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[csswg-drafts] Informal spellings in specifications (#5850)

From: Sebastian Zartner via GitHub <sysbot+gh@w3.org>
Date: Sun, 10 Jan 2021 18:57:42 +0000
To: public-css-archive@w3.org
Message-ID: <issues.opened-782883615-1610305061-sysbot+gh@w3.org>
SebastianZ has just created a new issue for https://github.com/w3c/csswg-drafts:

== Informal spellings in specifications ==
For some time now informal spellings for commonly used words made it into the specifications. Some examples are "thru", "thruout", and "tho". Examples for specifications using them are [CSS Environment Variables 1](https://drafts.csswg.org/css-env-1/#intro), [CSS Syntax 3](https://drafts.csswg.org/css-syntax-3/#tokenizer-definitions), and [CSS Images 4](https://drafts.csswg.org/css-images-4/#image-set-notation).

As a non-native English speaker who learned English at school, it initially took me a moment to understand what those words actually mean. And my personal thought is that technical specifications, and especially those read by a global audience, should strictly keep to a formal language. As I know that @tabatkins is an advocate of this informal spelling, I already wrote him privately about this some time ago.

His answer back then was:

> "Thru" (and "tho") is a perfectly cromulent spelling. it's considered
informal at this point, but it's been strongly advocated by spelling
reformers in the past, and is specifically used in some technical
journal-ese. It's not prone to non-native misunderstanding; if you
look up "thru" or "tho" it immediately comes up as a spelling variant
of "through"/"though". At worst people might misread it as a spelling
variant of "threw", but that's nonsensical in context and thus not
worth worrying about.
> 
> While informal, it's definitely "correct" English, just a spelling
you're not used to. But I feel strongly that the "silent gh" needs to
die in English, and no longer spell words with it when I can help it.

Though today I saw @dholbert's [patch for fixing "typos" in CSS Images 4](https://github.com/w3c/csswg-drafts/pull/5848 changing "tho" to "though".

Therefore I thought (or as Tab would probably spell it, "thot" 😉), I'd bring this up to a broader audience.

Should it be allowed or even be encouraged to use colloquial or informal spellings and words in specifications?

Sebastian

Please view or discuss this issue at https://github.com/w3c/csswg-drafts/issues/5850 using your GitHub account


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