Bite-sized Tips No. 21: Spellings Part 16 – Getting Trickier Every Time

Spellings Part 16  –  Getting Trickier Every Time

Bournemouth waterfront 1Here are today’s ten words, which, as ever, are based on the spellings I find in the New Oxford Style Manual or the Oxford English Dictionary (OED). Regular readers will know that, in the absence of alternative instructions from my client, I base my translations into English on Oxford.

Given that we are bombarded with not only different versions but also varying levels of written English on a daily basis, my brain cells can get a trifle confused on occasion, so I look words up just to make sure that I’m being faithful to the style I have chosen to follow and can answer any queries (if any come my way) on why I have chosen to spell a word a certain way.

If you’re interested in this topic, you’ll find a more in-depth explanation of why I use a style guide here and the full list of previous bite-sized tips posts here.

1. decor = no accent. It might have one in French, but according to Oxford, when we use the word in English it drops the accent. The Microsoft spellchecker disagrees, however.

2. microdata = one word according to OED.

DNS (Dragon NaturallySpeaking) will quite happily write microdata for you, although the spellchecker in Word will highlight this as incorrect. However, when it comes to

3. macro data, the case is not at all clear. I haven’t been able to find macro data written as one word in any dictionary or style guide I have consulted (quite a few so far), and DNS writes this term as two words. Therefore, while it might look strange to write microdata and macro data in the same document, I believe this is the correct way of writing these terms at the moment. Please let me know if you find any info anywhere.

4. agri-food = hyphenated. I found this in the OED, which did not contain entries for agrifood, agrofood or agro-food

However, just to confuse us all, it’s

5. agro-industrial and agro-industry

This is one of the reasons why we all need a spelling dictionary to hand, because these differences can sometimes defy all logic and not all the terms beginning with agri and agro are hyphenated…

To further complicate matters, if you use DNS, it types: Agro industrial and Agro industry

6. man-made = hyphenated, so not one word (manmade), which the Microsoft spellchecker accepts.

7. overcool = one word, according to the OED.

8. baroque = lower case.

9. picaresque = also lower case and no italics.

10. avant-garde = hyphen and no italics.

Bite-sized Tips No. 20: Watch out for the Dragon

Bite-sized Tips No. 22: Spellings Part 17 – The Dragon Agrees

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