Appendix III: Word Wise


Q, R


qua – as; in the capacity of.

Used to identify a person or thing in one capacity in distinction to another (The manager had neither tact nor charm but qua organiser he was
) or to stress a primary capacity in distinction to subsidiaries (The food was beautifully presented but qua food it was mediocre).


quad bikes.

Four-wheeled two-wheelers? Perhaps they come with limited lifetime guarantees. Quad cycles makes rather more sense.


quarrel, quarrelled,quarrelling, quarrelsome – (UK)
quarrel, quarreled, quarreling, quarrelsome – (US)


question mark.

The question mark (or interrogation mark) is used with direct questions (What time does the train depart?) and rhetorical questions (Who knows?). It
is not used with indirect questions (She asked the guard what time the train departs) or with requests and expressions of goodwill (Could you please 
confirm the time of departure
; May I wish you a pleasant journey).

(See the question mark.)


queueing, queuing.

Optional. Both The Guardian1 and The Times2 opt for queueing.


quid pro quo  something for something.

The return of a favour or concession: His lighter sentence was a quid pro quo for agreeing to turn Queen's evidence.


quotation marks.

Either single or double marks may be chosen. The marks are used to indicate direct speech and to cite works published under other titles (e.g. 
short stories, articles, essays and short poems). Italics are used to cite books, newspapers, films, plays, long poems, works of art and foreign 

(See quotation marks and italics.)


q.v.quod vide (which see). Used to direct a reader to another part of the script for a definition or explanation.

(See abbreviations.)


racket – (recommended)
racquet – (variant)


rateable – (UK)
ratable – (US)

Rateable is the choice of Burchfield,3 The Oxford Compendium,4 The Guardian5 and The Times.6 The American dictionaries, Random House7 and 
offer ratable as the principal spelling with rateable as an option.

(See separate entries on knowledgeable, likeable, movable, sizeable, unmistakable and unshakeable.)


re, re-.

To signify repetition, the prefix re takes an obligatory hyphen in two circumstances: (a) when (in British English) the principal word begins with e:
re-educate, re-elect, re-employ, re-engage, re-enter, re-examine and so forth; and (b) when the word would 
otherwise duplicate the spelling of
another: re-bound (rebound), re-cede (recede), re-coil (recoil), re-collect (recollect), re-count 
(recount), re-cover (recover), re-creation (recreation),
re-dress (redress), re-form (reform), re-fund (refund), re-fuse (refuse), re-lay 
(relay), re-mark (remark), re-present (represent), re-serve (reserve),
re-sign (resign), re-sort (resort), re-strain (restrain). Beyond 
this, hyphens are not required but are occasionally used when the principal word begins
with r. The Oxford Compendium,9 for 
example, gives re-readable (but reread), re-record, re-release, re-roof, re-route (but rerun). The only other
hyphenations that appear 
in that dictionary seem arbitrary: re-advertise, re-soluble and re-time. All other re words are not normally hyphenated: 
rebid, redivide, regrow, reimpose, rejig, relight, resit and so forth.

(See also the hyphen.)


realise – (UK)
realize – (US and UK)

(See -ise-and -ize-ending verbs.)


the reason is because – (incorrect)
the reason is that  – (correct)

The reason he didn't attend the meeting is because he felt ill. The error here is easily seen when we consider that because means 'for the reason
that', so that the sentence is actually stating, 
The reason he didn't attend the meeting is for the reason that he felt ill. Corrected: The reason he
didn't attend the meeting is that he felt ill


referendum, referendums (rather than referenda).

(See English- and Latin-ending plurals.)


reflection – (current)
reflexion – (obsolete)

(See -xion endings.)


refute – disprove.
deny – declare untrue; disclaim; refuse.

Refute is often incorrectly used for deny: The defendant refuted the charges against him. Defendants deny charges; it is the business of their 
counsel to refute them.


Renaissance – so spelt.


rendezvous – so spelt.


repellant – (obsolete)
repellent – (n. & adj.) (current)


repetitive – recurring.
repetitious – recurring unnecessarily or tediously.

Where the emphasis is on tedium or non-necessity, repetitious is more accurate: a repetitious job, a repetitious essay.


restaurateur, not restauranteur.


retch – (v.) convulse the stomach as if to vomit.
wretch – (n.) an unfortunate or pathetic person; a rogue.

rhythmic, rhythmical.



rise – (UK) an increase in salary
raise – (US) the same.


roofs, not rooves.

(But see hoofs, hooves.)



Répondez s’il vous plaît (please reply). Beware of the pleonasms RSVP please and RSVP requested.

(See also clichés, pleonasms and verbosity.)



Strictly a noun in formal English. A report, for example, is criticised, not rubbished.


run down – (v.) to run down the hill.
run-down – (adj.) a run-down building.
rundown – (n.) provide a rundown of the figures.



1 The Guardian Style Guide. Multiple access, 200203.
2 The Times Style Guide. No longer available on line. Multiple access, 200203
3 R. W. Burchfield (ed.), The New Fowler’s Modern English Usage, Third Revised Edition, OUP, 1998.
4 The Oxford Compendium Concise Dictionary, 9th Edition, OUP, 1995.
5 The Guardian Style Guide.
6 The Times Style Guide.
7 The Random House Dictionary of the English Language, Random House, New York, 1967.
Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, Könemann, 1993.
The Oxford Compendium Concise Dictionary, 9th Edition, OUP, 1995.
10 Burchfield, op. cit.



























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