nite and night

Discussion in 'English Only' started by riglos, May 30, 2006.

  1. riglos Senior Member

    Argentina - Spanish
    Hi all!

    Sometimes I find the word "nite" in place of "night", as in "all nite long", "tonite", etc. I'd like to know whether this is a slang term for "night", or a simplified version of it, or both, or what? I think it is not standard English, but, then again, you are the native speakers. In which contexts would you expect to hear or read this word?

    Thanks a lot!

  2. deddish Senior Member

    Ontario, Canada
    English .ca
    It is the Americanised version of the word.

    In the UK, Canada, I don't know but am surmising the rest of the mainly English-speaking world, it is "night".
  3. french4beth

    french4beth Senior Member

    Yes, Mara, you're right (or is that 'rite'? just kidding).

    According to The American Heritage Dictionary, 'nite' is informal; according to Merriam Webster On-Line, it's a variant of 'night'.

    I would say that it's very informal, perhaps on advertisements, never in written correspondence.
  4. Kelly B

    Kelly B Senior Member

    USA English
    The vast majority of Americans also agree that night is correct, and would not use the spelling nite. It is mostly reserved for cutesy advertising.
  5. comsci

    comsci Senior Member

    Taiwan, Vancouver(B.C.) and the Rockies
    Mandarin, Taiwan(Yankees 40 Wang)
    When I was in school in Canada, I was explicitly instructed to avoid using these shortened formes whenever possible without having consequences of marks being taken off from your paper. People get lazy these days but when I come across shortened words like "nite", "thru" and all those mentioned above, I would give a second thought before attempting them. The bottom line is: Standard English forms should be something that we all strive for. :)
  6. moirag Senior Member

    English, England
    It is not considered correct in Britain, and is probably much less common than in the US/ North America ( since we seem to have a bit of a Canada/US- thing going on here),however I must say that I´m now 49 and have seen terms like "nite" since I wasa teenager. It´s not accepted, but I doubt it is in the States, either. And, yeh, it´s adverts where you see it.
  7. deddish Senior Member

    Ontario, Canada
    English .ca
    Yon, I'd have to agree- I've known people who would never even fathom the possibility of spelling the word as "night", even in school. Of course, they're all my age and younger and were met on the Internet, so that might not be a majority.

    moirag: The Canada/US thing is going on because it's accepted in America and not Canada, quite simply put :)

    And I do not like "X-mas" either. Actually, it took me quite awhile to figure out what it was supposed to mean, and by that point it's easier to just write Christmas.
  8. mjscott Senior Member

    Welcome to the forum powel212!
    I was not aware of that fact of which you speak. CS Lewis wrote a disparaging essay concerning Xmas. I try and write it out when not in a hurry. As an educator, it is hard not to be frustrated when you see nite more often in cutesy advertisements than night written in print!

    Rite is rite
    Thru and thru,
    Both day and nite
    Not good 4-u....
  9. mplsray Senior Member

    Nite, lite, thru, and tho are spellings that were officially recommended by spelling reformers such as the Simplified Spelling Board around the turn of the 20th century, and they were used by the Chicago Tribune newspaper for many years. They don't get much use in edited writing today--the Tribune, among others, has dropped its advocacy of spelling reform--with a couple of exceptions: Lite is often used to distinguish products containing low fat or low sugar, and in an extended use of that, is used to indicate something which lacks seriousness: An example cited by the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary is "it is film noir lite." Thruway (built upon thru, obviously) is part of the official name of the New York State Thruway Authority and its Thruway Regional Advisory Network System. The online MW dictionary doesn't even list throughway as a possible alternative (although their unabridged dictionary has it) so the shortened version must be considered standard usage.
  10. dov

    dov Member

    Marilyn monroe used both of these forms in her notes

    "Night of the nite
    Seems different
    Night has no eyes nor no one
    Except for the night itself." ​

    is there any nuance of signification in this case or is it just a careless mistake, just as when she wrote "stair" instead of "stare" ?
  11. loggats

    loggats Member

    British English
    I imagine she was too hopped up on amphetamines to really care about the difference.

    Is that a poem written by Marilyn Monroe? It's quite sweet.
  12. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    English - England
    See post #9 above. It's not a mistake.
  13. lucas-sp Senior Member

    English - Californian
    It's actually very interesting and evocative here, because "nite" has connotations that differ from "night." "Nite," as the previous posts explain, is a peculiarly American term and smacks of advertising, neon signs, cheap eats and entertainment. When I read "night of the nite," I get the wonderful image of the darkness hiding right behind the bright lights of an American city night, like a "dark night of the American (nocturnal) soul," of the moment when the party ends and you have to step out, alone, into the true blackness that was hiding all around it and that your revelry attempted to hold at bay. There's that second of true loneliness and alienation when you leave the bar and realize that there just aren't any taxis that will stop for you anymore - that, to me, seems like a "night of the nite." I can certainly sympathize!

    (The fact that this play on "night of the nite" is only possible in written English is, I suppose, one reason why writing is better than speech...)
  14. dov

    dov Member

    very interesting!! << French deleted, except for this --->> merci :)
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 25, 2012
  15. dov

    dov Member

    very interesting!! (only here can we learn about such details), thank you :)
  16. Anna Jae New Member

    "NITE" is indeed slang or using and variation replacing -IGHT endings with -ITE. And yes is is for advertizing media--but not to be "cute." In advertizing and the like sometimes for the word to look aesthetically appealing the 4-letter variation is preferred. Likewise if the letters in the ad are lower case removing the "g" offers balance.

    This concept took me a looong time to accept because I like to be grammatically correct but in Ad Design grammar rules are often dismissed for visual appearance, time and cost (yes the extra ink has bulk costs).
  17. Siddhartha Sarma New Member

    What about in the case of celebratory events or just social gatherings? For example is it Bingo Night or Bingo Nite at the Senior Citizens Center?
  18. DonnyB

    DonnyB Senior Member

    Coventry, UK
    English UK Southern Standard English
    I'd say that, in the UK at least, we generally still stick to the traditional spelling and do it as Bingo Night or Quiz Night. But it wouldn't surprise me to see it as "Quiz Nite", adopting the principle of cutesy advertising that previous posts have mentioned.

    Oh, and welcome to the forum! :)

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