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  • Now I could say, “Ah, but that’s the problem with rules. They are prescriptive and then end up having exceptions that make them defective rules. By using the term ‘patterns’ instead, we can see them as descriptive clues to spelling patterns.” But I don’t suppose that would help.

    Actually I like that hyphen in ‘co-operative’. It’s a long enough word for people to be decoding, rather than necessarily recognising as a whole, and in the American spelling (without a hyphen) you start reading ‘coop…’ and then realise you have to change to ‘co-op…’.

    The one that irritates me is the spelling of ‘argument’. There are some pretty reliable and predictable patterns when it comes to adding suffixes. One is that we usually retain the final ‘e’ before a consonant suffix, and I can’t find any reason for dropping it here. Do you have any idea why we do?

    Interesting post, thanks.

  • I’m a little confused by this cafe thing. Is it a problem in the UK and not in the US? All my dictionaries list the two spellings, I’m getting to retirement age and I’m sure that I learned to sight read cafe as a child, and as far as I can tell, the use of the accent mark is a sign of the fonts one has available. When we used typewriters, it was cafe. Now we can add the accent if the font is available, and I personally am too inept to find it while typing on this particular comment box.