Thomas Freudenberg

Confessions of a caffeine addict

Separate vs. Seperate

Because I can't stand it anymore: separate vs. seperate


jayson knight said:

I'm guilty of this one all the time...

# January 25, 2007 2:32 AM

Freuden.berg said:

Tom F. greets Tom F.

# February 19, 2007 6:19 AM

JoJo said:

I say that we should stick with the "traditional" version, but still have the "new" and more commonly used version be acceptable.

# March 29, 2008 2:32 PM

me said:

The two meanings are so different that I think it is a good thing if the language evolves to handle it. "To separate" and things that are already "seperate" are very different and having this captured in the word is a "good thing" as Martha would say.

# April 1, 2008 5:04 AM

Vincent Stratley said:

well...4 SepErate Ways is the name of my band. We spell it with an e. I think it's better with an e. Anyway, check us out on myspace!!!

# April 25, 2008 3:36 PM

Joanna L Zahn said:

Seperate is not a word "Martha"

# June 1, 2008 9:25 PM

NeilF said:

Correct. Seperate is not a word.

M$ Word does not recognize it.

Spell does not recognize it. does not recognize it.

# June 27, 2008 12:14 PM

Krystyna M. said:

Well, I suppose in a few years it won't matter anyway, whether it's separate or seperate. The world adds new words to the dictionary all the time. Granted it may not be in there now, but if a whole bunch of people just start spelling it that way and keep spelling it that way, then it'll be acknowledged as a different way of spelling separate.

Personally, I think it just depends on how you talk or where you come from. If you sound it out as "separate" when you talk, then that's how you probably spell it. If you sound it out as "seperate" when you talk, then that's how you're going to spell it.

# July 1, 2008 10:29 AM

Lee K said:

Indeed, it has to be one of the most annoying things in the world, when a word you have used all of your life is somehow misspelled then just added willy-nilly to a dictionary just because someone could not be bothered to correct the mistake. It's just sad, that with the advent of personal computers, and software having spell checking built in, that people can't even be bothered to click a button to make sure it's all good before making a fool of themselves.

# July 2, 2008 4:43 AM

Raissa said:

The right spelling is SEPARATE but the way we pronounce it is SEPERATE =)

# July 10, 2008 1:34 AM

fifi said:

I just saw "seperate" on a comment on a Flickr photo. It looked wrong to my eyes. To be sure, I asked my 17 year old son "how d'you spell separate?" , without placing undue emphasis on the "a' syllable. "s e p a r a t e", came the answer.I think people who have seen the word "desperate" may be the cause of the confusion?

# July 16, 2008 1:27 PM

Justabrowser said:

I disagree with those who think that language rules are a matter of mass usage and nothing else.

Etymology: Middle English, from Latin separatus, past participle of separare, from se- apart + parare to prepare, procure — more at secede, pare

Date: 15th century

From the original Latin separatus, we evolve to the modern separate. English is based on Latin, Germanic, Greek, and some Cyrillic and Arabic. As a living language, many influences have and continue to influence its evolution. However, separatus has never been spelled seperatus. Whenever there is a question as to how a word should be spelled, we can always look to the etymology for guidance. Without rules, chaos exists. There would be no need to teach etymology and ancient roots of language if rules didn't matter. Uneducated people are the only ones who will state that "whatever people do the most prevails". What nonsense. What's next? Redefinition of the words? They mean whatever most people statistically say they mean? Pizza means hamburger now because everyone accepts it? Bullshit.

# August 13, 2008 3:53 PM

Nonspeller said:

Well words change meaning all the time, etymology isn't always that great it helps but it's not perfect never has been never will be.

There are worse things than seperate; then/than mistakes are so common that they should be homonyms these days.

# August 26, 2008 2:42 AM

B.M. said:

look!...english is not my first language...but i am sure, i swear to GOD i've seen sepErate sure it is with an E :'( h2h2h2h2 :'(

to me, sepErate looks the right one...

sepArate sounds like an illetrate bedouin or thrash american trying to spell...

sepArate doesn't even look english...seperate even looks better!!!!

# August 26, 2008 8:33 AM

Zak said:

New and simpler spellings are always being introduced.  We use "plow" for "plough" now, and eventually we'll probably use "thru" for "through" and "nite" for "night".  British English still spells a lot of words the traditional way, like "draught"... but most Americans looking at that word would think it says "drought" (because we're used to seeing "draft" instead of "draught").

The definitive Correct Spelling is whatever's in the dictionary, and that is mostly a matter of whatever people in your area are using.

# August 27, 2008 12:38 PM

ilky D said:

I'm also guilty of misspelling that one. But I just realized something reading the posts and working on photoshop with this word...

Many people suggested that "seperate" looks better. Visually it does, I agree, from design perspective the "e" flows much more smoothly to the "t" -- makes a tidy composition. The shape of the "a" in between the "p" and the "t" causes a brief pause; which coincidentally makes conceptual sense considering the meaning of the word.

Just wondering... maybe the common misspelling of this word also has something to the with the Gestalt factor.

Anyway, I'll probably remember to spell it right from now on :)

# August 30, 2008 1:45 AM

Oliver said:

Did you just start a sentence with 'because'?

How about the death of 'disinterested' or the overuse of 'literally' as an intensifier?

Oh, the humanity!

The horror, the horror...

# August 30, 2008 9:40 AM

Valley Girl said:

Oh myGod! Totally...

# September 11, 2008 6:46 PM

Steve Perry said:

Someday love will find you

Break those chains that bind you

One night will remind you

How we touched

And went our separate ways

If he ever hurts you

True love won't desert you

You know I still love you

Though we touched

And went our separate ways

# September 16, 2008 6:41 AM

g00mba said:

Surely there must be something more important to discuss?

BTW ((I bet you guys hate that don't you?) it means "By the Way" for all you anal etymologists who wish we could all speak in Shakespearean prose and use a dozen words when 1 will do), I got here by searching Google to check how to spell the word correctly. With an 'A' seemed wrong to me, even though that is how I had just typed it.

No flame, just a little pissed on wine and I hate toffs.

cya ;)

# October 5, 2008 3:56 PM

bib said:

Anyone interested in etymology should be fully aware of the follies of linguistic prescriptivism and the fact that phonological, phonemic, spelling and semantic drift are all natural parts of the eternal process of language evolution, which has its roots in neurobiology and will not be stopped by technology or the implementation of rules.

If words didn't change there would be no such thing as etymology.

# October 5, 2008 6:42 PM

Astral Symphony said:

The fact that Word or other programs doesn't recognize "seperate" or "seperete" is irrelevant. Yes, those spellings are incorrect, but Word and other programs fail to recognize droves of scientific words and neologisms as well. Word processors and dictionaries can never be complete in this day and age, due to the fact that as science and technology advance, new words are constantly being coined for both general use and in various specialized communities.

# October 7, 2008 8:36 PM

Astral Symphony said:

Additionally, there's nothing wrong with starting a sentence with because. Alot (which, incidentally, is another newly compounded word in the vein of "alright" that teachers stupidly frown upon) of BS rules were forced on me at an early age in school, and I quickly realized that teachers and etymologists didn't create the English language.

We all did, we all do, and we all will (we being any fluent English-speaker, of which there are well over one billion). All of us as a whole are continually crafting this language we call English. The process is continual, and ever-changing. English from several centuries ago is now unreadable. Go look at Beowulf for example.

More recent examples of English, such as Shakespeare's works, are still readable for a modern English-speaker, but doing so is awkward and difficult. English will continue to evolve, and very well may look much different 500 years from now.

# October 7, 2008 8:50 PM

Astral Symphony said:

While it is true that "plough" has changed into "plow," "draught," and "drought" mean two different things, at least in modern American English. A draught is a drink, usually a liquor or medicinal drink. In British English, it is in the same family as "draft" and "drafty." A drought is a dry period. As is evidenced by the red dotted line beneath "draught" in this window, Firefox does recognize the word, while Word does. This is because "draught" is not a commonly used word today. It may disappear completely in the coming years.

What will happen if, as another commenter suggested, "through becomes "thru," and "night" becomes "nite?" I don't believe that is a wise path. Although I support natural linguistic evolution, I do not support stupidity. "All right" was a natural choice for conversion from phrase to compound word, and "alright" is now widely accepted. Hopefully "a lot" will enjoy acceptance as a "alot" on the same level someday, but I guess it doesn't really matter since "alot" is already in widespread use.

But what about "thru" and "nite?" I don't like the commercial origins and implications of those words. They, and many other such words in use today, echo eerily with Newspeak, Orwell's fictional oversimplification of the English language, which was intentionally engineered to destroy the ability to articulate philosophical and creative concepts, as well as the ability to voice dissent. Newspeak made liberal use of atrocious words such as "gooder," and doubleplusgood." I personally don't want to see language go down that path, for aesthetic as well as cultural concerns.

# October 7, 2008 9:13 PM

Astral Symphony said:

*Firefox does not

# October 7, 2008 11:15 PM

hannah said:

hahaha. i agree with everyone. i dont think the spelling looks all that correct when its "separate" but as the smart person said "etymology" is a big part of language. and also i dont think we should be having this dispute over the miss spelling of a word,it's rather idiotic. and nice analogy about the pizza and burgers. hah.

# October 16, 2008 9:02 AM

leeeggy said:

good god, i can't believe this what i'm reading, because who has the time to debate such tripe. Obviously me as i'm commenting..... I'm going to bed and i won't loose any sleep over this althouugh i do pride myself on my spelling, i did get this wrong.... anyway, beer then bed.

# October 16, 2008 9:53 AM

leeeggy said:

i spelt "lose" wrong... What a nob! i'll hang my head i shame

# October 22, 2008 12:45 PM

Astral Symphony said:

We debate such "tripe" because it is intellectually stimulating and interesting to us. It may also be more important than you realize.

# October 25, 2008 11:39 PM

David said:

My thoughts on the matter:  "Damn, I'd better sepArpate those two idiots"!  Or, "my home has four sepErate bedrooms.  Are ya'll all that dumbed down by blogging?  P.S I never blog.

# October 30, 2008 8:48 PM

spstache said:

Semantics? Too-mah-toe or too-may-toe? Depending on geographic locations, dialects affect resultant spellings, don't they? My pet irritation is people pronouncing contractions incorrectly. Since when did the contraction wouldn't become wood-dent? or wou'ent? or didn't become did-dent or di'ent? Sheesh!

# November 13, 2008 8:25 AM

Chris said:

I pronounce it 'sepret', because I'm from Lancashire, and I spell it 'separate', because that's how you spell it. /argument

# November 19, 2008 4:12 AM

=] said:

who cares? its one of them words that everyone is going to spell differantly so why don't we just leave it at that?!

# November 20, 2008 11:40 AM

mary Boyle said:

who cares about  spelling (" intellectual   snobbery has never been more prevalent amongst those who rally around an isolated idea of mental superiority clearly furnished through privileged education") perfect grammar and tonality key to obtaining validity?... [ in my mind this sheds light on an egocentric focus on our self presentation ... the modern youth as far as i can see is soo "advanced" as too believe that spelling and grammer are insight into a persons intellect... how terribly confining... To me the most enchanting thing about the intellect is that it is not contained by expectation or presentation despite our efforts.. it really is the true measure our potential  always shocking even us in it's exprsesivity

# November 24, 2008 2:18 AM

TT said:

Good god, there are people here arguing for separate who go on to spell recognise with a 'z'! Bloody daft yanks, your whole culture is a result of poorly remembered English culture, like someone forgot all the rules to rugby except for the shape of the ball - ship rats escaping poverty who lacked education playing chinese whispers with language and culture. And you claim to be English speaking, you give English a bad name.... :D

# December 10, 2008 1:32 AM

confused said:

hellp..i dont get it it is with an "a" or an "e" ? i spell it with an E but my madre said i was wrong soo idk

# December 14, 2008 5:00 PM

awhitestl said:

Just saw "seperate" used in today's online edition of the New York Times.  I am appalled.  

# December 20, 2008 10:57 AM

Dave said:

Sloppy writing reflects sloppy thinking. Even worse is the common use of conjunctions for starting sentences. And some seem to think its okay. But I don't think so.

# December 23, 2008 4:24 AM

Rick said:

Simple; if you want to use English use an 'a'. If you want to appear to all as an ill educated, lazy dumbo use an 'e' ! Your call.

# December 24, 2008 4:29 AM

Pat said:

What a waste of energy. The nitpickers of the world will always look for ways to put other people down. Your ability to stick rigidly to a certain system doesn't make you any more interesting or likable. As long as you can understand the message, who really cares?

# March 9, 2009 4:51 PM

Betty Boo said:

This is great! I used both the correct and incorrect spelling today in IM. Did I just see an Alicia Keys song quoted here? Wow! You gotta love it!

# March 10, 2009 2:20 AM

Naomi said:

TT: you may want to study up on the history of English culture- YOUR fabulous culture- which is the result of quite a mishmash of different peoples immigrating to the British isles. Golly, it's almost like how the United States' culture came to be!

Implying that American culture is based entirely on British culture is absurd and ethnocentric to the extreme. You should educate yourself before you call others "daft".

Oh and one more thing- you're an ass.

# March 11, 2009 7:12 PM

Michael Corder said:

Oh My! I, too, ended up on this page attempting to verify the correct spelling. Unfortunately, I verified that I was correct! (see below). However, I let the missive I was constructing languish while I perused this fascinating and strangely compelling debate. I decided that my email - telling the shift supervisor that the strange alarm in question meant he had better check on the device that separates radioactive waste from the river discharge water - could wait. Our entire language is at stake. But, seriously - I'm kidding.

This is one of those few words that I know I spell wrong, every time, so I check them, every time. Alas, I must be capable of some learning reform, because this time I got it right, by myself. I cannot separate my feeling of accomplishment, from my feeling of once again being waylaid by the internet. Yes, I do use a spell checker, but only after I am done writing. I feel if I do not put forth the effort to learn how to do it right in the first place, I will be dependant on a crutch for the rest of my journey. - But, I DO cheat on the words I know I cannot spell.

Thank you everyone for this brief, interesting, side-trip during my daily grind.

# March 12, 2009 9:57 AM

AdamK said:

LOL ..I agree MikeC..better things to do but this was kinda interesting..

**Justabrowser** -- started the etymology thread, forgot to include the gaelic and french influences on our language. ALso forgot to point out that part of the etymology of the English laguage IS Shakespeare, meaning, when he needed a new word, he 'made it up'..true he was a linguist and followed rules in his word-making, but make em up he did. Language is living, does evolve and change..BUT adding words to a dictionary because people can't be bothered to spell  them right is wrong..spelling suggests..ahh never mind, ..

"The English language had deteriorated into a hybrid of hillbilly, valleygirl, inner-city slang and various grunts."..[but someone who speaks proper English (non-Ameicanized) sounds,] "..pompous and faggy to them."

AHHH..maybe THAT is the answer,,Separate the forms of English..American English and Proper English .. I mean the way I see it, Americans took the English language, dropped the accent, bastardized many words, and continue to steal and bastardize words from many other languages.

Croissant is NOT cresent, paté is NOT pate, sauna is NOT sawNa (it IS **s-ou[as in sour]-na**)---whats really funny is look up sour in a dictionary ( and the suggested pronounciation of the ou sound is described using au... just goes to show, even if ya spell it right, doesn't mean they will say it correct.

"'Comin' up next on The Violence Channel: An all-new 'Ow, My Balls!'" ...

"The years passed, mankind became stupider at a frightening rate. Some had high hopes the genetic engineering would correct this trend in evolution, but sadly the greatest minds and resources where focused on conquering hair loss and prolonging erections. "

--(quotes from 'Idiocracy')

# April 23, 2009 1:38 PM

what argument? said:

It's spelled separate, who cares if it "looks better" to use an "e".

# July 8, 2009 10:17 AM

turbochicken said:

must commend Mr. Freudenberg on prompting this utterly fascinating waste of time...

nothing really to add to the discussion, just my opinion...

At the end of the day, language is about conveying a concept to somebody else, therefore, as long as you know what the person was getting at, it has performed its task correctly.

# July 16, 2009 11:33 PM

Ben Smith said:

Next we'll be saying knife and knee should be spelt without the 'K' because it doesn't look right...

# July 20, 2009 4:14 PM

rayslayer said:

English=sucks, some examples Stomach, scissors, knight,etc. just a few. Try reading a book with a young child and then you will really see how hard English is, they say it how they see it and you realize too many extra letters. Whats up with the extra letters?? And I still think seperate is the way!!!!or maybe divide!!!!! hmmmmm.

# August 5, 2009 1:03 PM

Misinformed said:

It's quite worrying when you go to clairfy this with your English teacher, and she tells you both are words.

separate: to split into two etc. - the act

seperate: two different things etc. - the result

I've been doing this for years (and I probably will continue to, it's a habit I've gotten into)

# August 7, 2009 1:23 AM

Byron said:

This has been something that has bugged me for awhile too.

I'm seeing seperate identified  as a misspelling by some posters.

My father was career English teacher and so was I.

I was taught the difference between seperate and separate in school (60's & 70's). They were definitely two different words with distinct spellings (as Misinformed stated). 'Separate' became the lone spelling sometime in 80's and 'seperate' started being listed as an "archaic" spelling.  So now 'separate' covers both meanings. It really annoyed me for awhile because I had always been so careful to use the correct spelling for each of the two meanings. A few years ago I finally caved and started using 'separate' exclusively  

# August 13, 2009 10:13 PM

Mateo said:

Astral - nobody suggested that draught and drought have the same meaning. I think if you read the post you are commenting on, you will find that to be the case. Tripe, I say.

# August 23, 2009 2:21 AM

Jason said:

Seperate was a word and if you rely on Microsoft word for your spell check I guess colour isn't a word either..=)..I understand people are lazy and don't want to confuse things or learn proper usage of the language they speak but I learnt it in school along with the difference between practice and practise and don't understand what is so difficult about it..I mean they are two different words and describe and do different things so shouldn't they be spelt differently? I apparently have five words with red lines underneath and yet nothing is wrong but this is probably an american english, oh and apparently I need to capitalize American and English otherwise they are incorrect..haha

# August 28, 2009 5:14 PM

Constandina said:

I just found out that "seperate" is not in the dictionary any more, that it is "separate" only now...but it used to be that "seperate" and "separate" were two different an adjective and one a verb.  For example,  "we went our seperate ways", we decided to "separate".  I can't believe they took it out...I am befuddled...and online for confirmation...yep it's true.

# September 26, 2009 8:58 PM

I can't believe I read the whole thread said:

After banging my head on the desk for even reading through this page, I have to agree with g00mba way up there ^

I had a laugh thinking of Idiocracy and the Brits picking on us Yanks for bastardizing their English.  Sorry, but Jason's post looks odd with "spelt" and "learnt" versus spelled and learned.  Is Jason British or Australian? ;)

# October 11, 2009 10:01 PM

bob said:

they should not have separated seperate and separate, because separate and seperate DO have seperate meanings!

100 years from now, it'll be changed to "difrunt"

# October 22, 2009 3:14 PM

Doug said:

Separate (Verb) - to unjoin, to divide

Seperate (Noun) - unjoined, not united

# October 23, 2009 10:35 AM

Ed Potterton said:

Early in this thread someone was convinced that seperate was not a word as it was not recognised by Word or Spell. That was because they are American programs and the USA has a lot of different spellings to the English. The discussion above about the two spellings relating to different meanings of the word is correct, and of course, they are pronounced differently.

The second spelling has not been added to a dictionary because of common use. Both words have been there since heaven knows when.

# October 24, 2009 8:20 AM

orwellman said:

George Orwell predicted that this would happen many decades ago. Read his excellent essay 'Politics and the English Language' for his opinion on the deterioration of the English language. It is clear that we are now being controlled by the language we use, not using it as tools.

Soon we will deteriorate into Newspeak...

# November 5, 2009 2:29 AM

humpty said:

Seperate :

This is one of the few words that is actually wrongly spelled but IMO deserves to replace the correct version because of the way it's pronounced.  Given a vote I think most English speakers would prefer Seperate.

# November 17, 2009 8:34 AM

Michael Mayers said:

I think seperate should become a word, with a distinct meaning than separate. Separate would be the verb, seperate the adjective.

Just because the status quo (the dictionary) states one thing does not mean it needs to stay that way forever. If that were the case we would not even be using stone tools yet or cooking our food. Hell, life would not exist. Evolution (of words, life and everything) is perfectly natural. Preferably evolution in a forward direction ;


# December 31, 2009 2:27 PM

Ted Walter said:

If I say "SepArate these two items." I pronounce the word the way I spell it, sep-A-rate.  If I then say "These two items are in separate catagories.", I pronounce it sep-Er-at.  This is probably part of the cause of the spelling confusion.  Some people are despErate to justify their misspellings.

# February 1, 2010 8:53 AM

Matt Alberty said:

The way we speak and the overall use of language just get's worse and worse.

People using abbreveations such as BTW or OMG. The constant use of the word 'literally' when a lot of the time they actually mean 'figuratively'.

And what is it with 'At the end of the day'?

What is happening at the end of the day, can anybody tell me? It seems that there is a lot happening at the end of the day.

In my own personal opinion, I feel that people are dumbing down; the use of SMS on mobile phones and generally writing or spelling words how they hear them.

Far be it from me to demand that we all become Thespians, but a bit more care should be taken when we speak and/or write.

If not just out of Courtesy.

Rant over...

# February 23, 2010 9:03 AM

Chris said:

"Separate (Verb) - to unjoin, to divide

Seperate (Noun) - unjoined, not united"

I think you'll find "Separate" is never a noun (name of an object, place, person or idea), and never spelled with an "E"; it can be a verb (the act of separating eggs, for instance) or an ADJECTIVE as it DESCRIBES the state of two objects or ideas. No dictionary will ever contain the word "Seperate"

I'm 21, English, and have access to an actual dictionary. Maybe I take too much pride in my heritage for someone of my age, considering the extent to which I care about correct use of the language I was brought up with. However, if generations upon generations of indifference to these abominations are allowed then we may end up with a language that is comprised of more acronyms, abbreviations and misplaced apostrophes than a drunken lowlife's latest text message about their newest "ASBO".

# March 12, 2010 9:15 PM

nat said:

Of course, it's better to just add the "new" version of word in a dictionary rather than learn how to spell correctly.  Just like "irregardles" became an acceptable word.  Soon we won't be able to tell educated people from rednecks.

# April 9, 2010 2:31 PM

Tony said:

It's easy to remember how to spell it.

Just remember that "sep" has "a rat" in it.

# May 16, 2010 6:36 PM

phil said:

This appears to be another of the UK/US divisors.

I actually went to my attic and found my old case of school papers and my old school dictionary (pack rat -- sue me)

In the UK, we were taught that there were two different words. SepArate, a verb: "We need to separate those rabbits"

and SepErate, a noun: "We now keep the rabbits in seperate pens"

As they provide distinctly different information, they are perfectly valid -- as long as people continue to agree with those meanings.

# May 20, 2010 10:50 AM

Brent said:

In my locality (Western Canada), most people have very different pronounciations for the verb and the adjective; why should they even be the same word?

And I do believe that many years ago I was taught that they were seperate words.  Maybe at some point in history people separated them, and now there is a movement to unseparate them!

Actually, I think that in this case there are good arguments on both sides, so I wouldn't want to voice any strong opinion.

But these things do matter.  I am just publishing a computer API that contains that word, so the thousands of people who write computer software using it will be forced to use the spelling I choose, or it won't work for them.  Which is why I'm here reading everyone's comments.  Right now, I am leaning towards "separate", mainly because Google shows that to be much more popular.

# June 1, 2010 9:56 AM

Martin said:

I definitely agree to him.


Just a browser said:  

I disagree with those who think that language rules are a matter of mass usage and nothing else.

Etymology: Middle English, from Latin separatus, past participle of separare, from se- apart + parare to prepare, procure — more at secede, pare

Date: 15th century

From the original Latin separatus, we evolve to the modern separate. English is based on Latin, Germanic, Greek, and some Cyrillic and Arabic. As a living language, many influences have and continue to influence its evolution. However, separatus has never been spelled seperatus. Whenever there is a question as to how a word should be spelled, we can always look to the etymology for guidance. Without rules, chaos exists. There would be no need to teach etymology and ancient roots of language if rules didn't matter. Uneducated people are the only ones who will state that "whatever people do the most prevails". What nonsense. What's next? Redefinition of the words? They mean whatever most people statistically say they mean? Pizza means hamburger now because everyone accepts it? Bullshit.

# June 4, 2010 9:45 PM

Dominic said:

The correct words, as I was taught in school, in 1970:

Seperate, adjective, the state of being apart, pronunciation "seprut".

Separate, verb, the act of parting, pronunciation "sep-a-rate".

# June 9, 2010 8:39 PM

Luke (in Oz) said:

I am in agreement with Misinformed / August 7, 2009 1:23 AM

separate: to split into two etc. - the act

seperate: two different things etc. - the result

This is what I was taught in school.

Unfortunately "Word" and other software products use American-English spelling and don't recognise (with and "-ise") a lot of British (true) English spelling.  If English doesn't originate from England then where the f*ck does it?  That's why they don't call it "Americanish". Egocentric America yet again thinks the World revolves around them!! BTW it's "mum" not "mom", "Usama" not "Osama", much the same "Obama" should be "Ubama" aka You Bummer!

# June 21, 2010 11:00 PM

Scotty Mack said:

I can only hope that the illiterate of the world don't introduce a new spelling of this word simply because they have been too lazy to look up the correct spelling.

Where the heck are we headed to?

onlee tim wil tel ...

# July 5, 2010 1:05 PM

American said:

The Brits posting here just make me laugh. I'm an English teacher and China and it brings great joy to my day telling the kids they are saying watermelon wrong. It is pronounced wa(d)ermelon :) Same with all the other shitty ways you say things! Cheerio.

# July 9, 2010 3:53 AM

datarimlens said:

Separate vs. semper seperate? I think it is the same as aluminum vs. aluminium, or Kanji vs. Kana. Some folks understand etymology and are educated, some are not. It helps that they remain identifiable. It is like an insider code. You either know what a word means in depth, it's history, etc.. That is very important in English because it is a language deriving meaning from nuances expressed in single words. Or ... you live your live by appearance only: how "seperate" (not even defined as a word yet!) "looks better" and your fellow beings with mediocre codebooks (ciphers) chime in with cheer ...

Mr. Freudenberg, may I suggest a quote from Schiller for you: "Against stupidity even the gods contend in vain." (although I have seen that quote also attributed to Greek philosophy before)

Keep your codebook ready and know who your friends are, those who can spell maybe? At several million Google hits for seperate, it is a new American word "creation" now, although it has no meaning nor is it simpler than the original form, it is just etymological noise. (semper=always btw.)

# July 31, 2010 6:45 PM

Australian said:

It's not the Brits - it's the Americans who are ruining the english language! Wadermelon?! Really?! That might be the way you say it, but it doesn't necessarily mean that it's right.

The amount of times I've seen "recognize" in these posts too, proves the point. I think that's wrong. In Australia we spell it "recognise". Just because Microsoft Word doesn't know recognise, doesn't mean that it's wrong....

However, I do agree that the word is separate and not seperate. It doesn't even matter what the meaning is, but we say it in different ways. Eg. X is separate from Y (pronounced "seprat") or I need to separate X from Y (pronounced "seperate"). That's how you know the difference!

Have fun arguing everyone! :-)

# August 4, 2010 12:16 AM

wizofaus said:

Can anyone provide a single reputable dictionary/usage-guide/source of educational material that suggests "seperate" was ever acceptable as the adjectival form?  Given most of the people here who have suggested they were taught the 'e' form is a "noun" (er, what?) I'm not exactly rushing to put a whole lot of faith in their memories.

WRT plough/plow and other cases of spelling changes in the language that have become acceptable, I think it's worth pointing that these generally have the obvious advantage of simplifying the language. "Seperate" does not.  

It no better relects the pronunciation than "separate", given that as an adjective the middle vowel typically isn't pronounced at all, and as a verb, the middle vowel is a schwa, which can be represented by almost any vowel (e.g. exhilarate, aspirate, decorate, saturate - although here the 'u' does change the 't' to a 'ch' sound, it's still a schwa vowel for most native speakers).

# September 19, 2010 8:47 PM

I am Awesome You are Retarded said:

You guys are retarded. THERE IS NO SUCH WORD AS "seperate". WTF was that one idiot talking about "the new usage of the word"... "i keep these two things seperate"?? WHAT SCHOOL DID YOU MORONS GO TO?



# September 21, 2010 7:42 PM

Nicholas said:

Hm, this is quite interesting because my whole life I thought "separate" was spelled "seperate".

It actually confused me because there's so many words spelled differently in other countries, and well since I'm Canadian, but use American made computer software, a lot of my words are supposedly spelled wrong including "separate", so I'm actually just unsure if "seperate" is a Canadian variation or not.

I've also read that most people will be able to fluently read most text where all the letters are scrambled in each word as long as the first letter and the last letter of each word are in their proper place. Which is probably why it's so easy to read intentional (such as improper contractions and compounds) and unintentional misspellings and such. If the spelling "seperate" is not the cause of being a variation used in the area spoken/written, I imagine that what I stated earlier is to blame.

# September 24, 2010 1:31 AM

Nicholas said:

At: Phil

"and SepErate, a noun: We now keep the rabbits in seperate pens"

That's not a noun.

# September 24, 2010 1:36 AM

hey said:

Seperate was probably started in the South...where poeple talk with a slang accent, and spell things like they pronounce it.   "Hey Ya'll git yer gun! We gonna go kill sumthin" "    See what I mean!  LOL!!       But seperate is a misspelling and is wrong.   It is not a word, or a replacement.   And there is no sich thing as NEW version! Duh!

# September 26, 2010 5:07 PM

William Brogi said:

Most of you are very wrong.

Separate evens looks/reads better than 'seperate'.

# September 30, 2010 11:15 AM

M said:

Fascinating stuff....

# October 1, 2010 10:40 AM

John said:

This was entertaining, and thought provoking. Thought this might add to the entertainment factor:  These are some quips from an email called "Southern Facts - Things I Have Learned in the South".  I've only included the parts that have to do with pronunciations:

• Onced and Twiced are words.

• Jaw-P? means Did y'all go to the bathroom?

• Fixinto is 1 word. It means I'm fixing to do that.

• There is no such thing as lunch. There is only dinner and then there is supper.

• Backards and forards means I know everything about you.

• The word jeet is actually a phrase meaning, Did you eat?

• You dont PUSH buttons, you MASH em.

• You know what a hissy fit is.

# October 6, 2010 5:40 PM

Anom said:

F*ck me! I cant believe this thread is so long.

You guys are depressing.. Get a f*cking life!

# October 28, 2010 5:35 PM

Gold Sciences said:

Idiots from Microsoft wrote this function name:


Being a native Spanish speaker developer, who never speaks English, I don't know if I should laugh, or cry, or ask for a job in Microsoft in place of that damn *** who wrote the sample, which is too unclear, misspelled and I even think he may be the same idiot that documented "Write()" as a function "for reading".

This is because people who don't really care about doing things right, they just want to get paid and go home to continue their mindless lives, instead to trying to improve themselves, their education, etc. They don't pay attention when reading their own language read and spoken everyday. They suck. I spelled better English when I was 13, even programmed too, and I think those people is who then sell their own country and life and children because they think they already know everything when they can barely speak their own language.

So, if you don't want to look like an idiot in front of educated people, then spell SEPARATE, please, or tomorrow I may end up taking your job, and I'm going to enjoy it so much, so much.

# December 6, 2010 10:49 PM

Moonhogg said:

I've just put my house on the market.

Amongst other things it's got a kitchen with separate utility room. The ad went on the internet. I was annoyed to spot three spelling mistakes the agent had made, including the "seperate" room. I phoned them up and explained, even spelling it for them. They corrected it that afternoon. It then read "Kitchen with seprate utility"!!

FFS! I rang them today, and spelled it again.

I checked just now.

"Kitchen with seperate utility"

I give up!

# December 11, 2010 1:53 AM

luke said:

I don't know that mis spelling a word determines your intelligence. Though I do agree "separate" is correct. And why are people getting angry over one word?

# February 8, 2011 6:25 AM

Ross said:

I use seperate as the verb, and separate as the the noun.

# April 12, 2011 6:08 PM

Pete said:

Yet another case of the yanks ruining our treasured english language, and going by the rule of Microsoft and Google. Who the hell gives a toss what they say, they're american aren't they? If we want it altered, we'll do it thanks!

Those who advocate this 'I use seperate as the verb, and separate as the the noun' are of course correct. Always have been and always will be. We didn't waste our time going to some of the best schools in England to be told how to use our own language by a bunch of americans. The dumbing down of the dictionaries came about once the publishers were lured by the evil that is the spell-checking programme (and that's spelt correctly as well)!    

# May 12, 2011 12:28 AM

Kev said:

Well, that was fascinating reading. I also arrived here because I was sure I'd been taught both spellings, yet all I could find in Word, Google, etc was separate.

After reading *all* the posts (something it appears some of the posters haven't done), my memories are confirmed.

In school (Australia, circa 70s) I was taught :

"Separate the rabbits"

"The rabbits are seperate"

It appears others were also taught this.

It also appears that this may have been etymologically incorrect.

Does this mean the use of "seperate" came *into* use sometime prior to 1970, and was originally not actually a word? I've been unable to determine this, but it seems likely based on what I've read.

Now, it appears this spelling has fallen out of use.

So in summary :

Seperate, while probably etymologically incorrect, was actually a word, at least in Australia, as it was taught in schools (note the plural) and was presumably in the dictionaries of that time.

Now, it appears to be an "archaic" word.

Sucks that I'm old enough to be using what could be desribed as "old English" LOL.

# May 29, 2011 5:52 AM

Burtee Dastard said:

I abbreviate certain specific('pacific' works better for me) words, including Pls for Please, Txt for Text, Thru for... (take a wild guess... :o) ), Ditto Nite, Ewe for You, and now finally, the most space/time/ink/energy/wear and tear-saving inspired abbreviation of them all <deliberate pause>, has to be....Woddy for What Do You (as in, 'Woddya want for ***'s sake?').

So there.

# June 7, 2011 9:47 AM

Burtee Dastard said:

I abbreviate certain specific('pacific' works better for me) words, including Pls for Please, Txt for Text, Thru for... (take a wild guess... :o) ), Ditto Nite, Ewe for You, and now finally, the most space/time/ink/energy/wear and tear-saving inspired abbreviation of them all <deliberate pause>, has to be....Woddy for What Do You (as in, 'Woddya want for ***'s sake?').

So there.

# June 7, 2011 9:47 AM

Burtee Dastard said:

Moonhog, kill them. Kill them all.

# June 7, 2011 9:53 AM

The Goat said:

I can't help but laugh (laf) at all of the people who have commented here. Out of the dozens of posts, a handful are actually grammatically sound. Out of those there are maybe half as much that use proper spelling. I like to complain, but don't be a hypocrite!

You cannot sepErate yourself from the rest of the intellectually disabled people if you cannot even form a proper sentence. I am, also, horrifically guilty of misspelling this word until my girlfriend pointed it out in an argument one time.

(Just here to troll the people who can't seem to figure out what they're actually complaining about)

# June 30, 2011 6:58 PM

OsamaBinKilled said:

Why are you all even debating this? "Seperate" isn't in the dictionary so it isn't a word and it isn't just waiting around to be added, as it is a misspelling of the correct word. It's all apocryphal.

I notice The Goat above who enjoys picking people's grammar apart doesn't use correct English either since troll isn't a verb it's a noun. He also omitted to use speech marks around the word "sepErate" which he should since it doesn't exist and if he is so concerned about the use of grammar he would've shocked his immature and narrow mind by his use of capitulation in the middle of a word. What a ***.

# July 5, 2011 11:58 AM

DeZwarteMaan said:

There is a misuse of verbage, that is dreadfully wrong in society. People become apt to misuse words, they become lazy, and/or uneducated. Thus, they tend to drift because they are blazingly lazy.

Sure, words drift. Gay means happy, yet one day you wake up and it's a term used for homosexuals? A stick was a small shaft of wood, which became a short-term abbreviated saying for a Funny man (slapstick) and boring individuals (stick-in-the-mud).

Astral Symphony proves my point.

Draught= A braft of Beer. Formed form the old-english word 'Dragen'. Developed into related words. Before this time period, they didnt have beer on draft, so there existed no words to describe the terms. Thus, words morphed to adapt terms to describe. So Dragen became: Drag, Draw, Draught... etc.

Drought=An EXTENDED period of time with below average preceipitation. Derived from the old-english word 'drūgath'. Dry and dryness. There is a Archaic use of the term, to mean THIRSTY. Going a long period without drink. Duh?

So While a Draught is a Mug of Beer taken from a Tap. Going without Beer for a long time is living in a Drought.

Please do not confuse the terms. This leads to a language disambiguity.

Serparate vs Seperate= History is made on the language which superseeded, and the derivation of words has morphed words to fill in the blanks that some words were used to umbrella the whole concept. Greek, Latin, Old English... They all had words which of themselves could cover a dozen concepts in 1 word. This is confusing to those who live in the future(from that timeperiod), because the definitions are often strained and ambiguous. Look at the Bible and the arguements about the ancient words used, and the flexible nature of the words... causing such confusion?

Etymology of a word, often gives a new prospective on a use of a Term.

Lack of stict education, and laziness leads to disambiguity and the misuse of derived words. Changing a word to sound better... NO! Try pronouncing the word properly. When words are derived from an ancient source and travel thru a different country, the words absorb into their language. So while Old English and Middle English might have similar words that derived from a similar root word, they were spoken differently. Then English absorbed the words differently. You can see this in the difference between British English vs American English. British often take their derived words from Old English. Not the same for American English which has absorbed words from MANY cultures. Thus we pronounce words in Germanic, Spanish or other cultural ways. Look at the word Route and Router.

Route:  A road or travel path.

Some pronounce this as "Root" as in the song "Route 66" (Root 66).

The proper derived pronunciation is "R-ow-t" as in 'Trade Route'.

A IT guy uses a 'Router' to network computers. (R-ow-ter)

Which is correct? Commonly English says that -ou is an 'ow' sound, correct? But English Route is taken from the middle-english (Germanic) word Route. Middle English pronounces -ou the same way.. the -u sound as in my Grandpa's last name 'Lutringer' is pronounced L-oo-t-ringer.

Now let's look at the Merriam websters dictionary. They say that Route is pronounced with a ü, which is the same lettering in my Grandpa's name?!? What is this? Route is a oo sound. R-oo-te? Ahh the derivation of this word comes from the Vulgar Latin word 'Rupta', Thus presenting why the British and Americans pronounce Route differently and how words similar to this dual derived word can confused the utter nonsense out of anyone learning the English language. Multiple root languages blended, makes it harder to learn.

Back to Separate.

Has anyone seen "Bill and ted's excellent adventure"? Did you pay attention to Socrates when he said his name? We commonly say "Sock-ra-tees" when we pronounce it. Socrates kept fixing the boys pronunciation to "So-Kra-Tees".

But what does this have to do with Separate?

It derives from the Latin 'separatus'past participle of 'separare'. Think Socrates.. "Se-Pah-raht". Anyone remember their "Schwa" E's in school?

Separate:  ˈse-p(ə-)ˌrāt

Thus the confusion from ESL's as they flounder on the strange symbol and think a Schwa ə- just sounds wrong as an A, but in fact... it is an 'a'.

Separate is mispronounced "Se-peh-raht", leading people to forget how to spell it, as the educators who taught them 'FAILED' miserably to teach elocution and proper verbal usage.

After reading this, I hope you glimmered something about a language. It is true that if education slips and we allow the youth to 'typo' their way into the future, the English language is bound to drift into 'L33t' speak or we allow 'text' ghetto spelling to become common redefined spellings for words that used to have a proper derivation. If you change a words spelling, it looses it's connection to the word that spawned it.



BTW... if there were teachers teaching 'seperate' in Australia. They were wrong. There is no Older way of spelling 'Seperate' and no derivation for the word. Thus, it is akin to Australia teaching Ebonics as a social accepted verbal redefinition of the whole English language... which I saw someone was attempting to do.  :P

PS. No I am NOT an English Major. I just paid attention in school. :P

# July 8, 2011 6:33 PM

DeZwarteMaan said:


I have looked for any dictionary or educational site in Australia using hte 'Seperate' spelling and find none. You said "presumably in the dictionaries of that time". If it was ever in the dictionary, it would still be in the dictionary.

Either your teacher was wrong, and didnt correct her/himself, or noone ever openned the dictionary to gleam it's wisdom.

Mr Goat:

Please... For the Love of all that is Holy and Just... Please STOP using abbreviated sentences. You only lower your socially presumed IQ.

For All:

There is nothing to argue. Trying to change the spelling of a Schwa E, from an 'a' to an 'e' will only do you harm. ;)  

Bah... I mistyped the Schwa myself. It's a 'uh' sounds... My ears are partly deaf, so I hear things funny anyway. -eh... -uh... whats the difference. :P LOL

# July 8, 2011 6:46 PM

deZwarteMaan said:

to TT, Australian (and any other british colony dwellers):

Recognise vs Recognize

Ever see the word recognizant?

or the action Recognise?

Merriam Websters Dictionary reports Recognise as 'especially british'.

Recognize is the formal spelling, and i'll assume that British English adapted the word and it was not taken form old English.

-ize taken from latin a suffix to mean action, to render or make. latin suffix

-ise british suffix meaning to organize?

root word: Latin:  recognōscere

re- prefix meaning to do again?

Cognate- means remember or take note

Re- Cognate -ize

<remove -ate: Suffix used to form adjectives and nouns, and replace with Suffix to Act - ize.>

Otherwise known as Recognize.

So TT wishes to bash an American for using a word that isnt like Britains, when we use the suffixes as they are supposed to be used, and they make up their own?

rec·og·nize   /ˈrɛkəgˌnaɪz/  


–verb (used with object), -nized, -niz·ing.  

1. to identify as something or someone previously seen, known, etc.: He had changed so much that one could scarcely recognize him.

2. to identify from knowledge of appearance or characteristics: I recognized him from the description. They recognized him as a fraud.

3. to perceive as existing or true; realize: to be the first to recognize a fact.

However I'll go so far as to say, I HAVE seen Recognise used correctly.

-ise to organize.

Recognise= To organize Thoughts again.

When Harry gave recognise, he realized he had forgotten that memory.

He decided to Rethink his thoughts... Catch the drift?

Don't confuse the 2 terms by their suffixes.

Another similar:

Organise vs Organize  (British -ise at play again)

So the 'act' of arranging = Organ-ize

-ise means to organize so it can technically be interchanged because to organize an organize is to Organise? LOL <hits forehead on desk>

Subtlties are mind blowingly funny. :)

Yet, I 'so' do love constructs of the Prefix and Suffix.

Every Word in the Language can be cut down into a root sub-word or multiple words, and each piece of the word has meaning.

If you want to bash American English, in favor of your own, let me interject.

British define: Pissed = To get drunk?

Americans define as =  Royally angry... :)

Bobby is the name of a person, not the position of an officer! lol :P

But as for properly English spelling, I think I'll back the spelling which uses the proper Root words with the proper suffixes.

# July 8, 2011 10:01 PM

Spelling seperate | Mayasilver said:

Pingback from  Spelling seperate | Mayasilver

# January 8, 2012 6:06 AM

vinson can spell said:

i'm aussie so "seperate" is the way

# March 18, 2012 12:02 PM

yoko said:

in Belgium it is the "European way"

so sepArate

# June 18, 2012 11:17 PM

Jim said:

Language, including spelling, words and their significations, are a social contract. For that reason, there are dictionaries and other authoritative resources so that the social contract continues. Try inventing a vocabulary or, even better, radically new spellings and meanings for your words and their significations, and see how well you interact with all the rest of us.

# July 24, 2012 7:48 PM

Roger eh? said:

I understand some American's penchant for lack of flavour in their volcabulary but adding "seperate" to the dictionary detracts from the colour, the exquisite expession that language is meant to convey.  Dictionaries are NOT your personal iPhone "add to dictionary"!

# August 7, 2012 8:17 PM

J. Morrissey said:

Interestingly,  my mother (born c 1935,educated in Ireland) also remembers being taught two different spellings - varying according to usage.  The Englsh taught in Irish schools of that time would have been of the Standard British variety rather than the American.  I, on the other hand,  educated in both Ireland and England, have always just used 'separate'  for all occasions....

# November 19, 2012 5:46 PM

HKMcC said:


The word is 'separate'.

The other version is not a variation, not a substitute, and not acceptable; it is just wrong.

Learn to spell properly and then there will be no problem.

# December 14, 2012 2:59 AM