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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.