Writing for Business - A Whatis.com Blog

Oct 19 2012   1:55PM GMT

“Withold” or “withhold”

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

 

Which is correct?
Publicly traded companies cannot legally _________ financial results.
a. withold
b. withhold


Answer: b.

 

Explanation:
I was typing away this morning and had one of those lapses that seem to happen more frequently as I get older — I couldn’t remember whether “withhold” had one “h” or two. It’s an odd word, with two of them side by side there. I tried typing them both out to see which one looked right but they both looked funny so I resorted to looking it up.

Then I did a verbatim search on Google — does it drive anyone else slightly mad that Google returns results for what it thinks you meant instead of what you type? GRRRRR … Anyway, I did a verbatim search so it would stop correcting me and here’s what came up:

withold: 5,920,000 hits
withhold: 173,000,000 hits

So it looks like most people that use the word know how to spell it. Or, I suppose, look it up. That’s always a good option.

Withold vs. withhold is one of the questions in this spelling test. Maybe I’ll try it … I’m sure I’ll get that one right.
 

Follow me on Twitter @tao_of_grammar

2  Comments on this Post

 
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  • dancha
    Similar ratio for threshold. 
    0 pointsBadges:
    report
  • Ivy Wigmore
    Interesting that we double the "h" in one case and not in the other.
    265 pointsBadges:
    report

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