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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

(In general, only the base form of a word to be revised is given, but closely related forms, such as inflected variants of a verb or a noun created from the verb take the same change (e.g, the reform of "saturate" to "sachurate" carries over to "sachuration", "sachurated", and "sachurating"; "abizmal" carries over to "abizmally"; and so on.)


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.


Munday, February 13, 2017:  "omishun" for "omission"

SSI does not spell the SH-sound. SH does. As for the O, we might keep it or replace it, in that it represents a schwa, and any vowel can spell schwa. But U is arguably closer to the sound here (compare "abacus", "onus", and , "Cajun"). So let's use that: "omishun".

Sunday, February 12, 2017:  "nurosiance" for "neuroscience"

We don't need an E before the U to show the U to be long. Nor do we need a C to show the S-sound later in today's word. S alone will do very nicely. Moreover, IE could be read as a simple long-I ("pie", "fie", "hie"). It's actually two syllables, long-I followed by schwa, as in "trial", "defiant", and "reliance"): "nurosiance". 

Saturday, February 11, 2017:  "monnocottileedon" for "monocotyledon"

Today starts a new feature, Science Saturday. There are a great many scientific words that are very un-English in spelling, in that many derive from the International Scientific Vocabulary ("ISV"), of which Wikipedia says "whose language of origin may or may not be certain, but which are in current use in several modern languages (that is, translingually)". There is no reason readers and writers of English should try to cope with wildly un-English spellings just because they relate to words in science. So we will fix many of them to conform them to such rules of spelling as do exist in English. Today's word, from botany, refers to plants whose seed throws up a single leaf, rather than the far more common dicotyledon, which produces two immature leaves from its seed.

Today's six-syllable word has four little problems in English. (a) The first-O, before a single-N, could be long or short in sound. It's short, and should be so indicated by a double-N. (b) In like fashion, the third-O, which occurs before a single-T, is short, tho it could be seen as long. To indicate that it's short, we should double the T. (c) The Y is entirely inappropriate, because Y midword is commonly pronounced as a long-I. Here, it is short, which we should mark with a double-T. And (d) the E is long, which a single-E is not enuf to show. EE would be much clearer: "monnocottileedon".

Friday, February 10, 2017:  "motsa/s" for "motzo", "matzoh" and, plural, "matzos", "matzot", and "matzoth"

This Food Friday, which is also the Jewish Sabbath, let's fix some foolish spellings and usages of a term for unleavened bread (which is much like the paradoxically named "unsalted saltine" crackers). To begin with, O is the wrong vowel for the second syllable. The sound is schwa, which at the end of a word is best shown by A. Second, the A in the first syllable is wrong. IT should be O. So let's flip the A and O. Third, the H in the alternate spelling is entirely pointless. It in no way alters the pronunciation but is silent, so should not be there. We have enuf letters to write that ARE pronounced. We don't need any silent letters in such locations. Fourth, the irregular plural, "matsot" or "matsoth", is un-English, and given the un-English pronunciation mot.sáut. Fifth, the Z is wrong, because it represents the S-sound. What a mess!

Fortunately, there is a quick fix for each of these problems. First, change the O  at the end to A. Second, change the A in the first syllable to O. Third, drop the silent-H at the end of the singular of the alternate spelling. Fourth, abolish the absurd irregular plural, and just use -S to form the plural. And fifth, replace the Z with S:  "motsa" and, plural, "motsas".

Thursday, February 9, 2017:  "motly" for "motley"

We don't need an E before the Y in today's word. Quite the contrary, the EY could be seen as representing a long-A sound as in "whey", the British spelling "grey", and "survey": "motly".

Wensday, February 8, 2017:  "moote" for "moot"

There are two OO-sounds in English, one long as in "food", the other short, as in "good". Here, the sound is long. To show that, we can add an E after the T: "moote".

Tuesday, February 7, 2017:  "meddical", "Meddicare", and "Meddicaid" for "medical", "Medicare", and "Medicaid"

ME before a single-D is ambiguous (compare "media", "median", and "mediocre"), all of which have a long-E sound). Here, the sound of the E is short. To show that clearly, all we need do is double the D in all three words: "meddical", "Meddicare", and "Meddicaid".

Munday, February 6, 2017:  "meckanizm" for "mechanism"

Why would we write a simple K-sound with CH, which should be reserved to the CH-sound as in "church" and "chaffinch"? If the sound is K, let's write K. In this location, after a short-E, CK would be better, in that a double consonant is the convention after a short vowel, but KK will be thought by many readers to be "un-English".

A second problem is the SM. The S does NOT represent the voiceless sound that S is intended to carry, but the voiced sound for which Z is intended. So let's change the S to Z.

Ideally, we would also show a vowel sound between the Z and the M, to indicate that a schwa appears there. The letter A would be appropriate ("-IZAM"), but the convention is to do without a written schwa and treat the M as a "syllabic-M". We might regard a syllabic-M as a convention of some African languages, not English. But since the English version of syllabic-M in the ending -ISM is well understood, we can leave it — even tho it is plainly unreasonable. We do what we can do without raising hackles: "meckanizm".


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.

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...").