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How’s that spelled again?

At the Lexicon, we try very hard to spell everything correctly according to the books. We also try to capitalize words that Rowling capitalizes. We figure that if we carefully follow the books, we should be able to get it right.

How very wrong we are.

House-elf
Is ‘House-elf’ supposed to be capitalized? Nope, unless it’s part of a title like “the Appeal Against House-Elf Slavery of 1973,” (which is found in the WOMBAT tests, in case you’re curious). So why is it written as ‘House-Elf’ in the Book of Spells? Who knows. By the way, the plural is ‘house-elfs,’ not ‘elves.’ Oh no, wait. It’s written both ways in the books. Never mind.

Wizarding and Muggle worlds
What about Wizarding world? We’ve got lower case ‘wizarding’ in books 1 through 4, then upper case ‘Wizarding’ off and on in books 6 and 7, sometimes appearing both ways in the same chapter, just a paragraph apart. Same with Muggles … or muggles, depending on the chapter and the book.

copywrite Makani, used by permissionTrelawney‘s name
And it’s not just capitalization that causes problems. What about the Divination teacher’s first name? In the British editions, it’s given as Sybill while in the US version it’s Sibyll. The ‘y’ and the ‘i’ switch places.

Here are a few more:

  • Apparition is sometimes spelled Apparation.
  • Firewhisky is given as firewhiskey a couple of times.
  • Pure-blood (not as an adjective but as a noun) is also written as pureblood. Oh, and on Pottermore recently, Rowling capitalized it (‘Pure-blood’), while everywhere else in canon she doesn’t.

It’s a jungle out there in canon-land. Stay safe, kids.

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  • Alan d

    The Book of Spells was written “200 years ago”, says the Lexicon. Older books often capitalize things that are no longer capitalized. I think JKR did that intentionally to give the book an archaic flavor.

    • http://www.hp-lexicon.org Steve Vander Ark

      That’s a really good way to explain that. I always like to try to stay “inside the story” when I come up with explanations for things. Good call.

      Steve

  • Guest

    The Book of Spells was written “200 years ago”, says the Lexicon. Older books often capitalize things that are no longer capitalized. I think JKR did that intentionally to give the book an archaic flavor.

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