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Correct spelling is crucial to ensuring that the site is easy to read and trusted. There are a number of troublesome examples that are either frequently written incorrectly, misunderstood or where multiple forms are accepted. In the latter case, we just need to choose one form for the sake of uniformity. The term orthography, is the formal term for the system of spelling for any language, although it also encompasses punctuation.
Before we begin, it is worth noting that Radiopaedia no longer favors British over American spelling. Read more: British vs American English.
A list of words that have several different forms, with the favored form placed first:
- follow-up (not follow up or followup)
x-ray (not xray or x ray or X ray or Xray)
- only 'X-ray' when following standard capitalization rules e.g. at the start of a sentence, when in a reference or forming part of a proper noun
Some specific word choices that merit a discussion of their own:
- a vs an
- words we never use
- heterogeneous vs heterogenous
- mucus vs mucous
All words with prefixes (e.g. hyper, hypo, intra, extra) should be one word, with a hyphen if a duplicate vowel is present:
The main exception to this rule is the prefix 'non'.
- non-specific rather than nonspecific
Generally we do not mandate a hyphen for a double consonant, e.g. we prefer transsphenoidal to trans-sphenoidal.
This does not mean that common English words with duplicate vowels are to be hyphenated of course.