I use SOX and I get notified whenever there is anything new on meta. Today, I saw this edit to a post. It replaced favourites with favorites, which seems like a preference to English (US). However, everyone seems to understand either of them so it seems entirely superfluous.

However, I would like to know the official site policy on such edits.

The edit

  • 8
    $\begingroup$ Of course the site has no "official policy" on this. I, personally, would not make such an edit. This particular original is slightly strange, with spelling favorite and plural favourites. $\endgroup$
    – GEdgar
    May 30, 2019 at 12:10
  • 16
    $\begingroup$ Somebody used “favorite” as a verb, and what people are most worried about is the spelling??? $\endgroup$ May 30, 2019 at 13:04
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ @Jeremy: Maybe it's their favourite thing to do! $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    May 30, 2019 at 13:10
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ @JeremyRickard not sure if you are serious, but by now it can be found in certain dictionaries with exactly the intended meaning. $\endgroup$
    – quid Mod
    May 30, 2019 at 14:44
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ @quid Not entirely serious. And yes, I know it’s a common usage, but that doesn’t mean we can’t resist! $\endgroup$ May 30, 2019 at 17:18
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ @JeremyRickard I would favorite your comment if I could on this platform. Verbing nouns in English is undignified. $\endgroup$
    – Xander Henderson Mod
    May 31, 2019 at 3:29
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Hey guys! I was using an online grammar checking plugin. I made this edit since ''Grammarly'' suggested it. No offense, I will try to avoid this kind of edits. Best~ $\endgroup$
    – Bach
    Jun 1, 2019 at 15:50
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Xander, I believe the original was "Verbing weirds language." reddit.com/r/linguistics/comments/ky81y/verbing_weirds_language $\endgroup$ Jun 2, 2019 at 0:49
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @GerryMyerson Honestly, that was exactly the comic I had in mind. $\endgroup$
    – Xander Henderson Mod
    Jun 2, 2019 at 5:23
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Don’t forget Canadian spelling conventions! which mix -ize and -our as well accept both -xion and -ction $\endgroup$ Jun 2, 2019 at 21:35
  • $\begingroup$ @ChaseRyanTaylor I knew I had read connexion somewhere! $\endgroup$
    – David
    Jun 7, 2019 at 10:47
  • $\begingroup$ Off-topic: What is SOX? $\endgroup$ Jun 11, 2019 at 5:16
  • $\begingroup$ Please see here stackapps.com/questions/6091/stack-overflow-extras-sox @StammeringMathematician $\endgroup$ Jun 11, 2019 at 8:30
  • $\begingroup$ @MohammadZuhairKhan Bhaijaan Thanks :) $\endgroup$ Jun 11, 2019 at 8:32

2 Answers 2


First, for the specific edit, I think the UK vs US spelling is not the main point.

In the post the spelling was mixed it said (my emphasis): "[...] should we block the capacity to favorite a question [...]" yet then "[...] lots of questions which have more favourites than [...]". To the best of my knowledge it is generally discouraged to mix the spelling conventions.

I would say if there is a mix for what is basically the same word it is simply an error (even if a minor one). I think it is generally agreed upon that minor spelling errors can be fixed, yet some restraint should be shown. (That is not mass-fixes of the same minor issue over the site. Also fix other errors in the post, not just one. Etc.) In that sense, I think the specific edit is fine.

For spelling more broadly, both are fine. There is no reason to copy-edit posts from one spelling convention to the other. Generally, copy-editing to fit some particular preferences for style is discouraged.

One additional point, for technical terms, such as "favorites" in the given context, there might be a case for giving preferences to the spelling actually used on the site. But that is a detail.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I agree! I think the reason why "Grammarly" suggested the edit is the mixture of spelling which should be discouraged. $\endgroup$
    – Bach
    Jun 1, 2019 at 16:18
  • $\begingroup$ I wouold personally insist on not relying on software to do your job! $\endgroup$
    – David
    Jun 12, 2019 at 13:12

I am the guy who made this edit and I am very sorry for that~ I am not a native English speaker and I was using an online grammar checking plugin. The reason I edited the post is that "Grammarly" suggested the edit. I will try to avoid such situations. Best regards.

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I apologise for not even reading through the entire post. I only saw the edited part and I made a meta post. It appears Grammarly was correct as there were two dialects in the post. I will try to read the entire post from the next time. $\endgroup$ Jun 1, 2019 at 16:43
  • 15
    $\begingroup$ Ugh. Be very careful with Grammarly when working with technical language, such as this site. There are special idiosyncratic constructions in math that are grammatically suspect, but which are done for very specific technical reasons or for historical reasons. Grammarly probably blows its top when someone writes about “the Green’s functions”, for example.... $\endgroup$ Jun 2, 2019 at 12:49
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @ArturoMagidin It’s okay buddy. No hard feelings at all $\ddot\smile$ I admire you going to such thorough extents to practice (practise?) your English! $\endgroup$ Jun 2, 2019 at 21:37
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @ChaseRyanTaylor Excuse me? Were you trying to address the OP, rather than me? $\endgroup$ Jun 3, 2019 at 2:51
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @ArturoMagidin Oh yeah, I was trying to address Mohammad $\endgroup$ Jun 3, 2019 at 2:58
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ ^^ @MohammadZuhairKhan ^^ $\endgroup$ Jun 3, 2019 at 2:58
  • $\begingroup$ And this is why you shouldn't rely on machines to do your own work! $\endgroup$
    – David
    Jun 7, 2019 at 10:48
  • $\begingroup$ @ChaseRyanTaylor was that comment meant towards Bach? $\endgroup$ Jun 7, 2019 at 16:31

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