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Kathy Bowman wondered: <<I have been using the word 'engageabilty'
and neither 'engageability' nor 'engagability' exists in any
dictionary I have seen. It is jargon, but appropriate for the
context. Which spelling do you think I should use for this
I'm not gaga over "engagability"--for reasons that should now be
obvious--though it doesn't quite make me gag. <g> Think of it this
way: extra letters, like hyphens, are necessary when they prevent an
obvious and likely misreading. In English, a "g" by itself can be
either soft (manage or <ahem> Geoff) or hard (gag me with a spoon).
Where it's not clear which one is the case, you can be confident that
adding an "e" turns the "g" soft. If you "engage" me in conversation,
I'll be pleased to converse; if you "engag" me in conversation, I'll
be looking for that little waxed-paper bag used for "mal de l'air". <g>
Needless to say, English spelling isn't remotely logical, since it
borrows rules from pretty much every living language and many dead
ones. But the above offers a pretty good rule of thumb if you have a
good enough knowledge of the language to recognize the exceptions.
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Geoff Hart ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca
(try geoffhart -at- mac -dot- com if you don't get a reply)