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there is no E in "smooths"!!!!

(15 Posts)
Ponders Sat 22-Jun-13 18:08:01

Merriam-Webster, not Gates, according to this grin

SconeRhymesWithGone Sat 22-Jun-13 17:16:24

Has anyone tried this out on with spell-check? My American one does not even recognize "smooths" as a word and suggests "smoothes." So, yes, Bill Gates is to blame. wink

As a side note, "bath" is not usually used as a verb in American English.
Americans bathe the children or give them a bath.

prism Sat 22-Jun-13 12:18:50

According to David Crystal, the reason that words like "soothes" and "breathes" are spelt that way is to distinguish them from other words that are spelt the same way, especially nouns, in this case "sooth" and "breath". In the case of "smooth", there's no corresponding noun, and so the adjective is the same as the verb, like "wet".

This is more an observation than a rule. If I hammer a nail, I do it with the noun of the same name. If I heat a cake, I do it with the same verb as the abstract noun that the cake acquires. And so on. It probably to do with the time when these words were first written down in English, and the spelling fashion of the time.

MirandaGoshawk Fri 21-Jun-13 16:31:57

Wow Ponders, you've made my day smile

Ponders Thu 20-Jun-13 22:21:15

you were right not to, NumberNine



BehindLockNumberNine Thu 20-Jun-13 22:08:04

How freaky, I was pondering this EXACT thing only a few minutes ago... I wrote 'to smooth' in the context of to smooth dd's hair and then deliberated about adding an 'e'. I refrained, but am not sure...

Ponders Thu 20-Jun-13 21:43:15

Miranda, I think I love you smile

if I have only converted one person to smooths, this has been worthwhile!

MirandaGoshawk Thu 20-Jun-13 21:28:01

The action of 'to smooth' sounds as if it should have an 'e' on the end (like 'to soothe'), whereas describing something as being smooth doesn't.

I would have written smoothes too blush before this, but won't now, of course!

Ponders Thu 20-Jun-13 13:47:12

peeriebear I know it is becoming much more common; & common usage generally eventually does becomes accepted usage

my teeth will continue to itch, however

Ponders Thu 20-Jun-13 13:45:30

bath can be a verb, but then the plural (?) form should be baths

the past tense of to smooth would be smoothed, as the past tense of to bath would be bathed. that must be where people get smoothes from

it just makes my teeth itch!

Ponders Thu 20-Jun-13 13:43:07

the verbs soothe, breathe, bathe & clothe end in an e anyway though (breath, bath & cloth are not verbs grin)

AMumInScotland Thu 20-Jun-13 13:15:48

Why not?


It's fairly common for verbs which end in -th to go to -thes

Is smooth a recognised exception then?

ThingummyBob Thu 20-Jun-13 13:07:26

No doubt this will be the fault of Bill Gates it usually is grin

peeriebear Thu 20-Jun-13 12:54:35

Google tells me that you're right, and that you're wrong.

Ponders Thu 20-Jun-13 12:36:19

why do so many people put "smoothes"???

are they confusing it with soothes?

latest culprit is @inventortom with his nipperclipper

and breathe...

(I always found it surprisingly easy to see what I was cutting using a pair of baby nail scissors - less chance of removing end of finger in case of sudden movement too grin. I wonder if they might catch on...)

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