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(YA?)English Orthography Question

From:Mark J. Reed <markjreed@...>
Date:Monday, October 13, 2008, 12:53
Why is it that the English word meaning "more dry" is usually spelled
"drier" while the word that means "thing that dries" is usually
spelled "dryer"?  Is there something in the etymology of the two -er
endings to explain such a preference, or is it random?

I also see "flyer" more than "flier", but since the adjective "fly"
doesn't often appear in the comparative it's hard to look for
analogous distribution.

The guy with the bell and the "hear ye, hear ye" is the town crier,
not the town cryer.  But I have seen parents refer to their babies as
"a real/not much of a cryer". Here there's no homographic adjective.
Likewise with fry, pry, try; we have the reverse case with "wry" but I
think its comparative is usually "more wry" anyway.

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Mark J. Reed <markjreed@...>


Lars Finsen <lars.finsen@...>