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Resume, resumé, or résumé?

What is the correct spelling of the thing that gets you a job and what is the name of the funny thing on top (grave or acute) of the the letter e?

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For those who prefer a little ostentatiousness, an easy way to type "résumé" (with the accents) is to misspell it as "resum." When you right click on the misspelled version, one of the replacement options is "résumé." As to whether you SHOULD use the accents, I'll leave that to my fiancée.

Verso Folio September 12, 2017, 10:23am

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From the number of differing comments displayed here over at least six years merely confirms that there is really no correct/incorrect way in which this counfusing word should be written, let alone pronounced.
I believe that it comes down to the manner in which it is used (by the writer - presuming she/he knows what they're doing-oh, dear LOL) in the users own area of residence.
Personally, I have considered the correct way is "resumé" for the following reasons -
1) Writing/spelling it in this way, especially in isolation, shows the reader she/he should not considering 'continuing' in any manner. In other words "I am a list of experiences concerning the person named in this paper".
2) Pronunciation should be as "ey" to ensure the listener(s) understands what this word indicates "that this form/letter (CV-lol) is a list of experiences of the named person, do not continue 'doing' anything - except to use one's ears". It assures the listener that she/he only has to listen, you are not expected to continue with any manual 'work'.

aussieVic July 18, 2017, 4:43am

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In re: Roger Burnell's entry, quote: "Sorry to correct Jun-Dai, however 'anyways' is not an English word!" - end quote; I fully agree that the aforecited word isn't an English-word. However, 'tis a popularly-accepted American-English slang that – in my opinion – signifies the speaker's unique 'Americanness' and personal comfy in being such one. . .irregardless of anybody's discomforts or critique.

P Buenafé A. Briggs June 20, 2017, 8:57pm

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The verb 'resume' [meaning: "to continue working on a unfinished job"] is to be ideally-avoided when one includes the word "resumé" [pronounced "reh zhoo may"] or "résumé" [pronounced "reh zhoo reh] in the contents of your resumé [or résumé] to be 'snail-mail' sent to your prospective employer... such as: "Please evaluate the contents of my resume for their affinity to your published-requirements of the job-position opening that I am interested to do." Contextually, that sentence can't pass muster to a spelling-corrector-nutso; but the following, could: "Please evaluate the contents of my resumé for their affinity to your published-requirements of the job-position opening that I am interested to do." AND: "Please evaluate the contents of my résumé for their affinity to your published-requirements of the job-position opening that I am interested to do."

There are strict correct-spelling-nutsos in HR Departments; and your incorrectly-spelled word resumé [or résumé - or correctly-American-English-spelled "resume"] can very-likely get your application-letter fast-forwarded on-the-fly to the receiver's trash-can!

This particular French-word's total-absorption into the English tongue [and especially into the American-English lingo] isn't an excuse to do away with the accented "é" or "és" because:
(a) at best, the writer is presumed a lackluster and a liberal-minded idiot with 'loose' manners as regards laws'/rules' abidance who shouldn't be entrusted with mathematical calculations, scientific experientations, engineering specifications, financial matters [accounting, auditing], medical prescriptions, written legal argumentation, military secrets, pædagogical teaching and poetic/oratorical writings!


[b] at worst, the writer would be perceived as an English-speaking anti-French / anti-France racist extraordinaire who'd anglicized everything-French not out of routine convenience but for outright hatred against everything France-related. . .excepting french fries, perhaps - but definitely not any comely mademoiselle (if one is an English-speaking gent with raging-testosterone) or a Monsieur Adonis (if one is an estrogen-driven English-speaking lady)! That is, in addition to those irresistible bottles French champagne and cognac—which respective international trademarks can get the foolish English-speaking idiot legally-prosecuted if such stupid-fool insists to anglicize any of 'em!!! Moreover, any idiotic English-speaking moron could likely physically-and-insultingly thrown-out by enraged mobs of Québécois and/or Québécoise off the Canadian Province of Québéc with the proscriptive words "Persona non grata" explicitly tattooed in his/her passport to signify his/her lifelong-ban from re-entry into the extremely-discriminating world of those proud-of-their distinctive French-culture and everything-français, les Canadiennes et les Canadiens!

P Buenafé A. Briggs June 20, 2017, 8:18pm

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May I resume work on my work resumé?

CareerCoachDavid May 3, 2017, 10:18am

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Your pop up was rude and obnoxious...I will never go back to this site.

T.D April 21, 2017, 10:36am

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Sorry to correct Jun-Dai, however "anyways" is not an English word!

Roger Burnell January 9, 2017, 7:40am

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Resume and CV are far more common than the rest in print. There are keyboard issues with entering accents for many users.

Copy this to your browser address line for the evidence:

jayles the unwoven December 5, 2016, 6:23pm

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My English dictionary, which has the word with both accents as in French, nevertheless gives the pronunciation as res- as in bet, and the emphasis on the first syllable, which is more natural. Someone suggested emphasising the final syllable, which would be like doing so to the English resumED which would be hard to do, indeed, and frankly quite daft.
I say that if you choose to use a French word as in this case, then pronounce it as in French, or why use it at all? Or use curriculum vitae, much better.

Brus December 5, 2016, 9:16am

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Pronouncing this word as otherwise than Ray-zoom-ay is just plain wrong. Sandymc44 tells us that he or she was taught at college to pronounce the first syllable as long "a" (so RAH!! Rah-zoom-ay, then? Oh dear!). If long "a" means as in English then Ay, then Ray-zoom-ay, as we are insisting, which is indeed correct. You tell us you were taught it at college, but that it is wrong. Well it isn't: it is correct!

Brus December 5, 2016, 7:25am

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If we think it is pronounced 'resume-ay' we must think it means 'picked up where we left off' rather than 'summary' or 'summarised', and we are wrong then, no? That is why we need two accents, one on the first, another on the final syllable.

Brus December 4, 2016, 12:13am

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A glance in your French dictionary makes it clear that the first and last syllables have acute accents, so the word means 'summary' or more exactly 'summarised'. It is pronounced Ray-zoom-ay, after all.

Brus December 4, 2016, 12:09am

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When I took French in college, I was taught that an accent aigu (acute) meant you were supposed to pronounce the "e" like long "a." So there's no need for accent aigu over the first e in resume (we don't say RAY ZOO MAY). One accent only please, or none at all works, too.

Sandymc44 December 3, 2016, 6:13pm

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I don't think it matters, as long as you don't use a preposition to end a sentence with.
Bob spelled backiwards November 16, 2016, 10:31am

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Bryan Quach, you've solved the mystery!!!!! So both DO have diacritical marks; it's just that one goes to the left and one goes to the right. Twelve years after this thread started we finally have an answer that makes sense to me (unless someone else posted something similar in the past 12 years and I missed it. Thank you because honestly I didn't know about acute ( ´ ) and grave ( ` ) because I thought there was just é.

DetailQueen October 26, 2016, 6:00pm

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Thing that gets you a job is from French rèsumé. Not resume, which is an English verb, nor résumé which is incorrect because é = ay in tray. è = e in bed.

Bryan Quach October 26, 2016, 5:31pm

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Sorry Jun-Dai, but you are wrong, If we are going to use accents, let's use the ones that make sense. In current English resumé is pronounced REH-zue-MAY. There is no need for the accent ague on the first e, because that would indicate it should be pronounced RAY, not REH. My personal preference is to avoid these accents carried over from the French original, as we do for cafe. Another way to avoid the issue, in a document title for example, is to use all caps when appropriate, such as RESUME; then in even for proper French spelling no accents are required. Finally, don't take my word for it: per Wiktionary: "In Canada, resumé is the sole spelling given by the Canadian Oxford Dictionary; résumé is the only spelling given by the Gage Canadian Dictionary (1997 edition)." Oxford rules for those who wish to speak and write English; Americans are welcome to use their Webster's as long as they keep it south of the border.

Greg Kokko October 16, 2016, 9:04pm

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Even if some words are assimilated into english, they normally should retain the original accents, otherwise how (except in by context) would anyone know which is which? Adding the slant also helps a lot by indicating the last 'e' should be pronounced... For example, "I should resume writing my resumé"? The analogy with cafe and café doesn't hold, because in that case we are not trying to distinguish between 'coffee' and 'cafe' or 'café'?

G.G September 19, 2016, 6:29am

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The accent is called an accent aigu and is usually put on both e's so the reader does not confuse résumé with resume - meaning to start working again on what you were doing previsously

Nana2 August 24, 2016, 11:46am

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I live in Canada and we would be appalled to see "resume" (pronounced here as "re-zoom") as the spelling for something we pronounce as "reh-zoom-ay". Either "resumé" or more correctly "résumé" works for us, and we don't consider the accent(s) poncey or pretentious. Then again, the majority of us also speak French, so accents are pretty normal up here. Perhaps just use "CV" and spare us trying to figure out if you're wanting to begin again or seeking a job. But please don't call us pretentious for using correct spelling. :) While we're at it , what's up with "story" to indicate the number of floors in a building? I guess there really are many stories in the Naked City. But clearly no storeys. I'm American-born but it still drives me nuts to see letters dropped for no discernible reason.

SKS July 26, 2016, 2:45pm

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Speedwell - I understand "affected overcorrectness" and "we don't use accent marks in English." But it's nice to have a clear difference between "re-zoom" and "rez-oo-may," and the accents clearly eliminate any ambiguity.

doug July 19, 2016, 2:12pm

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This debate has gone on since June, 2004. I will say I've learned that Curriculum Vitae is singular and Curricula Vitae is plural (vitarum would mean each one refers to multiple lives)... but as far as resume is concerned, there have been professors, editors, French people, Canadians, Australians, so on, all discussing this and arguing over which dictionary is correct and so on...

It seems that, much like the required number of licks to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop... the world may never know.

Phils May 19, 2016, 1:01pm

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single: curriculum vitae
plural: curricula vitarum

George Stephen April 20, 2016, 5:48am

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I'm fairly certain that in american society today, the word should be, correctly, pronounced in E-Bonics,
since our american culture is now 97.3%
wanna-bees, and 'resume' (ain't nuttun but a thang).

White Rook February 26, 2016, 1:51am

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Permanent link:

AlanD February 24, 2016, 11:07pm

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xkcd now has the definitive answer to this:

AlanD February 24, 2016, 11:06pm

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Thank you everyone you cleared up everything for me, and I can't believe this discussion has been going on for five-years!

Peta February 20, 2016, 6:44pm

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Resumé would be the international spelling for a document known in America as a CV. This is pronounced the same as café which is also a French word adopted worldwide for a coffee shop. Apparently the English language is spoken in the US also.

steven1 February 4, 2016, 9:29pm

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The middle one is the only correct one for how it is pronounced. The accent gives it the 'ay' sound. We don't say 'Rayzooay' in English. They do in French, though, which is why both e's are accented in French.

For the same reason, dropping the accents makes the e silent, and it becomes the word 'resume', as in to continue or restart something. That's a completely different word with a different meaning.

Resumé is the only way to spell it that makes it correct to the way it is pronounced in English - any other way is wrong in English (though accenting both e's is correct in French, as they pronounce the word differently.)

Justin W. August 25, 2015, 12:19pm

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If you search online for résumé envelopes you will see that manufacturers of these products accent both e's in their products. From the discussion in this thread, you can see that there are mixed thoughts on how to accent e's in résumé; however, it is doubtful that any of the three spellings will be the reason you do not get an interview. At the end of the day though, I prefer to accent both e's to demonstrate my proficiency with Word and I think others should as well if they are listing MS Word as a skill set on their résumé.

Anon4498 June 30, 2015, 7:11am

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its been 10 years. and I still hate improper grammar

anonymou s May 31, 2015, 1:11pm

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regarding what the drop kick said: you put an extra 'the' and... ReZomA. ReZomA. wow. I never realized how much I hate illiteracy

"You are all the wrong the real word is pronounced 'Re-Zoom-A' and is spelt ReZomÀ"

anonymou s May 31, 2015, 1:08pm

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I was annoyed the second or third time my husband asked why i typed ( resume') !!!
WOW, I had no idea how many others had this ongoing debate...

WasJustCurious November 24, 2014, 8:29pm

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No that's My line

Hagrid November 23, 2014, 1:14pm

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ADMINISTRATOR! November 23, 2014, 1:13pm

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Oh, no it's not!

Warsaw Will November 20, 2014, 10:16am

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Administrator November 19, 2014, 2:36pm

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No you are wrong 'The drop kick' it is a bad name to call your self and I have been told that the real word is Resumè

Steven Homes November 19, 2014, 2:28pm

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You are all the wrong the real word is pronounced 'Re-Zoom-A' and is spelt ReZomÀ

The Drop Kick November 19, 2014, 2:25pm

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@looloo - there was a type of cheap café in Britain in the fifties and sixties, serving things like fried food more than coffee, as far as I remenber, which were indeed known by many people as 'kayfs'.

Warsaw Will August 8, 2014, 10:27am

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@ Pdaines " From a linguistic perspective, resumé seems the most rational. Résumé would imply the French pronunciation ray-zu-may, which is clearly incorrect as well as awkward"

Actually it is not. You are assuming that the French pronounce the last é like an American. It would sound stupid to apply the same sound to both e's the way we say it: rAy-zu-mAy. However, when broken down, most French native speakers would pronounce the é as reyh-zu-meyh...with less of an emphasis on the "Ay" sound. It sounds better when you say it like that, and not awkward at all: reyh-zu-meyh

My personal taste is that we compromise and spell it the way we say it as Americans, which is "resumé". We pronounce the initial 'e' with an eh sound, not 'ay', but we do pronounce the second 'e' with an "ay" sound; the spelling of "resumé" reflects the American pronunciation of this french word. Personally I HATE when café is spelled cafe because my mind can't help but turn the pronunciation into something that sounds like "kayf"

source: my entire family speaks French and my mother's native language is French

looloo August 8, 2014, 7:16am

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Everybody get ready for the 10-year reunion on Tuesday! Is chas still around?

Chris B June 20, 2014, 5:58pm

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In my view it's resume'.

My reasoning is it is pronounced reh-zu-may (English speaking countries)
And the e' part is not because we are giving reference or respect to french history, but because the ending vowel changes its sound when it has an accent placed above it. ie Instead of resumee its resumay.
Which is resume'

That's how I was taught anyway.
But, I do notice my iPhone places both accents on, so that's a bit irritating.
I wonder what English teachers (or English professors) teach their students in school.

kimsland June 8, 2014, 5:32pm

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craig a lance, are you an english?

Billy Bob's Brother February 13, 2014, 5:46am

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Billy Bob,
Are you kidding with your English? "are you an engineering?"

Craig A. Lance January 29, 2014, 7:00am

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speedwell2, are you an engineering?

Billy Bob January 29, 2014, 6:53am

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If Jun-Dai comes to Canada, I'm going to beat her senseless with my resumé.

daweiman December 18, 2013, 11:29am

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I think people underestimate the dynamism of language. There is no correct or incorrect way of communicating, and once you realize this, the sooner you will realize it's all about communicating effectively. What was once jibberish can easily become an effective word to those who are in agreement as to what it means. That's why I prefer to use one accent over the final letter because it tells you exactly the way I would pronounce it in spoken language. I don't care how it is "supposed" to look, so long as it communicates precisely how I want it to read. I also agree that no accent is fine because context almost always enables proper interpretation. The double accent would be my least preferred option, simply because we do not pronounce it that way in American English (so it comes off as pretentious).

AC December 11, 2013, 8:35am

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As Professor Henry Higgins once said, "There are even places where English completely disappears; in America they haven't used it for years!"

BradR November 28, 2013, 1:38am

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1) what a hilarious thread!
2) thank you to fancy_dave who said, on February 7, 2005: "The punctuation marks on top of the letter 'e' in French are for pronunciation, not for 'accenting' the sound ...." and thereby cleared up the ridiculousness of mistaking French accent marks for "stress" marks.
3) thank you as well to speedwell2, who said, on June 25, 2004: " ... I should add that in most of the US the unaccented form is preferred; the accented form is thought of as a sort of affected overcorrectness."

darc November 9, 2013, 9:20am

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Craig, you have hit the nail on the head. The acceptance of the incorrect spelling with one accent, which is neither French nor English, is American. The joke is, of course, that it does not feature in the actual document which it describes, as it serves no purpose, does it? Is it the title? I have never made one, nor seen one.

Brus November 5, 2013, 12:58am

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I agree with Craig. Thanks for confirming what I already knew and use.

Royt November 4, 2013, 10:09am

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This is a great explaination why 'resumé' is the accepted spelling (taken from above URL):
The spelling with two accents follows the French spelling, but in the case of “résumé,” that spelling is problematic when used by English-speakers, for reasons given below. Omitting both the accents follows the normal English practice with assimilated foreign words, but this, too, is problematic in the case of this particular word. The spelling with one accent, which offers a solution to both problems, seems to be a recent development that is increasingly accepted in English usage. Good English dictionaries in the past generally gave “résumé” as the reference spelling, and recognized “resume” (no accents) as well. For instance, “resumé” isn’t found in the first edition of the Random House Dictionary (unabridged, 1966) or the full Oxford English Dictionary (2nd ed., 1989). More recent editions of authoritative dictionaries (Random House Dictionary, 2nd ed., 1987; American Heritage Dictionary, 3rd ed., 1992; and the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, 5th ed., 2002) also recognize “resumé.” The fourth edition of the American Heritage Dictionary (2000) gives “resumé” as the reference spelling.

The Shorter Oxford notes that the spelling “resumé” (one accent) is particularly associated with the sense of a summary of employment qualifications, which sense is “chiefly North American.”

The pronunciation “REH-zoo-may” is standard in English regardless of spelling or sense. (French also places the primary stress on the first syllable.)

Craig A. Lance September 28, 2013, 9:15am

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Oops, it would help to include the URL:

Craig A. Lance September 28, 2013, 9:10am

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Well, I'm finding answers all across the board, both on this post and the Internet. This professional resumé service seems to choose the middle, single acute accent, resumé explaining that it is an English form of a French word, limiting their scope to North American audiances.

MS Word finds resumé misspelled. Lately, I've been using this form, though.

Craig A. Lance September 28, 2013, 9:03am

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Brus: o = i in "women".

Chris B September 24, 2013, 3:48pm

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resumé, or résumé?
I'm with you there, Tango. We don't have accents in English, as we all know, so when we use them in words borrowed from other languages, such as French, why use them? Well, I say, if we do borrow them, let us borrow them intact. Resume pronounced résumé is now an English word, needing no written accents. Résumé with both accents is a French word borrowed by English, unchanged. If resumé is not found in French why would we have it in English? It is indeed amusing that the French do not use their own word for a curriculum vitae, but borrow that term intact from Latin, as do we also when we can't, through ignorance, find the acute accent in Word. I do, anyway.

Brus September 22, 2013, 2:52am

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From a practical perspective, it seems sensible for people using whatever version of the English language that applies in their country, to not use accents because most people don't know how to insert accents when typing in English. (It's not difficult to do and Word's help function will give you the instructions to do it, but most people don't want to be bothered.) In any event, the meaning is going to be clear by the context in which the word is being used.

What I found interesting is that in the French version of (ie, the term CV is used.

Tango September 21, 2013, 5:54pm

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You argue that you would go with the French version because you find their style more eloquent and pure? I respect your choice. I simply present the view that since the words are used by Americans interchangeably, that, in America, people can choose which spelling they find appropriate for their purposes. It reminds me of the clique: tomato, tomahto. Of course that's a pronunciation, not a spelling preference but the idea is the same. Especially since the accents are used for pronunciation purposes.

Anonymous#2 September 21, 2013, 4:18pm

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I take the view that fish is correct, phish is not, I was using your logic to show that it is not sound, and you agree with me. If the dictionary allows one accent on resume where the French one does not, then I go with the French, I am afraid, for that noble language is proud of its purity, and the Academie Francaise has a language committee to stamp out impurities, while English is proud of not being very fussed, sometimes.
And let us remember George Bernard Shaw who would have us think "ghoti" is a way to spell fish, as in enough = gh = f, motion = ti = sh, and I forget why o = i, but it's all very silly, although he meant it. Perhaps 'o' in "simpleton" for example sounds like 'i'.
Why should you not change your name with each piece you send in? Shakespeare would have been proud of you. And as you say, you didn't.

Brus September 21, 2013, 3:24pm

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Except it apparently did.. strange

Anonymous#2 September 21, 2013, 3:10pm

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I think we can all agree that there is a difference between the different ways of spelling resume and cat versus kat. After all, in no dictionary are you going to find kat or elefant or phish, yet many dictionaries contain all three versions of resume. If people begin to alter the way they spell these words often enough that they become synonymous, then will I agree with you.
ps. sorry about the name change, the site wouldn't let me submit under anonymous#2 again.

Anonymous#2 September 21, 2013, 3:09pm

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This man (for it is clearly not a woman) argues that "people have the way they prefer to write it and as long as the meaning is clear it shouldn't matter which way they choose." It is fine then to write 'elefant' or 'phish' or 'kat', it follows. Pish! as Shakespeare (who spelled his name 32 different ways, I am told, according to his mood) would say.

Brus September 21, 2013, 1:00pm

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I'm mainly commenting on this thread just to say I was a part of it... an almost 10 year conversation is quite an accomplishment. As far as I can tell two accents should be used if you want to be proper, or when writing to a French person. No accents is acceptable, especially if you don't know how/ are too lazy to write the accents, or if you are writing to an American. One accent is used when you would have not used accents but you also want to use the word resume (to continue) and you need to differentiate between the two. To say that one way is more accurate than the others is slightly naïve. People have the way they prefer to write it and as long as the meaning is clear it shouldn't matter which way they choose.

Anonymous#2 September 21, 2013, 10:46am

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From a linguistic perspective, resumé seems the most rational. Résumé would imply the French pronunciation ray-zu-may, which is clearly incorrect as well as awkward. Resume is reasonable from the standard of anglicizing the thing. But there are tons of things that we never really anglicize, or only half-way anglicize. The real standard should be what makes sense in English. As far as pronunciation goes, resumé is accurate. We have the added benefits of explicitly distinguishing "to resume," and one less confusing word where an apparently mute "e" starts shouting unexpectedly!

Pdaines August 6, 2013, 8:03pm

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The AutoCorrect option is a wonderful tool. Thanks for reminding us Detail Queen. I use it to type acronyms for long medical conditions lHSS (Idiopathic Hypertrophic Subaortic Stenosis.) How many times would you like to type that? A virtual reunion? I love it - count me in!!

TruthWhisperer July 26, 2013, 3:52am

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I feel like we should be planning a 10-year reunion. :-)

No matter where you put the accent (I'm in the "résumé" camp), here's an easy way to type it without having to remember each time how to do it. Use the Alt-whatever key or find the key in your Symbols options to spell the word correctly, then set up an AutoCorrect option so that whenever you type, for example, "xresume" (or whatever you want to use as your AutoCorrect option) it will automatically convert to "résumé" when you are using MS Word. Is that helpful? On that note, I will resume working on my résumé.

P.S. I still think a 10-year thread celebration is in order. June 24, 2014, would be the date, and "chas" would be the guest of honor for being the originator.

DetailQueen July 26, 2013, 1:54am

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On my keyboard (no separate numerical pad) , there is a ^ sign above the 6. So I just do - shift + 6 + e - which gives me ê. As simple as that.

Warsaw Will July 25, 2013, 11:37am

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Hi Brus,

To make ê type alt-136 (on the numeric keypad): mêlée
At least that's how I do it.

Chris B July 25, 2013, 2:51am

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See for circumflex. It's easier on a Mac than in Windows.

TruthWhisperer July 24, 2013, 5:52pm

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Q: What do you call a person who asks "what do you call a person that asks..."?
A: An American.
Q: Is the relative pronoun 'who/whom/whose' redundant over on that side of the Atlantic?
A: Yup/Yep/Yuh/Ja. Seems so.
Q: Why?

Warsaw Will: I like your answer. I still think that if you are going to use one accent on a word which has two you had might as well use them both. Idle to show you can, then don't. Once you have cracked the keyboard code to insert the accent, use it, I say.
How do you make a circumflex? I can't do melee until I find out.

Brus July 24, 2013, 3:29pm

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Now just for fun go to and type in resume. The results will include pronunciation results for resume and résumé on separate lists. Listen to the pronunciation by Americans, Canadians, (1) German and, at last, saintsaens21 (Male from France.) Which do you favor? This is interesting because you have people telling each other exactly how it should be pronounced, but have a French native pronounce it and it is almost unrecognizable to the American ear.

TruthWhisperer July 24, 2013, 3:24pm

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I agree with this line of thought! If you are posting this using the Internet, you are capable of looking at an online dictionary (or forvo, Bing translator, babel fish, etc.) Is this a contest? Does the 'last' poster win? No and there are enough reference materials out there for a definitive answer. I'm a well-traveled American and this is a joke at our expense. What do you call a person that speaks three languages? (trilingual) What do you call a person that speaks two languages? (bilingual) What do you call a person that speaks one language? (American) It's funny and sad at the same time and I'm sure I'll be the new target for that sacrilege : )

TruthWhisperer July 24, 2013, 3:10pm

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Hi Brus, I wasn't feeling particularly grumpy; I was trying to find a compromise. Here's you and b.r.whitney both insisting on your particular version being the only correct one, whereas you are both right, as any American dictionary would have told you.

And there are some people on this forum who never seem to look up a dictionary, even though it's only a click away. Just look at the threads on the past forms of "text" and "plead", and on "cannot" and "can not" if you don't believe me. Much of the discussion takes place as though dictionaries didn't even exist.

I can assure you that British dictionaries are just as descriptive as American ones; that is the job of a dictionary. In fact the (in)famous 3rd edition of Websters New International Dictionary was rather better received in the UK than in the US.

I accept that résumé is only given one spelling in British dictionaries, but as you say, it has a different meaning in British English, and we don't use it that much anyway. And as you well know, British spelling often differs from American spelling in any case. I wouldn't go by an American dictionary for a British usage, so it seems reasonable to stick with American dictionaries for an American usage.

Most foreign loan words that are used a lot in English sooner or later adopt a native English spelling. After all, something like a quarter of all the words in English come from French one way and another, but we don't use accents on most of them. And résumé has been around in English since 1804, so it should have been well-enough absorbed by now. As it is used a lot in American English, it wouldn't be really surprising if it also underwent some form of Anglicisation there.

What you call half-baked and lazy (and you call me grumpy!) is in fact very logical. The first accent isn't needed in English, but it helps to have the final e accented to make sure we sound it.

I think you're being a little over-optimistic if you think the average Brit has much of a finer grasp of the niceties of grave, acute and circumflex accents than the average American. I certainly didn't till I studied French at university level.

You may not like particular spellings, and that is your right and you don't have to use them. And I understand your affinity for French; it's a language I love as well. But we're talking about English,and as these alternative spellings for a specifically American usage appear in just about every American dictionary, I don't see how you can really insist that the original French spelling is the only correct one.

Personally, I trust the scholarship that goes into producing these dictionaries rather more than the personal opinions of individuals expressed in forums like this: yours, mine or anyone else's. That may sound grumpy to you, but if we cannot even accept dictionaries as representing some sort of standard, especially when they all agree (the American ones that is - for an American usage), then it seems to me we don't have much grounds for a discussion. :)

Warsaw Will July 24, 2013, 1:38pm

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Warsaw Will,

you type in exceptionally grumpy tones today, wondering why other folk are so daft.

American dictionaries seem to follow the principle that they must be descriptive, allowing for the solecisms which have wormed their way into 'accepted' American English. English dictionaries, I think, try to be prescriptive, allowing only what has been argued or reasoned to be the 'correct' form. Long-standing errors such as aqueduct which of course should be aquaduct from Latin aqua-ducere, but isn't because it has always been aqueduct, but moving on ...,

the verb resume without accents (meaning to pick up again and continue or start again where you left off) and the noun résumé with accents (meaning a summary of anything, rather than being confined to the meaning attached to curriculum vitae) are the only ones in my English dictionary. No half-baked compromises mentioned. Melee does not need any accents it seems, rather oddly, but if you use one you have to use them both. No half measures here either. Résumé with one accent in and one left out is lazy and half-baked, ill thought through, a mess which is neither one thing nor the other, and even if American dictionaries accept this freak word that is not a sound reason to follow suit.

French is taught in schools in Britain, so the English (and Welsh and Irish and Scottish) know about French accents. That is how many people know about them, since you wonder. When we use French words in English we try use them properly, I am sure, fiancé and fiancée respectively and appropriately for example. You see linguistic horrors in the newspaper every day, but you don't put them in the dictionary. I saw "a peel of laughter" mentioned in yesterday's Daily Telegraph, for example.

I am sure that I would like when writing about perestroika and glasnost and suchlike I would use the Cyrillic alphabet to write these terms if I could remember how to get it on my keyboard. Now that would really be daft.

Brus July 24, 2013, 9:28am

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I wonder why some of you seem to think you know better than the standard dictionaries. (In fact I wonder if some of you even bother checking a dictionary before declaring that such-and-such is the only correct answer). Most American dictionaries seem to accept all three:

Merriam -Webster - ré·su·mé or re·su·me, also re·su·mé
American Heritage Dictionary (at the Free Dictionary) -
re·su·mé or re·su·me or ré·su·mé
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary (at the Free Dictionary) - ré•su•mé or re•su•me or re•su•mé (based on Random House) - ré·su·mé, also resume, re·su·mé

Merriam-Webster leads with résumé and American Heritage leads with resumé, but both of them allow both the other variants, so it's really a matter of take your pick - all of three have arguments in their favour:

résumé - keeps the original French accents, but English doesn't always do this when it adopts French words, eg melee, negligee (accent optional)
resumé - more Anglicised, but keeps the last acute to show that the e is pronounced
resume - fully Anglicised, but could lead to pronunciation misunderstandings

Keeping the second accute accent seems a good idea to show that the final e is pronounced (which it wouldn't normally be in English), and this is what usually happens with French words ending in a sounded e, such as blasé, cliché etc. But keeping the first one is not really necessary for pronunciation in English (how many English speakers know the difference between e, é and è in French?), and is optional in words like 'debut', for example.

So pick the one you like best, but I don't think you have much grounds for saying other people are wrong if they choose one of the others.

Luckily it's not my problem; where I come from it's a CV (as it is in France, incidentally; the French don't use résumé in this meaning)

Warsaw Will July 23, 2013, 11:50pm

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No, it is résumé. This is because it is French, borrowed by English. Pronounced roughly like ray-zoo-may. Acute accents as provided in the French dictionaries. It means a summary, the past participle of résumer which means "to summarise".
There is another word altogether in English, resume, to pick up once more where you left off. Pronounced ree-zume or rizume according to which dialect you favour. But the meaning is the issue under discussion. The discussion has gone on for nine years, and the answers require no more than a glance in a French and another in an English dictionary.
rem acu tetigi, surely?

Brus July 23, 2013, 3:04pm

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The correct spelling is "resumé." The word is pronounced reh•zuh•may; not ray•zuh•may. The reason for one accent and not the other is that the accent isn't there for decoration: it determines how the vowel is pronounced.

b.r.whitney July 23, 2013, 12:16pm

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I have to point out, Thad B, that café's doesn´t have an apostrophe. To make a plural you add an s. Apostrophe denotes possession, or a letter left out. Doesn´t it? (Does not it, leaving out the o and contracting what is left together). And of course cafés has an acute accent, as the French word being used here has one. I can´t cope with Starbucks because the cups defeat me, containing about a litre of coffee in a giant saucer with a minuscule handle, so it´s all over the table and the floor and my knees before I can get to taste it. Ridiculous! I don´t go there any more. There is one in Bangkok in Convent Street next to Molly Malone´s. I go to Molly´s instead. See the apostrophe denoting possession (she has the bar). Lots of accents there: Thai, Irish, English, Japanese ...
I am currently in Spain where there is a plethora of funny punctuation, especially the upside down ¿ before a question.

Brus July 3, 2013, 4:53am

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In the US or Canada I would say that café is the place to go to have coffee when speaking English (either variety). And yes, I would use the accented-e when spelling it. So you can "go get some coffee" or "would you like to meet me at the café for a cup." BTW - Hortons, Dunkin' Donuts or Starbucks are not café's (maybe Starbucks depending on location.)

And though usually with a soft word like hotel, you would think that 'an' would be proper, but it sounds funny to me (since I use a hard H in my New York hotel.)

Thad B July 2, 2013, 6:26pm

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When in danger or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout!

TruthWhisperer July 2, 2013, 5:30pm

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Oh Mon Dieu! I forgot about the Italian caffè, now I'm really confused, and time is of the essence. Same goes as before; what is a boy-nerd-person to do?

Twain's Tapeworms. July 2, 2013, 2:18pm

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Guys, would y'all comment on the correct spelling of cafe when used in English correspondence? I want to meet two girl-nerds for coffee (two is always better than one), and I'm composing with a formal email just now; therefor, I must get my spelling spot-on. Should I use an accent in the spelling? And how should I pronounce cafe when in the States? When I'm in Quebec, then should I pronounce café differently (I'm not Quebecois)? I assume it's pronounced correctly as "coffee" wherever I go since I'm natively English-speaking, so must I always pronounce café as coffee? And write it as cafe, non? Do you get me? Really? Thanks loads y'all! By the way, and sorry for the digression, but this may come in handy; is it 'an hotel' or 'a hotel'?

Twain's Tapeworms. July 2, 2013, 2:09pm

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Will and Porsche,
I think you're both sort of right about the pronunciation of French é. It's basically the first half of our "ay" diphthong in English. It's actually pretty close to the "e" in English "bed" and I'd say that's our best approximation. However English phonotactics (I hope I'm using the right term here) don't allow the short "e" sound (or indeed any short vowel sound) at the end of a word, so "ay" is the best approximation we can make for final é. That's why the two é's are pronounced differently in English, and why some people choose to put the accent on the second "e" only.

Chris B June 27, 2013, 3:13pm

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Will, regarding "An e acute is normally pronounced quite short in French (e as in bed) rather than ay (as in ray)", I'm afraid I must disagree. The "-ay" in English is a diphthong, starting with a short e (-eh as in 'bed") and ending in a long e (-ee as in free). In French, the acute-accented e is not a diphthong, but it's not a short e or a long e either. It's actually, oh, roughly halfway between the two. This phoneme doesn't exist in English, so -ay is as close as English can approximate it.

porsche June 27, 2013, 11:55am

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For all the high brow "academics" out there - "Curriculum Vitae" is also what Playboy calls the "résumé" of the Playmate of the Month!

SinTax'ed Enough June 25, 2013, 6:45pm

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To my eye, resume looks too plain for its fine european provenance. Since noone has offered a compelling reason to use only one accent, I suppose Ill use both. Thank you all for the entertainment with my english lesson.

Dale G June 25, 2013, 2:44pm

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This was a great help. Even though I couldn't type "résumé", I was able to copy and paste it. Thanks anyway! Post Stamp : This whole coment discussion is quite hilarious.

Isabella P. June 9, 2013, 5:24pm

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I, too, didn't read this whole thread--who knew the word "résumé" could inspire a nearly 10-year discussion? I'm in the publishing industry in America, and after being queried by a client about common usage for accent placement in résumé, I went looking for an explanation. After reviewing many sources (FYI: "résumé" is the first listing in Webster's Dictionary), reading through a good chunk of this thread, and knowing how important it is to edit for clarity, here's my takeaway: Because "resume" currently has two meanings in common American English usage, using "resume" when you actually mean "résumé" can cause readers to pause--even if it's imperceptible--to interpret meaning. This interrupts the flow of reading. There is no question in anyone's mind what "résumé" means (even if some consider it pretentious), so I will continue to use both accent marks for clarity.

Cindi May 25, 2013, 1:17pm

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Speedwell2, go home you're drunk.

Ava April 30, 2013, 10:42pm

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I love this discussion. Although I did not take time to read all of it because I began at 2004 and I don't have that kind of time to invest in a rhetorical discussion, it makes me want to RESUME study of my rudimentary high school French; makes me REALLY want to take Latin; and encourages me to ALWAYS listen to all viewpoints as that is haven't forgotten anyone! what encourages conversation and the eternal evolution of language. BTW? I'm just a poor ol' elementary school teacher. No real credentials, CVs, or resumes to speak of . . .

CeeKay April 22, 2013, 11:27am

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@Brus and Eoin - I think you're both partly correct as regards French punctuation - I make no comment as to its standard punctuation in American English. An e acute is normally pronounced quite short in French (e as in bed) rather than ay (as in ray) - and French dictionaries give the pronunciation /ʀezyme/ (rezoome) rather than /ʀeɪzymeɪ/ (rayzoomay). However it is true that the second e does get elongated a bit and ends up nearer /eɪ/.(ay). Of course if you're really going to do it à la française, you need to do something about the R as well (but that might come over as a bit pretentious). You can hear it pronounced here:

Warsaw Will April 5, 2013, 1:52pm

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No, no, you're wrong. It is pronounced "RAY-zoom-ay" and is spelled with both acute accents. And that's the end of it. If you want to use a French word for a summary, at least spell it correctly and pronounce it the French way, or why bother choosing it in the first place?

Brus April 5, 2013, 7:02am

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You're all wrong. It's pronounced 're-ZOOM-ay' and spelled 'reiklsn6mssslk/tyé'.

Eoin April 4, 2013, 10:24pm

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Oh please!! (exasperated tone). You do not need a Ph.D. or any teaching, just learning. By the age of 11 my generation knew that all it takes is a look in a dictionary: it says résumé in mine, and that's that. That's a French dictionary, of course.

If you want to do without the accents, do without both. You cannot do one without the other, as the old song goes. It's all or nothin'.

Keep it comin'.

Brus February 19, 2013, 1:57am

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This is awesome. I would love if someone with a Ph. D in English and teaching at an American university to weigh in

Cogjor February 18, 2013, 11:42pm

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I love that this discussion has been going on for nearly 10 years!
I like the idea that there is often more than one right answer to any question, something I try to encourage my students to understand. Along with tolerance and respect for others' points of view.
So as long as it is spelled resume, résumé, or resumé I think we all know what the writer means. For what is the purpose of language? - to convey meaning.
So maybe we could use txt langauage and write rsme?

Kiwi February 13, 2013, 8:15am

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... and now in 2013, on a Mac, you can just hold down the letter e (or a,i,o,u) and mouse over the desired diacritical mark.

Thad B January 25, 2013, 7:17am

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correction! I was using alt-138 for è instead of 130 for é...really should have proof read before submitting.

Leon M. January 23, 2013, 11:51pm

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After reading comments here for at least an hour, I had to give my interpretation of the use of the word 'resumè' in the framework of the English language.

Now, as we know, Rèsumè and Resume have the same spelling in English, in Australia I dare say that they are both pronounced basically the same (by the majority of people) up until the final letter, so therefore, for English users, I believe we should only use the inflection on the final 'e', to distinguish between both words when written.
Why must we spell it 'rèsumè' if we don't pronounce the entire word as someone from France? I believe most of us say 'reh-zu-may' for resumè and a toss up between ree-zyoom, or reh-zyoom for resume. All 3 words are constructed very similar at the beginning, which is why I believe we need not use the first acute E when spelling resumè.

It shows a common courtesy to the French language itself as we have lifted that word for our own use, especially as we still carry the inflection verbally on the final letter only.
I can't recall hearing any English speaking person pronounce both of the acute E's.

Another word that comes to mind which carries the same inflection in the English language that also holds its original French pronunciation is 'cafè'. The spelling of cafè still carries the acute E, as that sound doesn't exist in the English language unless we spell it to be so, like... CAFFAY or something similar.
It is also acceptable to not spell it with the acute E, as there is no other word that it can be confused with. The general English speaking population understand this and has accepted the English translation of simply 'cafe' without an acute E, we will still say it with the inflection, even though it is not spelled that way at all times.

My personal choice - resumè and cafè

Leon M. January 23, 2013, 11:33pm

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Yes     No