How do you spell that one again?

One of my massive readerbase (grin) sent me this question;

“Lonelyness or loneliness, I have seen both versions used, but to be honest lonelyness looks wrong to my eyes, is there a preferred way of spelling, or a rule that must be follwed?”

Well accordingt to Google there are 130,000 mentions of LONELYNESS and over 9 million for LONELINESS, so I guess that if we’re going by popular useage then LONELINESS is the way to go, I’m not sure that spelling it LONELYNESS is wrong, per se, and there might be some rule that needs to be followed.

HAPPYNESS has almost 2 million mentions on Google, though from close attention most of those seem attributed to the Will Smith movie, though I do see people using HAPPYNESS as opposed to HAPPINESS, which has 60 million references, and appears to be common useage.

AHA, here we go

Words ending in y before a consonant usually change the y to i before a suffix.

So words like happy, beauty, mystery and so on get the Y changed to an I, so therefore, LONELINESS is grammatically correct and LONELYNESS is not.

And I too will admit that LONELYNESS looks wrong to my eyes and the advertising for The Pursuit of Happyness made me cringe, much like Inglourious Basterds which sent my inner grammar nazi into a frenzy.

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