Ah, Those -ah words in English!
AJ Tapper wrote:
I’ve seen on a couple different books and websites two different spellings of the word, “savannah”. Is it “savanna” or “savannah”?
The OED gives savannah as the only spelling.
Merriam-Webster gives savanna as the first spelling and savannah as a variant.
This question about savannah caused me to wonder about other -ah words in English. Here are the results of my inquiry.
The OED prefers veranda to verandah.
H. W. Fowler curtly concurs:
OED gives the -da form first, & there is no reason for the -h;
In my opinion verandah looks more exotic than veranda. If I were writing a novel set in India or even England of a hundred years ago, I think I’d go for the h.
The OED and Merriam-Webster agree on the -ah ending for:
Although I’m pretty sure I’ve seen the spelling “hosannah,” both the OED and Merriam-Webster give only hosanna.
Depending upon which dictionary you prefer, the following words may be spelled either way:
I haven’t taken the time to define all these words. If you don’t already know what they mean, you’re not likely to need to know how to spell them.
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