Only Word Check uses the preferred Australian English spelling. Other sites use American or British English. Check your spelling using Australian English spelling.

FREE Word Check
Australian Dictionary

Now with spelling suggestions and links to definitions.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Is the spelling nana or nanna?

When talking about one’s grandmother we often use the terms nan, nana and nanna. In Australia, what then is the preferred spelling? Is nana spelled with one n, or is nanna spelled with two n’s.

First, we do have to remember nana and nanna are considered colloquial spellings and as such, are used informally. Also since people use Nana and Nanna as names, names can often vary in spelling. Having said that, the best approach is to refer to the authoritative references.

The Macquarie Dictionary lists nana as a secondary spelling of nanna and the entry nana refers on to nanna. Thus according to the Macquarie Dictionary the preferred spelling would be nanna. The Australia Oxford dictionary entry nanna states a variation of nan, with nan listing nana and nanna as variations for nan. The Australia Oxford thus doesn’t directly give us answer for nana and nanna.

The online Oxford dictionary doesn’t directly list nanna, but interestingly, states nanna as the British form for nana under the nana entry.

Based on the Macquarie Dictionary it would appear the preferred spelling in Australia is nanna. The spelling preference in Australia appears to be: grandmother, nan, nanna and then nana.

Kelvin Eldridge
The preferred Australian English spelling.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Is the spelling behaviour or behavior?

At first glance, deciding between the words behaviour and behavior, the choice appeared obvious. Many people would believe behaviour is the Australian spelling and behavior is the American spelling. The spelling behavior in Australia would be considered a spelling mistake. Certainly Microsoft Word marks behavior as a spelling error.

However, I decided to check Google for Australian sites and found approximately 54 million sites used the spelling behaviour, whilst 22 million sites used the spelling behavior. That’s a staggering one third of Australian sites (sites ending in .au), use the spelling which would be considered an error in Australia. Due to the high number of sites using the behavior spelling, it was felt important investigate the spelling.

According to the Macquarie and Australian Oxford dictionaries, both list behaviour as the primary Australian spelling and behavior is listed as an “also” and thus a secondary spelling variation. The authoritative references do not refer to behavior as a purely American spelling. It is common in Australia for people to incorrectly believe a spelling variation is only American, because that is the spelling used in America. In Australia, it is very common for words to have two spelling variations such as behaviour and behavior.

In Australia it is best to use the primary spelling behaviour, unless it’s not your preference, or there’s some reason to use the secondary spelling variation.

Kelvin Eldridge
The preferred Australian English spelling.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Is the spelling in-store, in store, or instore?

You can’t miss the word in-store being used in the retail industry. The word appears on shop windows, in catalogues and online. All three spelling variations are used when the retailer is talking about getting products in the store or shop.

You really can’t blame retailers for the inconsistent spelling. Microsoft Word has instore as a valid spelling, the Macquarie Dictionary lists instore and the Oxford Dictionary lists in-store. Those using in store are using a wrong spelling for this usage and that’s many retailers.

If you prefer the Oxford Dictionary as your spelling guide, you’ll use in-store and if you prefer the Macquarie Dictionary, you’ll use instore. It’s hard to say which is right. however, if you’re more conservative the spelling in-store is most likely the spelling to use. Because the spelling instore is a valid spelling in Microsoft Word (which may perhaps be an error), it is easy to see the Macquarie Dictionary, which is generally less conservative, may find an increased usage of instore, due to Microsoft’s Word being the leading document writing software used by businesses.

Which spelling you use is your choice. If you want guidance on which word to use, perhaps use the spelling in-store. This is the spelling indicated in the online Oxford Dictionary for British spelling and the Merriam Webster for US spelling. Because both the US and UK references agree on the spelling in-store, this further supports instore, may be an error in Microsoft software. A check of Australian sites online for Australian usage, indicates the main spelling is in-store.

Kelvin Eldridge
The preferred Australian English spelling.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Is the spelling forego or forgo?

This is actually a trick question. Like the words to, too and two, forego and forgo are known as homonyms. Two or more words that sound same, that are spelt the same or differently, but have different meanings.

Forgo has the meaning to go without and forego has the meaning to precede. A couple of tips to help remember when to use which spelling are: forgo has no e, so goes without, forgo starts with the same letters as does forget, whereas forego starts with the same letters as before.

Forego is listed as a secondary spelling variation of forgo. This would appear to be because so many people incorrectly use forego when they actually mean forgo, that the spelling becomes recognised as a secondary spelling variation.

The following sentences show the different usage. When dieting I will forgo dessert. Often soup will forego the main course.

Because forgo and forego are so similar, it’s a foregone conclusion people may confuse the two words.

Kelvin Eldridge
The preferred Australian

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Is the spelling Labor or Labour?

There’s considerable rejection against the use of American spelling in Australia. We’ve caved on some words, but our Australian English is often different to UK and American spelling.

Every few years at election time, one thing that stands out is the incorrect spelling of the Australian Labor Party. Yes our leaders use the incorrect spelling for Australian usage, but most people find little issue in the usage. If a student used the same spelling in a spelling test, they’d be marked wrong.

The reason the Australian Labor Party use the spelling Labor instead of Labour, is, in the early 1900s there was a push towards using American spelling and a remnant of that time, is the spelling of Labor in the Australian Labor Party’s name. Rather than get hung up on spelling that ideally should be changed for consistency, if it makes things easier, it’s perhaps better to think of this as branding. In branding, incorrect spelling variations are often used.

Kelvin Eldridge
The preferred Australian English spelling.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Is the spelling 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
The preferred Australian English spelling.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Is the spelling Fathers Day, Father’s Day, or Fathers’ Day.

There are three variations that can be used for Father’s Day and all to a degree make sense, but only one is correct.

Modern usage of the apostrophe means that when there is a tenuous link between ownership, the apostrophe is no longer used. E.g. visitors book, which has no apostrophe as no particular visitor owns the book.. Since Father’s Day is not owned by anyone, it could be Fathers Day with no apostrophe. There are many fathers so it makes sense to use the plural version and place the apostrophe after the s, as in Fathers’ Day. However, Father’s Day is an officially declared day with the apostrophe before the s, which follows the convention used for Mother’s Day.

Trying to work out logically where the apostrophe should appear in the case of Father’s Day doesn’t work. The placement of the apostrophe is a result of how the day was officially declared.

Some of you may have noticed recently shops using the apostrophe incorrectly in their Father’s Day promotions, if you didn’t, you probably will next year.

Kelvin Eldridge
The preferred Australian English spelling.