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Author Topic: Sentence or sentance?  (Read 76834 times)

imfeduptoo

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Sentence or sentance?
« on: 04 August, 2013, 05:59:58 PM »
When I was at school I was taught that 'sentence', as in a group of words, was spelled with an e but a prison sentance was spelled with an a.
It was a grammar school so I assumed they knew what they were talking about and have always spelled the two words in this way.
However, while searching for an answer to P-K's question, I came across a question posted by someone on the net saying exactly the same thing and asking if the two words were indeed spelled differently.
My dictionary doesn't mention 'sentance', nor can I find it anywhere, but Mr Too was also taught that they were.
Was anyone else taught this?
Was it once true but has now been completely removed from everywhere? 

Offline antonymous

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Re: Sentence or sentance?
« Reply #1 on: 04 August, 2013, 08:51:20 PM »
There is no evidence that sentence has ever correctly been spelt otherwise than with the two EEs. Although several people have reported elsewhere that they were under the same impression that it was an A in the dispensing of justice.
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Offline P-Kasso2

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Re: Sentence or sentance?
« Reply #2 on: 04 August, 2013, 10:22:31 PM »
I have never seen 'sentance' spelt other than with an 'E'. Not once, not ever.

So I tried googling 'define sentance' (using the 'A' spelling of sentence) pulls up no responses at all, not one, except for being robo-asked 'Did you mean sentence?'.

Googling 'define sentence' however (using the 'E' spelling of sentence) pulls up a massively different reaction.

About 56,600,000 results (in 0.34 seconds). I think that clinches it and answers your question.

OK, we know that word-wise Google has a near-total American bias, but if Google says 'sentance' doesn't exist then it don't exist.

Your teachers must have been having an off day...or having a laugh and pulling your leg. Or they were barking mad.
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Trish Maskell

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Re: Sentence or sentance?
« Reply #3 on: 28 July, 2014, 03:10:02 PM »
When I was at school I was taught that 'sentence', as in a group of words, was spelled with an e but a prison sentance was spelled with an a.
It was a grammar school so I assumed they knew what they were talking about and have always spelled the two words in this way.
However, while searching for an answer to P-K's question, I came across a question posted by someone on the net saying exactly the same thing and asking if the two words were indeed spelled differently.
My dictionary doesn't mention 'sentance', nor can I find it anywhere, but Mr Too was also taught that they were.
Was anyone else taught this?
Was it once true but has now been completely removed from everywhere?

I too was taught that "sentence" had to do with a group of words and that "sentance" was a jail (*gaol) term.  I'm wondering if the writer attended school in England as I did?  The fact that another writer is adamant that there is only one spelling of the word makes me wonder if this is merely another of the many different spellings between our two countries.  No matter what that writer feels, "sentance" is definitely a word!.
*Yes, I was also taught that "gaol" was the preferred spelling for a prison.  We were allowed to use "jail", but we needed to be aware that it might make our teachers cringe. Nowadays, even in the UK, "jail" is most commonly used.

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Re: Sentence or sentance?
« Reply #4 on: 28 July, 2014, 08:58:33 PM »
Hi Trish, well I've dug right through all my big old fat dictionaries...and there's not a peep anywhere about 'sentance' spelt with an 'a'.

I've pirouetted round the Net looking for 'sentance' in all the main etymology sites.

Even my normally trusty American-language spellchecker denies all knowledge of it...and if anyone would spell 'sentence' as 'sentance' it'd be our pals in our ex-colonies across the pond. But nope. No show.

So it seems it's a non-word.

Could it be your teachers were having a laugh or were all as thick as bricks?
« Last Edit: 28 July, 2014, 09:06:56 PM by P-Kasso2 »
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Offline antonymous

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Re: Sentence or sentance?
« Reply #5 on: 28 July, 2014, 09:15:01 PM »
I have found the word in several places but im sure they are typos.


eg here
 http://www.finedictionary.com/saturnism.html

in fact there are 2 more in that same piece which is corroborative evidence of a lousy speller at work.
« Last Edit: 28 July, 2014, 09:17:25 PM by antonymous »
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Re: Sentence or sentance?
« Reply #6 on: 28 July, 2014, 09:56:13 PM »
I don't think it really matters how we spell sentance. Grammer orlways was capricious.
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Offline antonymous

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Re: Sentence or sentance?
« Reply #7 on: 28 July, 2014, 10:17:59 PM »
I don't think it really matters how we spell sentance. Grammer orlways was capricious.

Two troo!
“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple. Sometimes it'svice versa"

Offline NellyBelliveau

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Re: Sentence or sentance?
« Reply #8 on: 02 September, 2014, 01:31:01 AM »
Hello, I'm new here. I found this thread through Google, ironically enough. I just wanted to add that I went to grammar school in Iowa (United States) a long time ago and I too was taught that there was a difference between "sentence" and "sentance" (as if our language isn't complex enough!) I was just doing a bit of writing and suddenly found myself having a memory block over which was the correct one to use in my writing. Odd that Google and internet-land doesn't recognize the spelling with an 'a' as real anymore. But that doesn't mean it didn't actually exist, IMHO. Maybe it's just our language adapting over time as it tends to do. Maybe it's a local dialect thing, who knows.

This is a neat website, by the way. I'm glad to have found it, and looking forward to exploring more! Good day, all.

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Re: Sentence or sentance?
« Reply #9 on: 02 September, 2014, 06:43:04 AM »
Hell Nelly. Nice to have a new member. I'll look out for your name and hope you have a long and happy stay!
"I live in hope"

Kortner Nygard

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Re: Sentence or sentance?
« Reply #10 on: 05 September, 2014, 07:18:13 PM »
I was educated in California and was taught that jail incurred a sentance, which would be written in a sentence in the judge's ruling.
BTW, in the US we use "spelt" instead of "spelled". Spelt is a grain IMHO.

alphabet

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Re: Sentence or sentance?
« Reply #11 on: 29 October, 2014, 09:55:28 PM »
im currently in college, and i was taught that in more than one grade, including in highschool. so it cant be some old thing that recently fell out of use.

Chris

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Re: Sentence or sentance?
« Reply #12 on: 30 October, 2014, 11:30:16 PM »
I was also under the impression that "sentance" was a valid alternative under some circumstances. So I just checked our Oxford English Dictionary. A multi-volume monster that lists the history of usage as well as current words. And there was no mention of anything other than "sentence".

So it seems that it is just a misunderstanding, albeit not apparently a rare one.

Chris Sentance

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Re: Sentence or sentance?
« Reply #13 on: 13 November, 2014, 03:33:03 PM »
Except when it is somebody's surname  Facepalm

Show some respect for people whose name is so unusual Microsoft vhanges it all of the bloody time  trhr

Yours frustratedly

Chris Sentance,yes that's Sentance with an A

Offline Painterman Vic

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Re: Sentence or sentance?
« Reply #14 on: 29 November, 2014, 03:40:40 PM »
Hi. I've just Registered to talk with you guys after Googling sentence/sentance and finding this site.

I'm intrigued as to how many of us were actually TAUGHT in school the difference between "sentence" and "sentance", and then in later years, be informed that the word "sentance" had never existed! Were our educations an International group figment of our imaginations, or were our teachers, as suggested elsewhere, en-masse, not up to their jobs? (if the latter, it begs the question, "Well, who taught them about this non-word?).

I've always thought that the early teaching of English that I received 60 years ago (when I was seven) was pretty good. By this age, I had learnt to compose a letter correctly, and knew, for example, whether to sign off with "Yours Faithfully" or "Yours Sincerely". It was at about the same time that I was taught which of the words in question to use, and when.

The differing spellings and usage of sentence and sentance continued throughout my schooling until I left Grammar School in '62.

Incidentally, for anyone reading this who is wondering, "If he was taught about these words as a kid, why was he Googling them?", the answer's simple. I'm starting to forget stuff - even a few words that I know I could once spell, I now sometimes have to double-check on! (strangely though, I'm still able to spell out loud "antidisestablishmentarianism" which I practiced as a kid (for some unknown reason) in under 4 seconds - although this little exercise is carried out strictly in private!).


PS. My current pet hate is the increasing use of the written "would of" instead of "would have"! What's that about?

 rolls eyes