accent marks : Common Errors in English

accent marks

In what follows, “accent mark” will be used in a loose sense to include all diacritical marks that guide pronunciation. Operating systems and programs differ in how they produce accent marks, but it’s worth learning how yours works. Writing them in by hand afterwards looks amateurish.Words adopted from foreign languages sometimes carry their accent marks with them, as in “fiancé, ” “protégé,” and “cliché.” As words become more at home in English, they tend to shed the marks: “Café” is often spelled “cafe.” Unfortunately, “résumé” seems to be losing its marks one at a time (see under “”). Many computer users have not learned their systems well enough to understand how to produce the desired accent and often insert an apostrophe (curled) or foot mark (straight) after the accented letter instead: “cafe'.” This is both ugly and incorrect. The same error is commonly seen on storefront signs. So far we’ve used examples containing acute (right-leaning) accent marks. French and Italian (but not Spanish) words often c
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