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Tuesday, 17 March 2009

My soul resides in your watery fiords fyords fiiords Inlets

-Adrian Mole

Whenever I am typing and get stuck spelling a difficult word like 'recommend', I always go to Not only do you get to watch stick men fighting, but it also tells you which way of spelling it is more accepted, by which version is on the internet the most times. After all, the way that most people spell it is probably right (unless it's a horrible american spelling - being British I'd prefer to spell things the British way). My most recent one was queuing/queueing. I prefer queueing. Many words have the magic e that I learned about in primary school. An e turns bit into bite, because it is magic and lengthens the sound of the i. Likewise with cap/cape, pet/pete, sit/site, rot/rote, crud/crude, (one example for every vowel). The magic e gets dropped when you add -ing onto a verb. Although not magic, the same happens for words like meddle and paddle - the e disappears to produce meddling and paddling.

I think ue is a sound in itself and is different to other words that end in e, so it should be allowed a different spelling rule for adding an -ing. The group include words like glue, sue and queue. If you type them into Google, gluing is suggested as a better alternative to glueing, suing is suggested for sueing, but both queuing and queueing seem to be acceptable. The same is true on the Blogger spell-check On finding that out, I turned to googlefight! The results are in:

gluing = 434,000 search results
glueing = 70,100

suing = 1,300,000
sueing = 48,600

queuing = 790,000
queueing = 386,000

I hate to say it, but the versions without the e seem to win. Those with the e seem to be widely accepted, as both appear in most dictionaries, but they are not as common. A cause or a consequence of this is that Microsoft Word tries to correct the versions with an e.

I like to think I am right, and the world is being skewed by Microsoft pushing its weight around. And I will therefore continue to add my e to these interesting words as I have always done. After all, as this website points out, queueing is the only word in the English language with five vowels in a row. Awesome. We need to keep that!

I have some more words for you to consider: value, subdue, pursue, imbue, ensue, construe, continue, cue
There are lots of them! If the rule is inconsistent, I'll be frustrated

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