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H.L. Mencken (1880–1956). The American Language. 1921.

Page 241

endings and in his substitution of s for c in words of the defense class. The Worcester Dictionary is the sole exponent of English spelling in general circulation in the United States. It remains faithful to most of the -re endings, and to manæuvre, gramme, plough, sceptic, woollen, axe and many other English forms. But even Worcester favors such characteristic American spellings as behoove, brier, caliber, checkered, dryly, jail and wagon. The Atlantic Monthly, which is inclined to be stiff and British, follows Webster, but with certain reservations. Thus it uses the -re ending in words of the center class, retains the u in mould, moult and moustache, retains the redundant terminal letters in such words as gramme, programme and quartette, retains the final e in axe and adze, and clings to the double vowels in such words as mediæval, anæsthesia, homœopathy, and diarrhæa. In addition, it uses the English plough, whiskey, clue and gruesome, differentiates between the noun practice and the verb to practise, and makes separate words of to ensure, to make certain, and to insure, to protect or indemnify. It also prefers entrust to intrust. It follows the somewhat arbitrary rule laid down by Webster for the doubling of consonants in derivatives bearing such suffixes as -ed, -ing, -er, and -ous. This rule is that words ending in l, p, r and t, when this last letter is preceded by a vowel, double the consonant before such suffixes, but only if the words are monosyllables or polysyllables accented on the last syllable. Thus dispelled has two l’s but traveled has one, equipped has two p’s but worshiper one, occurred has two r’s but altered one, and petted has two t’s but trumpeter one. 33
  There remains a twilight zone in which usage is still uncertain in both England and America. The words in it are chiefly neologisms, e. g., airplane. In 1914 or thereabout the London Times announced that it had decided to use airplane in place of aëroplane, but three weeks later it went back to the original form. The Concise Oxford sticks to aeroplane (without the dieresis) and so does Cassell’s, though it lists airplane among war terms. The majority of English newspapers follow these authorities, but in the United States airplane is