LawProse Lesson #300: One last lesson on anomalies of spelling.
As we’ve seen over the last three LawProse lessons, English orthography is riddled with exceptions—ones that you should memorize or at least recognize as irregular. Here’s our final installment in this series of four. ascendable but descendible bombast but lambaste candle but candelabra comrade but camaraderie curious but curiosity dexterous but ambidextrous embarrass but harass fire but fiery garden but kindergarten granite but pomegranate hanger (clothes) but hangar (airplanes) mark but demarcation mellow but marshmallow pollen but pollinate plenty but plenitude repair but reparable sufferance but suffrage tendency but tendance unjust but injustice venom but antivenin As we’ve said, spell-checkers can help (or sometimes hurt). So be careful, and if you aren’t sure of the spelling, always check a good dictionary. Here’s wishing you good words—and correct spellings! Thank you to all the readers who submitted examples for this series. Here’s our last group, who wrote with suggestions over the past week: Peter N. Brewer, Carol Chaffee, Jennifer K. Hepner, James Holland, Nélida Kreer, Phil Mann, Bob Snider, Noreene Stehlik, Marcia Weiszmann, Dale West, and Robin Wright. Feel free to keep sending examples to firstname.lastname@example.org (copy to email@example.com) if you think of more. SOURCE: Garner’s Modern English Usage 849–51 (4th ed. 2016) (s.v. “Spelling”); see also id. at 702–05 (s.v. “Plurals”); id. at 5–6 (s.v. “-able”).