ricochet - ricocheted OR ricochetted

Discussion in 'English Only' started by audiolaik, Aug 15, 2009.

  1. audiolaik

    audiolaik Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    Hello,

    I've got a spot of bother as to the past and gerund forms of the word ricochet. Do you double the letter "t"? Which forms seem to be more idiomatic to you?

    a) ricocheted, ricocheting
    b) ricochetted, ricochetting

    I opt for "a".

    Thank you!
     
  2. timpeac

    timpeac Senior Member

    England
    English (England)
    I strongly prefer a. "Ricochetting" would suggest a pronunciation of "rikoshetting" to me rather than "rikoshaying".
     
  3. Matching Mole

    Matching Mole Senior Member

    England, English
    According to the OED (British spelling) it is: ricochetted, ricochetting. This is supported by quotations of usage. Despite the double T, the /t/ sound is still suppressed in pronunciation. So ricochetted is pronounced "ricoshayed".
     
  4. timpeac

    timpeac Senior Member

    England
    English (England)
    Really? Oh well you live and learn!:) Still looks wrong to me...:D
     
  5. audiolaik

    audiolaik Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    Just to muddy the waters, could it be possible to pronounce it like this: /rɪkə∫et/, not /rɪkəe[FONT=Arial Unicode MS,code2000,lucida sans unicode]ɪ/ /[/FONT]∫/ as in sheep; /e/ as in egg; /e[FONT=Arial Unicode MS,code2000,lucida sans unicode]ɪ/ as in train.
    [/FONT]
     
  6. Matching Mole

    Matching Mole Senior Member

    England, English
    Do you mean that the /t/ is not supressed? I think this is unlikely, and if you do pronounce the /t/ you are at risk of being thought ignorant of its proper pronunciation.
     
  7. Matching Mole

    Matching Mole Senior Member

    England, English
    Well I think that might be because it does look wrong! It's quite counter-intuitive, I think.

    The same goes for "crochetted", by the way. Infuriatingly, crotcheted (musical notation) is spelt with one T at the end, and that T is pronounced.
     
  8. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    I'm sorry OED, we must part ways on this one. I can't bring myself to suppress the two t's in ricochetted. Heck, it shouldn't even be a verb in the first place. What were you thinking? :D The pronunciation stays the same - between "ricko - shade" and "rickuh - shade".
     
  9. Matching Mole

    Matching Mole Senior Member

    England, English
    Merriam Webster Collegiate gives "ricocheted" as the primary spelling, and the double as "also". This would make sense given US English spelling conventions (e.g. traveled is acceptable in US English, but not in British). Interestingly, MEC gives ricochet with the /t/ pronounced as acceptable in the UK, but I have never heard it. I wonder if this is a dated pronunciation.
     
  10. timpeac

    timpeac Senior Member

    England
    English (England)
    I've never heard it either.
     
  11. Arrius

    Arrius Senior Member

    Spain
    English, UK
    By analogy with debuted. pronounced debyood, it ought to be ricocheted
    (rikoshayed). Furthermore, I have never heard anybody pronounce the T either in the noun, or any part of the verb.
     
  12. entangledbank

    entangledbank Senior Member

    London
    English - South-East England
    As the function of the doubling is to preserve the short <e> - pet ~ petted versus complete ~ completed - it seems bizarre to double a silent letter. The only excuse for it is that the <t> was once pronounced, and the spelling <tt> has lagged behind the pronunciation. I would definitely write and recommend ricocheted.
     
  13. So would I, entangledbank, so would I.

    Let's unite to defy the OED en masse and write ricocheted and ricocheting at every chance we get.

    The double t makes no sense.

    Rover
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2009
  14. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    Pronunciation AND spelling power to the people :D
     
  15. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    This septic isle!
    NW Englandish English
    Couldn't agree more.
    I have never heard a final t in any form of ricochet ~ I'd say the word has a long way to go before it becomes fully 'defrenchified'.
     
  16. mplsray Senior Member

    As I wrote in a previous thread,

    If the editors of the OED wrote ricochetted and ricochetting, that's because that is how they found those words to be spelled in actual usage.

    As it happens, richochet, both the noun and verb, once had pronunciation variants in which the t was pronounced, according to The Century Dictionary, which shows both the t-silent and t-sounded versions. That may or may not explain how the spellings ricochetted and ricochetting came about.
     
  17. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    I have three American dictionaries in front of me (Merriam Webster Collegiate, American Heritage, and Random House) that all say the double t belongs only with the shet pronunciation.

    All three dictionaries have crocheted and crocheting, only with the shay sound and no alternative spelling.

    The musical crochet (quarter note, Fr. noire), not to be confused with the French croche (eighth note), has stress on the first syllable only. At least in American spelling, this makes the t stay single, like the t in rocketed/rocketing and buffeted/buffeting (beat(en)/ing about, not served/ing up a smörgåsbord).
     
  18. se16teddy

    se16teddy Senior Member

    London
    English - England
    Whether you like it or not, the OED is applying its usual rule: the final consonant is doubled where:
    - the verb ends in t (and most other letters),
    - the final syllable bears the stress (or is the only syllable), and
    - that syllable is not spelt with a diphthong.
    Maybe you feel there should be a further rule that the final consonant should not be doubled if it is not pronounced - but that would make the rules even more complicated!
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2009

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