I don’t know about you but there’s nothing more confusing than the English language. It not only requires the learner to memorize so many rules on syntax, but it also breaks these rules on certain occasions.
In the following paragraphs, I’ll debate on spelling variations and their differences, giving special focus on “presentor” and “presenter”.
But for a quick fix, “presenter” is the main and accepted spelling for this term. On the other hand, “presentor” can be considered as a spelling variant. Overall, “presenter” is suggested, especially for formal contexts.
Presentor vs. Presenter
Whatever variation you use, the meaning is the same. It’s a word that has two meanings.
The first one refers to someone or something that presents. For instance: “In today’s meeting, the new employee will be the presenter”.
The other meaning is someone who presents an award at a formal ceremony. As in: “The presenter of the award was a renowned international singer”.
Even if the word ends in -or or -er, the pronunciation is also the same. Phonetically, it is uttered as pri -ˈzen – tər. The sound of /ə/ in this word is unstressed and is pronounced in the same way as “suggest” (səg-ˈjest).
All in all, it’s best to stick with “presenter” as it is the preferred spelling, and “presentor” is merely a variant that could possibly have been derived by spelling it by how it sounds.
If you find yourself writing a document for academics or work, as long as it is formal, always use “presenter”. But if you’re simply chatting on Facebook or social media, using “presentor” is pardonable.
Nonetheless, in order to develop a good habit of using preferred spelling and avoiding any mishaps, it’s effective to consciously use the preferred spelling. This means that we must also refrain from using the variant spelling altogether.
Remember that it’s difficult to break a habit, so don’t make variant spellings a habit!
British and American Spelling
The English language adopts so many foreign words into its vernacular. In this case, the British tend to retain the spelling of the foreign word while American spelling alters it in a way that conforms to the pronunciation.
For instance, the word “jail” is the American standard spelling. However, the British use “gaol” which is also pronounced as “jail”.
Like many words of the English language, looking into its etymology is the most logical way to make sense of why it is spelled that way. If we look back, “gaol” is actually derived from Middle English, Old Irish, and Scottish Gaelic.
Let’s not forget that each of these roots also has its corresponding history. The roots of “gaol” in Middle English was derived from Old French and Medieval Latin.
As for its Irish use, it’s of Old Irish, Proto-Celtic, Gothic, and German origins. Scottish Gaelic, similarly, has the same history as the Irish.
A few other British-American spelling variations
|British Spelling||American Spelling|
Certain words might also have spelling alternatives. As discussed above, we know that the spelling can be British or American; however, the variation does not only depend on this.
But it’s important to remember that we have the “preferred” and the “variant” spelling. In this case, it’s more acceptable to use the former than the latter.
Whether or not it is the preferred spelling will depend on how it is used, whether it is formal or informal, or what the meaning is. Again, the English language has rules and for every rule, there is an exception, making it difficult to asses what makes a word formal or informal.
List of words with a spelling alternative
|Preferred Spelling||Variant Spelling|
The Issue of Spelling by Sound
Perhaps this is why the spelling variation “presentor” came to be. Because the American standard favors spelling according to pronunciation, it’s understandable how some individuals might use -or rather than -er.
However, spelling words according to how it sounds might cause some serious grammatical mistakes. A case in mind is the use of “could of” instead of “could have”.
I’ve witnessed this mistake on more than one occasion, and it seems to be a mistake common among many native speakers. This is most likely because of how native English speakers slur words together.
If you think about it “could of” sounds a lot like “could’ve” the contraction of the phrase “could have”. “Of” is pronounced as /əv/ and it’s awfully similar to the end of “have” which is pronounced as /ˈhav/.
If the word “have” is preceded by another word, the letter H is usually dropped so it sounds like /(h)əv/ where the H is silent. This is why “could of” and “could have” are interchanged.
For instance, instead of saying “She could have worn a more flattering dress” native speakers write or say “She could of worn a more flattering dress”. Of course, this makes no sense because you need a linking verb (have) instead of a preposition (of).
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