond to the Australian spelling.

TIP: If you’re not sure whether the spelling of a word should contain a space or not, type the word without a space and the spellchecker will generally let you know if it is a spelling error or not.

Kelvin Eldridge
The preferred Australian English spelling.

NOTE: The above article was written for and published in the Credit Matters newsletter.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

The Australian Spelling Test - The Sequel.

My last spelling test provided quite popular, although it was harder than most people thought it would be because it was designed to highlight the two spelling variations of many words, and most of us really, don't realise there's a secondary spelling. If we're using that secondary spelling variation then that's the way we'll spell the word never realising there's any other way.

My second spelling test is more straight forward. It's simply a list of 20 words and the variations people have entered into Word Check when trying to spell the word, or check the word's meaning. No tricks. Just whether you know the spelling or not.

Best of all, for those who like to check their spelling prowess, you can find The Australian Spelling Test - The Sequel at


Kelvin Eldridge
The preferred Australian English spelling.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Is it colour or color?

The spelling of the word colour in Australia contains the letter 'u'. The spelling without the letter 'u' is the American spelling. However, sometimes for some people this isn't clear.

One time when I asked a person why they spelt the word colour without the 'u' they said, "that's how I've always spelt it". It turned out they had an American teacher at school.

In the Fifth Edition of the Macquarie Dictionary the spellings colour and color were considered equal. In the Six Edition of the Macquarie Dictionary the spelling colour is now the primary spelling and the spelling color is listed as an 'Also' spelling, meaning it is a secondary less used spelling. If the Macquarie Dictionary can change its stance on the spelling of the word colour, it makes sense this is not as simple as people would think and why many people would be confused.

A check using Google of sites ending in .au, returns 7.23 million for colour and 7.5 million for color. A search using Bing, limiting results to the Australian region, returns 8.62 million for colour and 3.74 million for color. In the case of Google, one could easily feel we're seeing a change to color, but if you use Bing, the spelling is clearly in favour of colour. It really just depends on the data you're using to base your decisions. One extra point to keep in mind, is often in Australia the spelling color is used in brand names and that could potentially increase the returned values for usage, but brand name spelling is not necessarily correct spelling.

For the Macquarie Dictionary to reduce the spelling color from an equal to a secondary spelling, shows the Macquarie Dictionary team have put effort into reviewing the spelling variations and this should indicate the spelling colour is the primary spelling in Australia.

Kelvin Eldridge

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Disorganised or unorganised?

It is unusual for a word to be used with two different prefixes. Often people use the word unorganised when they really mean disorganised and it can be very obvious to others.

Unorganised relates to structure or a system. The data was unorganised. The staff were unorganised as they had not formed a union. Disorganised relates more to the current state, The person was disorganised.

To confuse things further, both words could be used in the same sentence. The person’s desk was disorganised. The person’s desk was unorganised. The use of disorganised implies the desk may have once been organised. The use of unorganised implies the desk had not been organised. We’ve all been there. Tight deadlines, lots of work, can result in a disorganised desk. A new job with a new desk, that is unorganised. Although keep in mind, sometimes using different words may be better for the reader. A new job with a new desk, that has not been organised.

Kelvin Eldridge

NOTE: The above article was written for and published in the Credit Matters newsletter.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Is it thank you or thankyou?

It is very easy to be polite and say thank you. However, when you write thank you there’s a choice.

The choice is thank you as two words, or thankyou as one word.

The preferred Australian spelling is to spell thank you as two words.

Kelvin Eldridge

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Google Docs spellchecking doesn't pick up obvious spelling errors.

I was going through my documents on Google Drive and deleting old documents that I no longer have any use for. One document stood out. I'd named the document Poor spelling in Google Docs. I opened the document, not really having remembered creating the document. The document had one sentence.

I wondered if I retyped the incorrect words, if Google Docs would now mark the words as spelt incorrectly. I typed the following.

thiz iz dokument befor kant spel wright

All of the words weren't picked up by Google Docs as spelling errors. I used Safari with my own Australian dictionary to perform a spellcheck, when the words were entered into a form and all words were marked as spelling errors. I copied the words into Microsoft Word 2016 and all the words except wright, were marked as spelling errors. The word wright is an archaic word meaning builder. As an archaic word wright isn't a word I'd include in my spellcheck dictionary and would thus be marked as a spelling error.

In all honesty I have no idea why the words are not being marked as spelling errors in Google Docs. I was thinking perhaps it's time I start using Google Docs for my basic document needs, but now I don't think I will. If those words are being picked up as spelling errors, then it makes me wonder what other words aren't being picked up as being incorrectly spelt.

Kelvin Eldridge
The preferred Australian English spellcheck dictionary.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Spellcheck versus spell check page explains the correct spelling.

Today I decided to create a site ( to letting Australians know the correct spelling is spellcheck, a single word, not spell check, as two words, or spell-check, with a hyphen.

Spellcheck with a hyphen is the American spelling. Spellcheck as two words isn't a correct spelling.

I've provided more information on the page Yes the hyphen is deliberate for two reasons. First it is hoped this will be picked up more easily by Google as two words. The second is the domain with spellcheck as a single word was already registered. It's important to remember the hyphenated spelling spell-check, which is used in the domain name, is not the Australian spelling.

Feel free to spread the word.

Kelvin Eldridge

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Australian Dictionary site now mobile friendly

I've spent the last couple of days redesigning the Australian Dictionary site to be mobile friendly, or at least, much friendlier. There's still some work to be done, but at least now for those using mobile phones, the Australian Dictionary site will be easier to read.

I have left the very popular Word Check page alone. The page was designed to be viewed holding the mobile phone in landscape mode. The page can still be used quite well holding the mobile in portrait mode, so it was felt at this time the page didn't need to be updated.

With the new design I've left the pages so you can zoom in if something can't be read, or you need to click on a link which may otherwise be too small. For example if you wish to check out the new Crossword Help page (, you can zoom in and then click on the link from the main page of the site.

Kelvin Eldridge