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Adapter V Adaptor

Adapter V Adaptor

Adapter V Adaptor

Now I know this has kind of come up before such as thread1010-262186: 'er' vs 'or' ending of a word, and based on this and my brief research the 2 are virtually interchangeable, however...

Back at my previous UK employer, we always used 'Adaptor' for items while the person doing the adapting was an 'Adapter'.  This was drilled into me by an ex RAF tech pubs grammar Nazi and stuck with me.

At my current US employer the marketing guy wants to call something an "xxx Adapter".  I can't make a hard argument against it, and can't be too bothered to fight it, but it just feels wrong.

Do I have any justification for this, or am I just doing it 'cause that's how I was taught?

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RE: Adapter V Adaptor

The two are interchangeable.

==> Do I have any justification for this, or am I just doing it 'cause that's how I was taught?
I think it's only how you were taught; however, if you can find any dictionary, on either side of the pond, hat differentiates between the two for either people or equipment, please post the reference.  I think you'll find even the OED accepts both spellings for both people and equipment.


Good Luck
As a circle of light increases so does the circumference of darkness around it. - Albert Einstein

RE: Adapter V Adaptor

Adapter is the primary entry in Webster's, refers to both the object and the person.  Adaptor is secondary, but not listed separately as a variation.  

Might be the other way around in the OED -- I don't have that one to look at.

I think it seems to be more of an English vs American thing. Let's see what the others think.

Fun topic though!

Good on ya,

Goober Dave


RE: Adapter V Adaptor

While I hesitate to say this in a grammer forum, I accept that language changes over time and fine distinctions that were once made will often be lost.  Instead of a proscriptive definition of language, i.e. 'this is the proper way to use the language' I prefer a descritive definition of language, i.e. 'this is the way language is currently used.'  In a case like this I don't see alot of value in keeping the distinction, other then to smile smugly when someone isn't aware of the difference, which I wasn't until this topic was started.  We still keep the term actress for a female actor, but have lost (mostly)aviatrix for a female pilot.  I guess I'm saying, if you like the distinction, keep it, if not don't.  


Kirby Wilkerson

Remember, first define the problem, then solve it.

RE: Adapter V Adaptor

Does this mean we can start using "principal" instead of "principle"?winky smile

I have never been to the UK, but I was also taught as KENAT regarding the "-or" and "-er" word endings.  I do not, however, have access to the texts to which I was taught.

"Good to know you got shoes to wear when you find the floor." - Robert Hunter

RE: Adapter V Adaptor

Well said Kirby..

RE: Adapter V Adaptor

"this is the way language is currently used."

It really means; "these are the ways language is currently used".
All very post-modern, but not so useful for instruction.

And everyone did what was right in his own eyes (Judges 17:6).

RE: Adapter V Adaptor


Don't get all biblical on me now.  There is always a tension between how language is used and how languange should be used.  It is analogous to not being able to tell both where a particle is exactly and how fast it is going.  I am not advocating the willy nilly do what ever you want linguisticly.  If we did then everything teaching it would get all higgledy piggledy.  But I am also saying that we don't speak like Bill Shakespear either, and that's o.k.  Please don't revoke my poetic licence (or license).


I would keep the distinction between principal and priciple, If the two words were as homographic as they are homonymous I would still be able to follow a written text as well as I could follow a converstation.  


Kirby Wilkerson

Remember, first define the problem, then solve it.

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