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Double the consonant? #57436
02/17/02 03:28 AM 02/17/02 03:28 AM
Joined: Jan 2002
Sarasota, Florida, US slithy toves OP
Sarasota, Florida, US
For ages it's bugged me that the New Yorker uses spellings like focussing and travelled, even though the accent is on the first syllable. Now I see they've used combating, which, it seems to me, should have a double-t. Have the rules changed?
Re: Double the consonant? #57437
02/17/02 03:37 AM 02/17/02 03:37 AM
Joined: Oct 2000
rego park of troy
Maybe-- or maybe just the editors.. standards at The New Yorker are not what they used to be! (Tina Brown has basing almost became a world class sport-- she is gone, and so are many editors)
Re: Double the consonant? #57438
02/17/02 11:43 AM 02/17/02 11:43 AM
Joined: Dec 2000
That shows you pronounce it com-BAT, and if you did you'd be right to double the T in combatting.
I was going to say the stress on -BAT sounded old-fashioned to me, and British, but it turns out it's the other way round. My old Shorter Oxford has COM-bat and CUM-bat for both noun and verb, with no mention of the -BAT stress. Fowler (Modern English Usage) has only CUM- and mentions it under the -T- vs -TT- rule as one that goes combated etc., so he also pronounced it with unstressed -bat.
A modern dictionary (Chambers) now only has COM-/com- (no-one says cumbat any more), but notes that the -BAT stress is North American, and rare here.
The style-guide advice in Britain would be not to double S or T: focused, riveted, though focussed, rivetted would be regarded as also correct.
The only letters with obligatory doubling are L and P (traveled, worshiped are definitely Americanisms, not alternative spellings), and with P it's only with worshipping and kidnapping and handicapping, where the syllable has some secondary stress on it and is pronounced with a full vowel.
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