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Thursday, December 21, 2017

Business person or businessperson

Is it business person or businessperson?

Businessman is listed in both the Australian Oxford and Macquarie dictionaries as a single word. Businessperson/business person isn’t listed in the Australian Oxford, but is listed in the Macquarie dictionary as one word.

If you perform a check on the internet using Google for sites ending in .au, you’ll find a ratio 1 to 5 people using business person or business people, when they really should be using businessperson and businesspeople. Perhaps not Surprisingly then, there’s a ratio of 1 to 5 people spelling businessman as two words, when they shouldn’t.

If you’re using Microsoft products the problem is, if you type business person or businessperson, both are considered correct. The reason in the case of business person is because the spellchecker looks at each of these words individually, and since both business and person are themselves valid words, there’s no spelling mistake. Another gotcha is many people use online dictionary resources such as the online UK Oxford dictionary or Wiktionary. In many cases these are not suitable for Australia. The online UK Oxford dictionary lists the spelling as business person, which doesn’t correspond to the Australian spelling.

TIP: If you’re not sure whether the spelling of a word should contain a space or not, type the word without a space and the spellchecker will generally let you know if it is a spelling error or not.

Kelvin Eldridge
The preferred Australian English spelling.

NOTE: The above article was written for and published in the Credit Matters newsletter.

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