Wordwatch Towers

A plain language guide to punctuation, grammar and writing well.

Maintaining standards

with 6 comments

Angelina jolie - perfil
Image via Wikipedia

Spellings can be difficult sums. Spot the errors:

Parks maintainance (Heading on the Erewash Borough Council website)

Luckily, the likes of Kate Winslet, Meryl Streep, Angelina Jolie, Melissa Leo and Anne Hathaway aren’t that high-maintainence… (Mail online)

The local authority is setting up a framework contract with a single supplier for the design, supply and maintainence of the system, known as Stopwatch. (Guardian online)

Because ‘maintain’ is spelt, er, like that, many people think that ‘maintenance’ is spelt in one of two ways:

  • Maintainance (wrong)
  • Maintainence (wrong with knobs on)

I’m still trying to come up with an easy way to remember this one and have so far failed miserably.  Just one to learn, I think. Main – ten – ance.

Spelling tips and tricks


6 Responses

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  1. Morning Deborah,

    In the Liverpool area, “maintainance” is frequently pronounced that way too.

    When it comes to offences against the language, in the Liverpool/Bootle area you really would be spoilt for choice.

    When I moved to Bootle as a ten-year-old, it was like a foreign language, almost. For example, all fizzy drinks were “lemonade”. They had black lemonade (dandelion and burdock), green (cream soda), red (Tizer), not to mention white. That actually was lemonade, and wasn’t white, but clear.

    It struck me, even as a child, that it was very strange that two communities just 35 miles apart (I’m from Manchester where we were taught and, unlike today, spoke, standard English), should be so profoundly different linguistically – the lemonade thing is just the tip of a large iceberg.


    29/07/2010 at 10:35 am

    • Hi Ron — yes, it’s interesting. Particularly, as you say, taking into account the short distance between the two areas. I had a similar experience when I moved from the south to live in the north some years ago. There were many words and expressions that had to be explained to me and sounded very strange and alien to my ears.


      29/07/2010 at 2:29 pm

      • Interestingly, that segment of the vocabulary based on a word of four letters beginning with F was unknown to me prior to moving to Bootle. As Ardwick (Manchester), was arguably a far more deprived area than Bootle, I find that surprising, though it probably says more about the people than their environment. This is Ardwick when I was a child


        30/07/2010 at 3:46 pm

        • Thanks for the link to your lovely post, Ron.


          30/07/2010 at 6:21 pm

  2. If you are the superintendent of an apartment building, you must see to the needs of your main tenants (maintenance).

    Invisible Mikey

    29/07/2010 at 11:10 am

    • That’s excellent — thanks so much, Mikey.


      29/07/2010 at 2:26 pm

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