Is it vain, vane or vein?

Is it vain, vane or vein? Annoyingly, all of these words exist in British English. They do, however, have different meanings and are commonly mixed up. Vain This is an adjective which means ‘not achieving the desired outcome’, ‘futile’, ‘unsuccessful’, ‘lacking substance or worth’, ‘hollow’ and ‘fruitless’. As an adjective, it also means ‘showing undue… Read more »

Is it under way or underway?

Is it under way or underway? Both of these expressions exist in British English. They do, however, have different meanings. Under way This is used to mean that something is happening/going ahead. Examples: The project is now under way. It was not long before their journey was under way. Underway This is an adjective (or… Read more »

Is it thank you, thankyou or thank-you?

Is it thank you, thankyou or thank-you? If you look out for this phrase, you will see it written in all manner of ways, in various documents. It would be nice to know which is right and wrong – and why. We use three forms in British English – one is the verb (doing word),… Read more »

Is it setup, set-up or set up?

Is it setup, set-up or set up? There is always the difficulty of recognising American English spellings and British English spellings with words like these. Whether we like it or not, much of our language is now heavily influenced by American English spellings. Hence, ‘setup’ is used when talking of initiating computer programs, but, in… Read more »

Is it recover or re-cover; recreate or re-create; reenforce/reinforce or re-enforce/re-inforce; reform or re-form?

Is it recover or re-cover; recreate or re-create; reenforce/reinforce or re-enforce/re-inforce; reform or re-form? Many people make the mistake of just automatically adding a hyphen when using ‘re’ on the front of other words. However, when we add ‘re’ to words, to make them sound like you are doing things again (apart from reiterate), most of… Read more »

Is it program or programme?

Is it program or programme? There is always the difficulty of recognising American English spellings and British English spellings with words like these. Whether we like it or not, much of our language is now heavily influenced by American English spellings. So, for the noun, ‘program’ is used when talking of the IT world –… Read more »

Is it practise or practice?

Is it practise or practice? There is always the difficulty of recognising American English spellings and British English spellings with words like these. Whether we like it or not, much of our language is now heavily influenced by American English spellings. We use both forms in British English – one is a verb (doing word)… Read more »

Is it marinade or marinate?

We use both forms in British English – one is a verb (doing word) and the other a noun (thing). Marinate Is it marinade or marinate? This is the verb ‘to marinate’ something. Examples: I marinate this steak. This meat was marinated for 7 hours.   Marinade This is the noun ‘a marinade’. Examples: I… Read more »

Is it long term or long-term?

Is it long term or long-term? Both forms exist; the difference between them (ie the use of the hyphen) is very important and applies to many other grammatical forms. When talking about the ‘long term’, we are talking about the noun ‘term’ which is described by the adjective ‘long’. However, where the entire phrase is… Read more »

Is it license or licence?

Is it license or licence? There is always the difficulty of recognising American English spellings and British English spellings with words like these. Whether we like it or not, much of our language is now heavily influenced by American English spellings. We use both forms in British English – one is a verb (doing word)… Read more »