Engageability (was Browseable vs browsable)

Subject: Engageability (was Browseable vs browsable)
From: Geoff Hart <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>, Kathy Bowman <Kathy -dot- Bowman -at- saabsystems -dot- com -dot- au>
Date: Thu, 24 Aug 2006 09:37:44 -0400

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 nonexistent word?>>

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)


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RE: Browseable vs browsable?: From: Kathy Bowman

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