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Click here for an index to words discussed throughout this project, in chronological order, most recent first.
Click here for an index to words discussed throughout this project from A-M, and here for an index to words discussed throughout this project from N-Z, in alphabetical order.
(Within the webpages noted above are clickable links to all the discussions, organized by quarter year.)

Click here for a list of possible future words.
Click here for the principles that govern the selection of words for this project.
Click here for a list of words rejected for this project because of those principles.
Click here for links to other websites concerned with spelling.

Simpler Spelling
Word of the Day

We are running low on, or have already run out of, words in need of reform that start in I, J, K, L, N, O, Q, U, V, W, X, Y, and Z. If readers see the need for reform of words that start in any of those letters, and which have not already been used (as recorded in this project's chronological archives) or rejected for this project files, please suggest reforms. But we need not change spellings unless the present spelling is inadequate or misleading, or there is more than one spelling and we need to settle on only one.


The distribution of words that require reform is wildly uneven from one initial letter of the alphabet to another. Ordinarily, we have considered one word a day for each initial letter, but we have just about run out of words in various parts of the alphabet, so will treat of the letters that have many, many words (e.g., C, D, P, M, and S) on multiple days in a row before moving to the next letter in alphabetical order.


I have fallen very far behind in this project, and apologize to anyone who likes to see it updated regularly. I intend to try to catch up immediately after Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 3, 2016:  "skidaddle" for "skedaddle"

E is the wrong vowel for the first syllable of today's word. It's actually a short-I, so let's replace that E with I; "skidaddle".
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* In case you either never saw my explanation for why I underscore A and I when they stand alone in these discussions, or forgot, both "a" and "I" are words to themselves, but when I don't mean those words, I underscore the A and I.

Wensday, November 2, 2016:  "scarvs" for "scarves"

The singular ("scarf") of today's plural is fine just as it is, but the plural has an E that might mislead some readers, esp. among the billion+ people outside the traditionally English-speaking countries who are trying to learn English for its incomparable utility among the languages of the world throughout time, into thinking there is a second syllable. The word has only one syllable. To indicate that, we should delete the E: "scarvs". 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016:  "rellevant" for "relevant"

RE is a common prefix, commonly pronounced with a long-E. That's not the sound here. To show that the sound is actually short-E, we need only double the following-L: "rellevant".

Munday, October 31, 2016:  "rede" for "read"

There are, here, three words (actually, inflected forms of the same word) written the same: the present, past tense, and past participle of the verb that means to interpret written symbols as words (or at least sounds). The present tense is pronounced with a long-E, but the other two forms take a short-E. This is one of the most common irritants to children learning to read English, in large part for being among the words first learned in reading, for being the base WORD for reading, and there's no reason for it.

We have problems with reforming this group of words, in that there is a very different word "reed" that prevents us from writing the present tense unambiguously in the simplest way, and a very different word "red" that also prevents us from writing the other form unambiguously in the simplest way. But there is an alternative spelling, presently used only by an obscure British dialectal term for "to counsel" that we can use instead. Let the dialectal form be unclear, not the generally understood term: "rede".
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My thanks to "space..." for this suggestion.

Sunday, October 30, 2016:  "radeum" for "radium"

IU should be pronounced with a long-I, as in "triumph" and "triumvirate". Here, however, the I is pronounced as a long-E. If the sound is E, why would we write an I?: "radeum".

Saturday, October 29, 2016:  "faggacyte" for "phagocyte"

Let us fix another* of the many words in English that employ the ridiculous spelling PH for a simple F-sound, by replacing the preposterous PH with F. A second problem in today's word is that a single-G leaves unclear whether the preceding-A is long or short. It's short, as in "at". To show that plainly, all we need do is double the G. Further, the O in the traditional spelling might lead some readers to say a long-O, when the sound is actually a schwa, which is much better shown by A. Putting this all together, we get: "faggacyte".
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* Dictionary.com: "any cell, as a macrophage, that ingests and destroys foreign particles, bacteria, and cell debris".

Friday, October 28, 2016:  "pinyon" for "piñon" and "pinyon"

This Food Friday, let's fix the originally Spanish name for "pine nut", There are presently two equally acceptable alternative spellings, but we don't need two spellings for one word, esp. when one of them employs a diacritic, the tilde (~), when English does not use diacritics but only bare letters. So let's abolish the spelling "piñon" and use only: "pinyon".

Thursday, October 27, 2016:  "prefferable" for "preferable"

The prefix PRE is usually pronounced with a long-E, as in the verb from which today's adjective derives, "prefer". The E in the PRE in today's word, however, is short. To show that, we should double the F: "prefferable".

Wensday, October 26, 2016:  "practiss" for "practice"

ICE should be pronounced with a long-I, as in the word "ice" itself, "nice", and "device".  The sound here is short-I. To show that, we should change the ICE to ISS: "practiss".
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My thanks to "Cargo..." for this suggestion.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016:  "portrit" for "portrait"

In today's word, the AI is wrong. It represents not the AI-sound as in "fair", nor the long-A in "strait", but short-I. Páur.traet is a spelling pronunciation we need to discourage by ending the bad spelling that leads to it. If we just drop the A, what remains will be clear. And we will have saved ourselves a letter, which is always good: "portrit".

Munday, October 24, 2016:  "portcoshair" for "porte-cochère" and "porte-cochere"

This term for a large architectural awning over a driveway outside a door has multiple problems. First, it employs a written acute accent, but English does not use accents, so it's got to go. A second problem is that it is hyphenated but need not be. A third problem is that the CH represents not the English CH-sound, as in "church", but the French CH, which equates with the English SH-sound. So we need to replace that C with S. There's even a fourth problem, that the ERE, which should be pronounced with a long-E as in "here" and "clerestory", is actually pronounced with the AI-sound of "airmail". Let's spell it that way. Putting this all together, we get: "portcoshair".

Sunday, October 23, 2016:  "poppulus" for "populous"

As in yesterday's word, we have here another case of an OU but no OU-sound, but this time, we should drop the O rather than the U. That's the problem in the second syllable. There is a different problem at the end of the first syllable, a single-P that does not mark the preceding-O as taking its short sound, which it does. To make that clear, we need only double the P: "poppulus".

Saturday, October 22, 2016:  "pompador" for "pompadour"

The traditional spelling has an OU but no OU-sound. So let's just drop the U: "pompador".

Friday, October 21, 2016:  "pommagrannit" for "pomegranate"

This Food Friday, let's fix the spelling of a fruit. The present ambiguous spelling has given rise to multiple pronunciations, but if we choose a clear spelling for the most common pronunciation, those alternate pronunciations should be abandoned: "pommagrannit".

Thursday, October 20, 2016:  "paytonk" for "pétanque" and "petanque"

This word first came to my notice in an episode of the classic sitcom The Cosby Show, when Dr. Cliff Huxtable played it, a French form of lawn bowling, in his backyard in Brooklyn. Its French form has an E with an acute accent in the first syllable, but since English does not use accents, and most people in the traditionally English-speaking world have no idea how to place an accent over a vowel, even in computer-generated text (which is much easier than most people might think, if only they use the "United States-International" logical keyboard), we should reform the spelling to get rid of the accent but still make the sound plain. In French, é or É takes the sound of English long-A, which is most clearly spelled, in English, AY. So let's use that.

The second issue with "pétanque" or "petanque" is the sound of the A. which takes the French pronunciation, conceived in English as "broad"-A rather than either of English-A's own sounds, long as in "creation" and short as in "astronomical". The French-A equates with English "broad"-A or short-O, the same sound, so we should spell it with an O.

The third issue in today's word is the -QUE, which is a preposterous and inefficient way to spell a K-sound. Let's just write K. Immediately after an N, K will signal to readers of English that there is an implied NG-sound, which there is, here.

Putting this all together, then, we get: "paetonk".

Wensday, October 19, 2016:  "peereoddic" for "periodic"

ER is ambiguous, sometimes being said with a long-E ("period") but other times with a short-E ("peripatetic"). Here, the sound is long-E, which is better shown by EER.

The second issue is that in the second syllable, an I stands in for a long-E sound. If the sound is E, why would we write I? Let's write an E.

A third issue is that in the third syllable, the O is short, which the reader cannot know from a single-D following. We need to double the D. Putting this all together, we get: "peereoddic".

Tuesday, October 18, 2016:  "sykee" for (two-syllable noun) "psyche"

Today's word is similar to both of yesterday's verbs, but is a noun, pronounced in two syllables: "sykee".
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My thanks to "yaora..." for suggesting reform of today's word, tho I chose a slitely different solution.

Munday, October 17, 2016:  "syk" for (verb) "psych" and (alternative one-syllable spelling) "psyche"

Only 2 letters in each of the traditional spellings of these two words are correct. The P is silent, so should not be there. The CH represents not the CH-sound as in "church" but the sound of K, which we should put there instead. And the final-E in the alternative spelling is also silent, so also should be dropped: "syk".

Click here for an index to words discussed throughout this project, in chronological order, most recent first.
Click here for an index to words discussed throughout this project, in alphabetical order.
(Within the two webpages noted above are clickable links to all the discussions, organized by quarter year.)

Click here for a list of possible future words.
Click here for the principles that govern the selection of words for this project.
Click here for a list of words rejected for this project because of those principles.
Click here for links to other websites concerned with spelling.

Please bookmark this page and stop by each day. Tell your friends. Tell your teachers. Tell the world!


This website proposes modest spelling changes to make English easier to read and write. Each day, we list (at least) one word that could usefully be respelled as would make English easier for kids and non-native speakers to learn, and for all of us to use, every day. If ordinary people, in their emails and personal communications, note-taking, etc., were to adopt these little changes each day, over time we would achieve significant simplification of English spelling, because publishers and educators would have to follow the people's lead. (Proposed reforms apply to all derivatives of the word reformed, not just to the base word.)

Tho it would be neater to change all words of a pattern at the same time (e.g., all -OUS endings to -US), that is implied in the change of individual words of that pattern. But traditional English spelling isn't consistent, which is why it is so hard to master. Some words that sound the same are spelled differently (there, their, they're); some words that are spelled the same are pronounced differently (refuse as verb and noun). To impose complete consistency on English without radical reform is impossible. Short of radical reform, then, we can either reform some words or surrender to spelling chaos and do nothing.

English spelling didn't become crazy all at once, but one word at a time. Old English was phonetic, and such variations in spelling as occurred reflected variations in pronunciation. New words have come into the language one by one, with their own individual spelling, sometimes quite unreasonable. In like fashion, we can change some unreasonable spellings to reasonable, one word at a time, inefficient tho that approach may be. See below for radical reform that does address all the issues at once.


* SSWD is a project of L. Craig Schoonmaker, Newark, New Jersey, United States, creator of Fanetik: Reformed (Phonetic) Spelling - at Least for Teaching. Phonetic pronunciations on this site are rendered in Augméntad Fanétik, which employs accents for syllabic stress. For information about other ways to change irrational spellings, search the Internet for spelling reform.


Comments? Suggestions? If you have suggestions as to words to reform, please check first if they have already been used or have already been placed on the list of words to be addressed in the future or words that have been considered but rejected. Please also check the principles that control whether a word will or will not be offered. Once you have done that, or for any other purpose, please write to Fanetiks@aol.com. Because, for reasons I do not understand, some people have written under temporary email addresses that are abandoned before I can reply, I will not make personal replies to anyone who (a) does not request reactions and (b) does not provide a valid return email address (which will be checked, before I write any substantive reply, by a test email). And if you'd like credit on this page for any suggestion you make that is used, please provide a name and location (city, state/country) for that credit. Absent a personal name, credit will be given to an abbreviated form of the email address, without the at-sign or domain information (e.g., if the email address is "mjmartin@gmail.com", credit might be made to "mjmart...").