English spelling

I got the following off the Net, but without an attribution. If you know it, could you email it to me for inclusion? Thanks. [Matt Davies has a very interesting page about this quote.]

Aoccdrnig to rscheearch

Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer is at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by it slef but the wrod as a wlohe.


miscellaneous mnemonics

I can't spell. Spell checkers help warn when a word doesn't actually exist, but are not much help for those troublesome pairs of similar words. I use some mnemonics to remember these (taught to me by parents and various teachers)

-(i)ce / -(i)se

Licence/license, practice/practise -- one's the noun, one's the verb, but which is which? Well, it's the same pattern for "advice (noun) /advise (verb)", and at least they're pronounced differently. And indeed:

The spelling license, though still often met with, has no justification in the case of the n. In the case of the vb., on the other hand, although the spelling licence is etymologically unobjectionable, license is supported by the analogy of the rule universally adopted in the similar pairs of related words, practice n., practise vb., prophecy n., prophesy vb. (The rule seems to have arisen from imitation of the spelling of pairs like advice n., advise vb., which expresses a phonetic distinction of historical origin.)

-- Oxford English Dictionry, 2nd Edition


All those "c"s and "s"'s -- how many, and where do they go? Not so necessary now we have spell checkers, but this ludicrous sentence is now so ingrained, it runs through my head whenever I write the word:

"No Elephant Can Eat Strawberry Sandwiches"

principal / principle

The chief gal is the principal / she makes rules called principles

stationary / stationery

"e for envelope"