Bulletin Board (banner)




Write to Dear Am&a with your questions and comments, Oops Alley to mention any errata you find in the site, or The Compliments Window to say nice things.



Proper introductions are as much a standard today as they were in past centuries. While present-day means of connection make the standard subtler, the purpose is the same: to be certain about and trust people we don't know.

That's why a third-party introduction from a known and trusted referrer can be of inestimable value in locating someone who has certain specific abilities, experience, and qualities of character.

And that's why you'll find, here at the end of this column, a list of creative individuals identified by skill category or title. These people are top-drawer professionals who may be available to work with you.

If you are interested making a business connection with any of these people, simply go to the Contact page, include "Creative Connections" in your e-mail's subject line, mention the person's identifying category, and detail your needs. A personal inquiry will be made on your behalf (courtesy of this site), and, if possible, you will be put in direct contact with one another.





Sound editor and archivist. Meticulous audio restoration, as well as digitization of sensitive items stored on media susceptible to deterioration.



Ubercreative hardworking independent. Cocreated full-360° campaign for Sony Ericsson (London).



Gifted commercial portrait and fashion photographer. Acknowledged Canon, Nikon, Leica S-System,
and Leica M-System expert.



Established photographer with expertise and flair in showcasing luxury residential and commercial properties. Personal portrait sessions that put business professionals, graduating students, and others at their ease.



Personable, friendly professional who is passionate about his work. Still photography, event cinematography, and general video production.



Award-winning filmmaker with superior preplanning and organizational skills.



Everything but the kitchen SYNC

sync (a "clipped form" of synchronized, synchronizing, etc.)

sync, synch

With the first spelling, sync, the final c clearly represents a k sound. With the second spelling, synch, an ambiguity is introduced: Is the final ch to be read as a k (so that the word sounds like sink), or as a hard ch as in inch (so that it sounds like cinch)? For clarity, the spelling sync, without the h, may be preferable.

syncs, synchs

Adding an s to sync or synch results in a k sound (for both the c and the ch. However, because sync is unambiguous, as noted above, synchs is perhaps not as useful a variation. (In order for synchs to be pronounced with the same ch sound as in cinches, an e would have to be added after the ch, before the s.)

synched, synching

In the case where an "inflectional suffix"—such as -ed (past tense), -ing (the progressive), or -er (to signify a person or "doer" or the comparative more)—is added, the h from the original, fully spelled-out word is brought back to ensure that the word is spoken with a k sound.

Where an inflectional suffix that starts with either an e or an i (-ed, -er, or -ing) is added after a letter that represents more than one sound (such as c, which can sound like s or k, or g, which can sound like a hard g or a j), then what governs is the rule that says the c would be pronounced "soft," as an s. By adding the h after the c here, the sync- is not inadvertently read to sound like since.


(1) Spelling (notation) follows sound (pronunciation).

(2) Dispense with ambiguity wherever possible.

(3) Superior rules govern. In this case, c is usually pronounced as s before the vowels e, i, and y and as a k after the vowels a, o, and u.

Some Other Words That Work Like This

arc, arced, arcingarc, arcked, arcking

Both arced/arcing and arcked/arcking appear in the dictionary as correct forms. However, according to the principles noted above, it follows that the second choice, of adding the k before a suffix that starts with an -e or an -i, ensures clarity of pronunciation and keeps the reader from having to backtrack to make sure that "sound follows sense"—that how the word is pronounced matches the context in which it is used.

mimic, mimicked, mimicking, mimicker

panic, panicked, panicking

picnic, picnicking, picnicker


spec (the clipped form of specification, specified, specify, etc.), specs, specked, specking, etc.


sic, siccing (with the cc still ensuring that the k sound is retained)

Widespread Alternate Usage

Considering the vast reach of such companies as Google and Apple, it may behoove them to consider carefully how even the least of their editors' decisions will impact our language.

With that in mind, consider the following interesting case in point:

Adobe has had a "Liquify" tool in its Illustrator and Photoshop programs for many years now; many people have viewed that spelling; and no doubt many have believed the word liquify was correctly spelled as shown and have thus spelled it that way themselves (a fact evident from a Google search, which readily brings up instances of the lowercase form of the misspelled word). Despite the multiplication factor of the Internet, the proliferation of an error does not somehow correct it. According to reliable dictionaries, the word liquefy is still spelled with an e in its second syllable.

In re RE-

In re re-


The word resign (meaning to relinquish, etc.) is used more often than the word re-sign (meaning to sign again), so the more complicated second spelling, with the added hyphen, is assigned to the word less used. This need for visual differentiation arises from the different pronunciation of each word.

First, the s in resign is pronounced as a z; in re-sign, it’s pronounced as an s. Second, in resign the stress is on the second syllable; in re-sign, both syllables get equal emphasis.


The word resent (meaning to feel indignant, etc.) is used more often than the word re-sent (meaning sent again). Again, the hyphen is used to distinguish the two visually, with the s in resent being pronounced as a z and the s in re-sent being pronounced as an s. The syllabic emphasis is like that of resign and re-sign, noted above.

recreation, recreatere-creation, re-create

Of the four words just above, recreation is probably the most used, and, ironically, its counterpart, recreate, is probably the least used.

Since there is a need to distinguish the pairs visually—recreation/recreate having to do with play and relaxation and re-creation/re-create having to do with creating anew—a hyphen is assigned to the less commonly used pair.

In the first pair, the first syllable sounds like wreck, with a short e. In the second, it’s just re, with a long e. In the first, the third syllable (of four) is pronounced as a long a. In the second, the first two syllables receive equal emphasis, and the third gets the main stress.

ALL RIGHT, already

all right • already

Although odds are that you’ve seen alright in print somewhere, it’s considered a nonstandard, "disputed" spelling. Not only is it all right to use all right, it’s considered correct.

Already is all right, though.

Go lighter on the ZIP

zip code (and other acronymic terms and words)

The U.S. Postal Service came up with the acronymic ZIP (zoning improvement plan) code way back in 1963. While on occasion you might still see the uppercase spelling, it probably should be retired.

First, the word zip, which the originators deliberately chose when they fashioned their acronym, sufficiently captures the essence of speediness they intended. In fact, the acronym is like any other "real" word in English, with no missing vowels or unusual combinations of consonants.

Second, the acronym is a term for a thing rather than an entity (and therefore doesn’t need the capitalization that proper nouns require).

Finally, the acronym has been absorbed into the language in much the way certain others have which, for practical reasons, are no longer formatted with uppercase lettering. Specifically, blocks of uppercase lettering in a piece of writing draw attention to themselves and become obstacles to reading flow, especially when readers are already familiar with those terms in their spoken language.

It is proposed that, once and for all, the term zip code (née ZIP code) join the ranks of the following:

radar (which used to be RADAR, for radio detecting
and ranging)

sonar (which used to be SONAR, for sound navigation
and ranging)

scuba (which used to be SCUBA, for self-contained
underwater breathing apparatus)

laser (which used to be LASER, for light amplification
by stimulated emission of radiation)

maser (which used to be MASER, for microwave
amplification by stimulated emission of radiation)

snafu (which used to be SNAFU, for situation
normal,all f***ed up, fouled being the elected polite form)

It's likely that NIMBY (referring to a person with a
"not in my back yard"* attitude) is a good candidate for this list and will soon show up as the lowercase nimby.

*See the YARD duty pulltab for a discussion.

YARD duty

back yard, backyard • front yard, frontyard • schoolyard • junkyard (etc.)

The term backyard has come into wide use in print and is selected indiscriminately as either an adjective or a noun despite its being spoken aloud in two completely different ways according to context. If it is acting as an adjective, the first syllable gets the emphasis (as in backyard barbecue). If it’s acting as a noun, the two syllables are emphasized equally; on that basis, the component words should actually remain separate (as in a barbecue in my back yard), with back serving as the adjective for the noun yard.

This same principle holds true for other "yard" words that have adjectives—but not nouns—preceding the second component, a noun. That is, the adjectives front and side precede the noun yard in front yard and side yard (for the two-word adjective-noun combinations). The fused words frontyard and sideyard serve as the "modifiers" (words acting, in this case, as adjectives) for this type of combination, to describe other nouns in turn.

But words like schoolyard and junkyard are a permanent fusion of two nouns, with a spoken emphasis on the first syllable as a way of distinguishing "which kind of yard" or "which yard."

Step up to the MIKE

mike, microphone

In some quarters a trend has been advanced to spell the truncated (“clipped”), colloquial form of the word microphone as mic instead of the historically acceptable, universally used, and dictionary-authorized mike.

The customary notational conventions of English would have us read mic with a short i, to sound like Mick. Typically, words in English have an e at the end when the preceding vowel is to be pronounced long. So, to retain the long i sound of microphone in the shortened form of this particular word, it is necessary to add an e and then change the c to a k to remind us of the sound the c represented in the original.

Further, because people tend to make verbs out of nouns and the verbs are to be conjugated, notice the issue presented: What do you get when you add -ed and -ing to mic but the awkward miced and micing? Using mike (with a k) as the base word resolves this handily, yielding miked and miking (not to mention mikable), as that convention has done since soon after the audio device in question was invented.

Comedy clubs and cabarets are therefore free to post "Open Mike Tonight" signs without reprisal.

The Extra E

sizable • likable • mileage • gluing, etc. • replaceable, etc. • etc.

The word sizable doesn’t need an extra e after the z. The e gets dropped when the -able is added, which allows the long i in the first syllable to continue to be pronounced as a long i. The dictionary recognizes sizeable as an alternate spelling, however. The same principle applies to likable and likeable.

Mileage is most commonly seen spelled with the extra e after the l. Although milage, without that e, is seen much less often, it is correct, too.

When adding -ed to glue (and similar words), the final e of glue is removed first (or the word would become glueed). It follows, then, that when adding -ing to glue, again the e is dropped, replaced by -ing, to get gluing (instead of glueing).

Words like replaceable retain the e after the c so that the c will still be pronounced as an s (a soft c). If the e in front of -able were dropped, the c would instead be pronounced as a k (a hard c).

OKAY by me

The Okay Korral

The origin of O.K., which has evolved into OK, okay, and even K for those with texting thumbs, is fairly settled. Webster’s credits Boston Morning Post editor C. G. Greene with the claim that O.K. is an abbreviation for “oll korrect,” a jocular misspelling of “all correct” which arose in connection with Martin Van Buren and his 1840 campaign for the U.S. presidency. Also, O.K. is short for Old Kinderhook, which was both the name of Van Buren’s home village and the nickname attached to him. In A Browser’s Dictionary John Ciardi says that while Van Buren’s campaign revived the term, O.K. actually harks back to about 1825, in the form of Orl Korreck, "a waggish game of ‘murdering the King’s English’" Bostonians of the era played.

Regardless, pluralizing the noun and conjugating the verb have been a messy proposition, with the forms O.K.’s, OK’s, O.K.’d, OK’d, O.K.’ing, and OK’ing emerging out of editorial necessity. While the journalese of "fitting all the print" nevertheless persists, perhaps editors will wisely avoid attempts at possessive forms of these already awkward notations.

A more straightforward and "elegant" solution, perhaps, is the auditorily spelled okay (okays, okayed, okaying), with its omission of extraneous punctuation marks.

Keeping up with the POSSESSIVES

Three Handy Reference Grids

Attention arrowProper names with an s at the end follow these rules:

Category Example Name(s) Illustration
First name, singular Gladys (Jones) Gladys
First name, singlular, possessive Gladys (Jones) Gladys's
First name, plural Gladys (Jones) and Gladys (Smith) Gladyses
First name, plural, possessive Gladys (Jones) and Gladys (Smith) Glaydyses'
Surname, singular (Gladys) Jones Jones
Surname, singular, possessive (Gladys) Jones Jones's
Surname, plural (Charles and Gladys) Jones Joneses
Surname, plural, possessive (Charles and Gladys) Jones Joneses'

Attention arrowProper names without an s at the end are easier:

Category Example Name(s) Illustration
First name, singular Mary (Smith) Mary
First name, singular, possessive Mary (Smith) Mary's
First name, plural Mary (Smith) and Mary (Jones) Marys
First name, plural, possessive Mary (Smith) and Mary (Jones) Marys'
Surname, singular (Mary) Smith Smith
Surname, singular, possessive (Mary) Smith Smith's
Surname, plural (John and Mary) Smith Smiths
Surname, plural, possessive (John and Mary) Smith Smiths'

Attention arrowAnd here’s a template for year dates:

Category Illustration Spelled Out
Singular 1950 nineteen fifty
Singular, possessive 1950's nineteen fifty's
Plural 1950s nineteen fifties
Plural, possessive 1950s' nineteen fifties'
Shortened singular '50 fifty
Shortened singular, possessive '50's fifty's
Shortened plural '50s fifties
Shortened plural, possessive '50s' fifties'
Why "One More Once"?
"April in Paris," bandleaders Count Basie and Duke Ellington, arranger Wild Bill Davis, composer Vernon Duke (aka Vladimir Dukelsky), and lyricist Edgar Yipsel (E. Y. "Yip") Harburg.






Link to Sign Gallery page of OneMoreOnce.com
image of a key

An Editing Service for People Who Need Exceptionally Clean CopySM

Make contact via OneMoreOnce.com's Contact page or by calling (415) 488-6398.
Copyright © 2010–2013 Anne Ross