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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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I typed badly but I'm not in a mood to care about it right now because I'm getting a new kitten as soon as I get off work. :)

speedwell2 June 25, 2004, 5:44am

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Yeah. To get the plural, just add an S to your favorite of the three forms.

Incidentally, the plural of "CV" is "CVs," but the plural of "curriculum vitae" is "curricula vitae." Hooray for Latin.

speedwell2 July 7, 2004, 3:54am

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Haha, I stumbled across this page while trying to determine the correct form of resume. i no longer care, i'm more amused that this argument has been going on for 4 years! Cheers!

JC January 15, 2008, 1:42pm

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I meant to also post the appropriate paragraph from the link posted below, in case it went down:

"The Latin plural of "curriculum vitae" is "curricula vitae". Some people who know a little Latin think it should be "curricula vitarum" (since _vitae_ means "of a life" and _vitarum_ means "of lives"); but to an ancient Roman, "curricula vitarum" would suggest that each document described more than one life. This is a feature of the Latin genitive of content, which differs in this regard from the more common Latin genitive of possession."

speedwell2 October 21, 2004, 9:32am

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The first and last spellings are both entirely acceptable and correct, but please avoid the middle one. The mark in question is an "accent", and in this case, they are all acute.

Jun-Dai June 24, 2004, 7:31pm

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The word is French. The original spelling is "résumé", and this is the preferred spelling in English as well. However, since no English keyboard has a key with "é" on it (I type it via Alt-130 now) it has become accepted to simply say "resume". "Resumé" is not here not there -- if you know how to achieve the accent-aigue, then type the word correctly with both Es accented, if not, well, then use the un-accented version. The plural is "résumés" (or "resumes", depending on how you prefer to deal with the accents.) It is so both in English and in French.

The term "CV" is used too, quite a bit. In fact, it may be preferred because it's no less foreign than "resume", while being shorter and having no accents :-) ...

no August 6, 2004, 4:44am

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I always learned the middle one. Resumé is how it's almost always spelled around here.

Nica1287 July 4, 2004, 4:57am

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Surely the accent is used to indicate the pronunciation of the word. I pronounce this word "reh-zhu-may", not "ray-zhu-may", so I spell it with only the second e accented. I consider the first spelling (no accents) a convenience for English keyboard users and the second (both e's accented) as incorrect.

MarkG November 8, 2004, 3:44pm

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While "resumé" is acceptable (i.e., it is in the dictionary), I would recommend against it, because I don't see the value in retaining one of the accents and not both. The only function that accent marks have in the English language are to maintain the accented spelling in borrowed words, so it doesn't make much sense to me to retain the second accent and not the first.

There may be a reason in that the final "e" is spoken and not silent as you might normally expect, but that would be giving a new function to the accent mark in the English language. Anyways, there are plenty of heteronyms in the English language, so there should be no reason to fret over "resume" (I don't think there are any contexts in which this could be confused with the other word "resume," which is a verb). The argument between "résumé" and "resume" is about the same as between "café" and "cafe."

Jun-Dai July 19, 2004, 9:47am

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Jun-Dai is strictly correct, but 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.

One might think the accented form is foreign, However, I see many resumes from overseas (since I'm in the "oilngas bidness" in Houston), but 99 times out of a hundred they're just called C.V.'s (for "curriculum vitae").

speedwell2 June 25, 2004, 5:42am

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Ivy, there is a difference of opinion on whether and how words borrowed into English from other languages become part of English or remain part of their original languages.

Obviously, since we do not use accent marks in English, any words so adopted as English words will lose their accent marks.

Since the word "resume" is ubiquitous in English (we don't say CV, nor do we use a construction such as "statement of employment history"), I would argue (and I'm not alone) that it is now an English word and needs no accent marks.

speedwell2 July 12, 2004, 4:08am

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The punctuation marks on top of the letter 'e' in French are for pronunciation, not for 'accenting' the sound (as I presume you mean, in the sense of stressing or inflecting it differently).

Without any punctuation, the word is identical on the page (and nearly identical in French pronunciation) to the English word 'resume' which has its own distinct meaning. Although printed puns are a good source of cheap hilarity, we've got plenty in English already. Let's not make more if we don't have to.

I think we should resume using résumé in order to avoid confusion.

It might be harder to type, but are we not human beings???

fancy_dave February 7, 2005, 3:54pm

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To those who said that curriculum vitae is not used in American English:

That is not really true. Certain industries use CVs while most others do not. In particular, professionals in academia, medicine, law, and also music and art, typically would have a curriculum vitae rather than a resume.

Furthermore, at least in in American English usage, a resume and a curriculum vitae are not necessarily the same thing.

Usually, a resume is a short, recent, relevant list of accomplishments and qualifications, tailored to a particular job, or even a particular prospective employer. It is generally limited to two pages or less (some employers will intentionally discard any resumes longer than two pages without even looking at them).

By comparison, a curriculum vitae is a complete and comprehensive list of all activities encompassing one's entire professional life. It would include every job, school, award, seminar, performance, etc. and is not targeted to a particular job. It is usually much longer than a resume.



Oh, and according to several dictionaries, all three spellings/accent combinations for resume are correct.
MarkB, as to leaving out the first accent because YOU (and most English speakers) pronounce the first syllable as "reh-", not "rey-" really misses the point. The FRENCH always spell it with two accents because THEY pronounce it "rey-"! It's a borrowed French word, hence the two accents in English. One of my dictionaries, the oldest, actually lists "rey-" as a proper (not preferred) pronunciation. You might find this interesting, Speedwell, the same dictionary shows accenting the last syllable instead of the first as being correct (not preferred). After all, that is how the French say it.
To Full Stop: every dictionary I checked shows the spelling with no accents as the preferred one (all others are correct though).

porsche November 1, 2006, 9:11am

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that was a great remark speedwell.

goossun July 8, 2004, 9:45am

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OK, take and spank me with a saguaro.... In the last post I was (naturally) assuming American English. OF COURSE all other English speakers on the planet, practically, say CV.

speedwell2 July 13, 2004, 4:00am

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A brilliant, sophisticated discussion. Thanks everyone. I still have no idea how to spell "resume" properly, but was entertained and pleased to find a web posting without excessive bashing.

Zirt March 28, 2008, 9:36am

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Wow, what a discussion. I noticed that I wanted to accent the second "e" in resume, so (as an editor) I thought I'd see what the usual practice is on the web. And I found this highly engaging conversation. (Yes, I do start sentences with conjunctions, a practice for which I refuse to apologize. I have also been known to end sentences with prepositions if they are clearer and less awkward that way. For my target audience, readability is usually a top priority. Obviously not in this comment, though!)

I agree that an accent over the second e is helpful in distinguishing the word from the other word, but it's usually pretty clear from context what is meant. The part of the discussion that got my attention was the whole notion that CVs and resumes are interchangeable, when they are most decidedly NOT. I've worked in science, education, and health care, and I actually need both a CV and a resume. The difference is quite vividly outlined in this little online advice column:

As a "souithern bumpkin," I'd like to point out to BOS that "southern" does not normally contain an "i"--on either side of the pond--so I'm not sure how much spelling expertise we can rightfully expect from him. Perhaps he is a "yanqui ignoramus," but I still appreciate that he bothered to look up the word and share his findings with us.

Thanks for some fun reading, and may the debate continue!

Patricia February 5, 2008, 11:04am

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I always though eliminating accent marks in borrowed French words represented the heighth of laziness in English words and hints a little too much of Americans' xenophobic nature ...

... which is why, for some reasdon, even though I was educated in Georgia public schools which are always either 49th or 50th on nationwide testing scores, always defer to the original British spelling of wods like "honour" and "catalogue". The people I work with make fun of me, but hey ... I'm using classical English, so what do they k now?

efix February 25, 2005, 5:19am

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Just to answer your other question,

é has an 'acute' accent ('accent aigu' in French)


è has a 'grave' ('accent grave' in French)

Colin July 25, 2004, 12:08pm

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Jun Dai is right. Resumé is a french word. The accent that goes up is the acute accent. the accent that slants down is the grave accent. They produce difference sounds.

The grave accents give sounds that are close to "er" than "e" :P

ivy July 11, 2004, 5:12am

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I visited this page to see the plural form of

Can I get any help ?

ramalingamchelliah July 6, 2004, 10:17pm

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speedwell2 October 21, 2004, 4:15am

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For what it's worth, the current edition -- the Fourth -- of the American Heritage College Dictionary needs to go back to school.

résumé is a summary

resume signifies a continuance

resumé is a botched spelling of the French word

résumé is pronounced "ray-zoo-may", rather elegant

resume is pronounced "ree-zoom"

resumé is pronounced ruh-zoomay or ree-zoomay which to my ear means the spelling was probably coined by some souithern bumpkin or midwest hog breeder

BOS May 7, 2007, 9:26am

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You people are too smart for me. But for anyone who didn't already know, the keyboard shortcut to add an accent is Ctrl + ' or`, then the letter (e or a).

Best of luck with your resumes, hope everyone finds a job!

hitek007 October 23, 2008, 2:57am

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As an Australian I have always used resume, and if you really don't know whether to put in the accents or not then type the title of your document in capitals - the French usually leave off accents in capitals.

I agree that it has been fully assimilated into English and think that people should be able to tell by the context whether it is 'to recommence' or 'CV' - like wind and wind. The 'é' often gets mangled in online transit as mentioned.

The French pronounce acute accents more or less as 'ae' like in hate (as pronounced by an American), grave accents are a straight 'eh' like in hair and e with no accent is flat like in 'hurt'.

As an apostrophe advocate for the annoyance of all I am going to point out that 'it's' equals it is/it has, 'its' is possessive (the cat bit its tongue) and one might have '30 years of experience' or '30 years' experience' if the experience is a result of the years. Nonetheless, I do not intend to criticise (Australian spelling), language is evolving and one is resistant to change...

frieda June 12, 2007, 10:36am

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sorry to correct speedwell, but the plural of curriculum vitae is "curricula vitarum"

alan h October 20, 2004, 10:15am

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WE don't. American speakers--I mean U.S. speakers (OK, OK, Canadians, get off my case already).

I'm a secretary and I know these things. :P

speedwell2 July 26, 2004, 4:11am

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Whether the accents are appropriate or not I wouldn't recommend you use them. I've submitted several resumes thru job sites and just found out that they convert e's with accents over them to i's. So everywhere I spelled resume with accents came out as risumi. That looks really dumb when you're applying for professional level positions!!

BC April 11, 2007, 8:47am

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For what it's worth, the current edition -- the Fourth -- of the American Heritage College Dictionary describes the current accepted spellings of the word. If you're saying this dictionary is wrong, I'd like to know what special powers you have that tell you how the word is really spelled.

goofy May 7, 2007, 9:32am

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In general I think all three spellings are fine, though résumé looks pretentious to me (just my opinion). I usually write resumé, as I think resume looks like the English verb "to resume," as in, to continue doing something. But after BC's warning, I will make sure to exclude accent marks when sending in a resumé online! Also, I would like to thank Speedwell. "Spank me with a saguaro." That is probably the most brilliant expression I have ever heard.

AO April 11, 2007, 4:36pm

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Now you just need to convince other people to use real English. That, and I'm rather hoping you don't apologise for any of it.

(incidentally, Australian English uses résumé)

Persephone Imytholin February 25, 2005, 5:17pm

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'we don't say CV'??

Who doesn't?

Glenn July 26, 2004, 3:13am

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Yes, of course I know resume is an english word. Just trying to tell u it's borrowed from the French hence suggesting that French grammatical rules still apply if you choose to use the accent.

And just adding on to jun-dai's accent tutorial there with acute/grave.

ivy July 19, 2004, 6:21am

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Add me to the "Country Bumpkin" brigade. I had NEVER seen it spelled résumé before until today.

also, since I (and everyone I know of) pronounces it reh-zoo-may, I still prefer the resumé.

right or not :)

former Ohioan
current Floridian

Dhraga March 21, 2008, 2:31am

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For what it's worth, the current edition -- the Fourth -- of the American Heritage College Dictionary (which, as suggested by its title, gives preference to American usage practice), lists resumé first, followed by resume, and then résumé.

movieboyster May 1, 2007, 6:29am

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Hey Robin, what exactly is a professional Resume writer? Do you write resumes for people or are you just perpetually unemployed?

Anonymous March 17, 2009, 4:44am

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If you're going to put accents at all, put both (résumé), because this word is borrowed from French, and in French it has both. And, no, the first accent would not be grave. The difference between é, e and è is in the pronunciation, and they all sound different (think of the words "le," "théâtre," and "liège.") If you drop the accents, you're already anglicizing the word, so you might as well drop both. Or, keep both if you want to preserve the original French spelling. "Resumé" just looks like an incorrect hybrid.

dinnaeask December 2, 2009, 11:59am

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Ummm, I'm not like some great English Major or anything. I have a degree in Fine Art/Graphic Design. However, it has been my experience that one always uses the accent over the LAST "e" for this purpose. The accent is used to show which way the final "e" in "Resumé" is to be pronounced in the English (American) language.

"Resume", can be confusing in that you would "Resume your position". The First "e" is pronounced "eh" like in "epiphany" or "effort" while the last "e" is simply silent.

However in the word "Resumé", I was taught that while the first "e" with no accent stays the same like in "resume" with the "eh" sound, the accent over the SECOND "e" tells one to pronounce the last "e" as "ay", as in "Ape" or "grApe". If this rule is true, then to me, "Résumé" would be pronounced "Ray-zoom-ay", rather than the correct English (American) pronunciation of "Rez-oom-ay" or "Rez-ü-may"....if you prefer ;)

Thoughts? Opinions? I mean I definitely trust those who have studied English and other languages, MS Word Spell checker, & Webster's dictionary over me or anything I was taught any day....but just curious..... Thanks!

stdesignsite May 14, 2009, 7:30am

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>> If you're saying this dictionary is wrong, I'd like to know what special powers you have that tell you how the word is really spelled. <<

Spelling of résumé: For what it's worth, 30 years experience writing résumés (plural) for top professional and executive level personnel. The format I helped design is still offered by a majority of the on-line "resume" services.

BOS June 6, 2007, 4:30am

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And now for something (not entirely) completely different -- that I'm pretty sure we can _ALL_ agree upon:

"Résume" is not an acceptable spelling of the word in question, anywhere, anytime.


marklark January 15, 2009, 7:32am

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A good number of English words are French. I prefer résumé because I have a Mac and 'é' is very easy to type. I do get crap for it from time to time but I like to show that I'm educated. For people that are determined to make it an American thing, like Freedom Fries, I would suggest spelling it 'rezuhmay.' If you're in the U.K. avoid 'resume' all together as it spells yank with a capital 'W'. And I don't know why one would bother with one 'é'. Truly, unless you subscribe to the priciples of the Oxford English Dictionary that language should follow set rules, you can spell it however you like. 'Resume' by the way does have it's own meaning.

Weetus Cren April 25, 2007, 5:20pm

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u are all wrong, its actually rezoomay

hi November 16, 2008, 7:13pm

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To quote Kent Brockman: here's my two cents.

Spell it either without any accents at all ("resume") or with both ("résumé").

Depending on your particular English accent, say REZ-you-may or REZ-zoo-may.

I am a French speaker but I can tell you that you are not obliged to pronounce this word as if you were an énarque hunting for a position in the fonction publique!

JJMBallantyne April 5, 2008, 9:53am

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@JC same thing happened to me :)

I'm actually French and I was looking for the exact way Americans spell this word... And I still don't know after reading all this. But I can tell you how to pronounce it:

it's not Ray-Zoom-May
it's more like Ray-zuum-may

Benoit February 5, 2008, 5:42am

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I don't see how your job is relevant to how a certain word is spelled. Dictionaries report on the common spellings of words. What other authority do we have, besides the usage of the English-speaking and writing community?

goofy June 6, 2007, 6:07am

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Heighth? Sorry, it rhymes with shite. Go Georgia!

gillinson October 31, 2006, 2:03pm

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unfortunatley, I typed in what my mind was telling me too...

I had never seen it before. Until today.


Dhraga March 21, 2008, 2:36am

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"The accent above the last IS needed, without it the e would not be pronounced in English."

This is the epitome* of nonsense. Of course the "e" at the end is pronounced, with or without an accent. You're confusing the written representation of the language with the spoken language itself.

* So, should this be pronounced "epi-toem"?

JJMBallantyne May 27, 2008, 2:40am

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I prefer to use resumé. One accent.

Wikipedia does a good job of explaining why :

"A number of loanwords are sometimes spelled in English with an acute accent used in the original language: these include sauté, roué, café, touché, fiancé, and fiancée. Retention of the accent is common only in the French ending é or ée, as in these examples, where its absence would tend to suggest a different pronunciation. Thus the French word résumé is commonly seen in English as resumé, with only one accent (but also with both or none)."

info2 July 22, 2009, 11:13am

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In American academia, I've only seen "CV." Perhaps "resume" is too identified with getting a job.

CeiSerith November 1, 2006, 6:31am

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I'm with MarkG. The spelling, resume', represents the pronunciation "reh zoo may," which is how this word is pronounced in English (in practice, it may also be pronounced that way by the French). I avoid writing resume because it can be confused with "ree zoom," and I don't write re'sume' because this spelling does not reflect the way the word is actually pronounced in English (it is also very hard to write with an English keyboard).

Andrew H. December 28, 2007, 1:47pm

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Out of curiosity I passed Résumé though the Word spell check in the Queen's English (UK and Canada), Australian and American. Résumé passed all 4 spell checks.

"Résume" failed all 4 English spell checks, likewise "Resumé" failed all 4 spell checks. It would seem that Résumé correct in all 4 languages and the other permutations are errors in spelling. Resume of course means to take up a course of action that you had previously stopped.

I think the American aversion to the "é" is xenophobia. I have discovered over the years that Americans tend to avoid that which is different and belittle it. Trying saying "zed" in the US and the abuse you take. Anything that seems foreign is automatically insulted and deemed to be inferior. I have lived in both Canada and the United Kingdom and Résumé works - of course CV is the standard in the UK. In Canada CV tends to be limited to academic and medical circles.

shaunc September 16, 2010, 2:09pm

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Since English does not use accent marks, I do not use accent marks in words that have been fully assimilated into English.

I've never heard the word pronounced "re-zhu-may." Every time I hear people use it, I hear "reh-zoo-may" or even "reh-zoo-meh" (accent always on the first syllable, never the last one).

speedwell2 November 9, 2004, 3:32am

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"rodrios says:
April 4, 2008 at 9:05 am
Here here Zirt...."

that comes form a contraction of "Hear him! Hear him!" and so is "Hear, hear," not "Here, here."

brian.wren.ctr May 14, 2009, 12:40pm

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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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No <i>more</i> foreign, I meant.

no August 6, 2004, 4:45am

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Grrrrrr! Rrrrrrr! Ruh!!!!! Aaaaargh!
I have tried to post three times!
If this one works, I apologize
For thrice the amount of cheesy rhymes!
To resume my former critique,
Regarding the proper form of resume with y'all seek,
To Grumpy mama, she of the "pooh-pooh",
As to
If we had anything better to do,
I must pursue
The question: don't you?
Now I mean no disrespect at all,
In fact, I'm glad you posted,
I just wanted to bring your attention to the fact
That the thread you roasted
With such perfect tact
Is the same one wherein you posted,
So what's up wit dact?
Re: 's u and me
the cat of jade and her poemie,
man, my first two posts were so much BETTER than this!!
But they're forever gone, sniff, they will be miss'd,
But now I must be on my way,
To resume working upon my resume!

hee hee!!

nice thread.
'nuff said. :P

catofjade February 20, 2012, 3:51pm

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JC | Jan-15-08 6:42PM--I feel the same way!

I personally think that the accents should stay (perhaps I'm biased, I speak French). We still write the accents for things like "crème brûlée."

But then again, what aren't we willing to do for some burnt cream? ;)

Sara March 10, 2008, 9:01am

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The CV is most often used in academics and medical professions, and it virtually non-existant in the business world.

The résumé is properly pronounced REZ-oo-MEY. That is, the emphasis is on the first AND the third sylable. (Which is why it has accents there.) Other spellings are often found, but are not correct. Other pronounciations are not correct.

In business, many people ignore the accents in correspondence because they are lazy, or unable to figure our how to make an accent mark. Even though there is a high tolerance for the mispelled "resume" version, and it will probably not make a difference between getting the job or not, it is nevertheless, incorrect. It would be properly pronounced "REZ-oom".

I am not judgmental. Spell it and pronounce it any way you choose. But, if you want to know the correct spelling, that is it.

atomaton January 14, 2010, 9:53am

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Note that an even easier way to get é (at least with a Brit English keyboard, feel free to try it on yours!) is ctrl-alt-e, combine with a shift for capitals. Similarly á, í, ó, ú.

And FWIW, my opinion on the original question: while as a Brit I use "CV" for the document in question, if I were using the American word I would spell it with accents as otherwise it is too easily confused with the existing English verb meaning to pick up where one left off. (I was writing my CV but was interrupted. I am now going to resume writing my résumé).

Ian November 19, 2008, 3:59am

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What a fantastic debate!

4 years worth of advice and I am still undecided as to which spelling to use. Therefore, capital letters it shall be. :)

meclke April 5, 2008, 7:31am

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" 'The accent above the last IS needed, without it the e would not be pronounced in English.'

"This is the epitome* of nonsense. Of course the 'e' at the end is pronounced, with or without an accent. You're confusing the written representation of the language with the spoken language itself.

"* So, should this be pronounced 'epi-toem' ?"

It seems to me that you are overstating the case. There is an English word "ree ZOOM" but there is no word "EH pih tohm." The accented "e"s make it much clearer (no context required) that the word is "REH zoo may."

The assertion that it was rewuired was probably too stout of an assertion, but your sweeping it aside seems to me to have been too far in the other direction.

Without the accent, it is pretty sure that context will clear things up without a hitch, but the accent is very helpful as well.

brian.wren.ctr May 14, 2009, 12:54pm

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Ctrl + alt plus "e" gives me € from within MS Word, nothing outside it. (Those shortcuts, such as ctrl + ' followed by e or a are unique to the program being used as well. They work for me in Word, but not outside it.)

If you know the ASCII value for any character, you can create that character by holding the alt key while typing zero folowed by the code, then releasing the alt key. (You must use the number pad, not the number keys above the letter keys.)

è 0232 | ò 0242
é 0233 | ó 0243
à 0224 | º 0186 (degree)
á 0225 | ¢ 0162
ç 0231 | × 0215 (multiplication)
¥ 0165 | œ 0156
€ 0128 | æ 0230
® 0174 | ™ 0153
º 0186 | ¹ 0185
² 0178 | ³ 0179
£ 0163 | § 0167
± 0177 | ÷ 0247
ƒ 0131 | ¿ 0191, ¡ 0161
µ 0181 | ß 0223
¼ ½ ¾ 0188 – 0190

brian.wren.ctr May 14, 2009, 1:15pm

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"Grumpy mama: My God! Don't you people have anything better to do?"

The fact of the matter is that we have plenty of things we have to do, must do, should have done, will do, and should do but we absolutely don't have anything BETTER to do .Hey, we are exercising our minds, twisting, spinning, turning them inside out and there is nothing morel exciting and fun to do in this whole world.

For my own part, I heard people mention a "thread" on the Internet but I have never been on one before. When I signed on, all I wanted to know was the difference between the French accent signs, acute and grave. And here I am, 2 hours later, , having read every single post going back to 2004 and enjoying myself immensely. I have also learned many fascinating things about words that I never knew before, the least of all being the difference between acute and grave.

There was one short post from about a year ago that I agreed with completely but I haven't seen anyone pick up on it. The writer pointed out that in the word resume/aka "what you hand in when you want a job"-----the first syllable consists of three letters , not two, i.e. res--uh--may and the "res" rhymes with the word "fez". When the word is being used in conversation, not even native French speakers would pronounce the first syllable to rhyme with "may". The tendency when speaking would be to concentrate on the consonants, not the vowels: thus, rez-(short "e")-uh(schwa)-may. This pronunciaiton follows the same principle that governs words like "resolute", "resonant", and "resurrection." When looked at this way, the first accent is irrelevant and serves no purpose but the accent on the final "e" tells the reader that the word is of French origin and thus the final letter----and syllable----a single "e" is pronounced like the sound of a long vowel "a" in English.

I don't recall ever seeing resume written with two accent marks; I have always written it with one. But the operative word here is "written". When I used it in letter writing, I wold put an accent over the final "e". Back in the day when I used a typewriter, I would add the accent with a pen after the document was completed. From all the posts I have read on this thread, I am beginning to think that the only reason "resume" with no accent came to be accepted as de rigeur for "the thing you hand in to get a job", is because it's a pain to do accents on a computer.

Let's keep this thread going----what the heck, we don't have anything better to do, right?

Nutmeg February 19, 2012, 11:27am

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I am the one who originally asked this question, five years ago. It amazes me that it is still getting comments. For the record, I use résumé and I type "é"s with alt-e+e on a MacBook Pro (or as &eacute; in HTML)

chas.owens April 16, 2009, 5:26pm

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And for nerdy completeness, it is "curriculum vitæ", not "vitae" ;)

Graham Anderson April 20, 2011, 10:27am

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i seriously cannot believe I read this whole damn thread - FML

JosephLM March 25, 2012, 5:33pm

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Frieda, If I' not mistaken, the French pronounce the e with grave accent exactly the same as the e with no accent. The exact pronunciation depends on the surrounding consonants.

Anonymous June 12, 2007, 2:17pm

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Atomaton, regarding:

"The résumé is properly pronounced REZ-oo-MEY. That is, the emphasis is on the first AND the third sylable. (Which is why it has accents there.)"

I'm sorry but I have to disagree. The acute accent in French has nothing to do with emphasis. It affects pronunciation. The sole purpose of the first accent is to change the pronunciation to "REY..." Without the accent it would be "REH..." as you have indicated. By the way, I agree with you; in English, the common and correct pronunciation is "REH-zoo-MAY". Perhaps that's why the spelling with only one accent on the second "e" is also considered correct.

By the way, somewhere along the way, I was taught that when spelling phonetically, a consonant sandwiched between two syllables is nearly always considered to be part of the second syllable. For example, in the very word we're discussing, it should be phonetically spelled "REH-zoo-MAY", not "REZ-oo-MEY". Does anyone have a similar recollection? Of course, spells it "REZ-oo-MEY".

porsche January 19, 2010, 6:50am

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@TruthWhisperer - I caught your intentional self-referential wordplay immediately, found it quite clever, and was amazed and disappointed to find that at least one (humorless?) person managed to completely mistake your wit for what would otherwise be a ridiculously lame comment. ;)

@all others: At 37, I still find myself (from a young age to present) to be someone somewhat more concerned than the "average bear" with proper usage of grammar, syntax, context, spelling, naturally when I sort of stumbled across this thread like so many others have noted, I was at times enthralled, bemused, disgusted, etc....perhaps simultaneously. This thread represents the combined time and efforts of dozens of different people from different countries and different walks of life with differing views for different reasons....that in itself I found absolutely awesome (literally and figuratively). ;)

As for my opinion / or argument about the central word in question, I shant presume (as others in this thread have to a sometimes disconcerting disagree) to think that anyone reading some or all of this thread should be particularly swayed by any opinion or argument I might offer in favor of any of the three forms cited. I will simply say that I am a fan of George Orwell's essay "Politics and the English Language" in that Orwell argues for the preservation of certain standards and observances lest the English language devolve into a muddle of misappropriated groups of alphanumeric characters appearing to possess at least some of the characteristics typically associated with a formal language but being so poorly or lazily composed as to be irksome at best, and incomprehensible at worst. That being said, I think that this may be one of those "pick your battles" situations in which the frequency and environment in which the word in question is most often used or misused means that an evolution of simplification (regardless of the oft-argued potential for heteronymous complications) rather than preservation of what many might consider to be affected nuances of written or spoken English.

Now, I realize I have tread dangerously close to actually offering an opinion (which I said I would not do), but I hope that those who've managed to read this far into this somewhat tongue-in-cheek comment will recognize any such seeming contradiction as a tightrope act on my part that I like to think is not unlike the aforementioned comment by the ever-clever TruthWhisperer.

Ok, I'm done putting in my "deux centimes" on this thread. ;P

Here's hoping this thread will continue unabated and unabashed for another decade or two! :)

Not A Pedant But Play One On TV October 18, 2012, 5:00pm

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To Anonymous | Jun-12-07 6:17PM, an accented e in French is always pronounced like an American long a, although an unaccented e can also take that sound when surrounded, as you pointed out, with proper er in French is also pronounced as a long a...

Old Professor October 29, 2007, 11:24am

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You like Resume
I like Résumé
You like Resumé
I like Résumé
Let's call the whole thing off :-)

TheFrenglishman September 19, 2012, 8:27pm

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Here here Zirt. Fascinating. I do appreciate the info from BC 4/11/07 about e-mailing with accented "e" turns it to "i." It takes the pressure off my entire predicament ;)

rodrios April 4, 2008, 5:05am

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Yeah I agree with BC. The spell checker did something weird! Someone wasn?t on their personal computer. They didn?t see it until later. Don?t blame it on your assistant because it wasn?t her . Now Mr.Porsche, Do you really think that she?d address you by you?re first name on such a formal document? No, it wasn?t her... it was me! So spank me!
Typo Negative

TYPO NEGATIVE April 23, 2007, 6:24am

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After taking 7 years of French and spending years as a copywriter, I am applying for a job with an internationally renowned company. While I'm certain my "Resume" would be acceptable, it will be transmitted as a "Résumé" in deference to the company's international ties. Incidentally, I did a spell check using only one accent on the final "e" and Word (2003) spell check corrected it with both accents!

Creative Writer January 15, 2009, 12:58am

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Not sure how it'll render in this comment, in case anyone is interested, the correct way to get an acute e to show up correctly on a Web page is with what's called an HTML entity. The incantation for doing that is this (without the spaces):

& eacute ;

Paul January 18, 2009, 2:50am

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I like this article's response to the question of how to spell resume:
which gives the basis for each common version, and the best rule of thumb: be consistent or be wrong for sure!

rmox2000 August 17, 2009, 11:29am

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As for transmitting résumé electronically, AP style demands both acute accents, and news stories must be able to be transmitted over the wire. Therefore I think you will generally be OK with both accents. Using only the one seems like doing it only half-way, like someone else said. Use both or none, not one.

Emily May 24, 2008, 6:33am

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The accent above the last IS needed, without it the e would not be pronounced in English.

Jen May 26, 2008, 7:58am

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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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@RedRocks - seems you have ignored this entire, 8-year thread by assuming to sum it up with a curt jab in favor of French, to the exclusion of everything else. I speak French and English, but am able to be flexible to recognize several spellings of the word, all of which are considered correct in the US. I believe the key is to select one spelling for a particular document or communication, and use that spelling consistently throughout. To everyone else, very enlightening discussion. Thanks!

ShariT June 26, 2012, 4:43pm

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The French word has acute accents on both letters e. It means summary. It is the correct way to do it, there is no other. Sadly I do not know how to type these on this keyboard so I cannot quote. The good lady who didn't care what the acute accent is for because she was getting a new kitten was confused by kitten = cute = acute accent = what was i saying?
Curriculum vitae means course of life. The plural should mean course of lives? or courses of lives: so curriculum vitarum, or curricula vitarum. This thing about curricula vita means courses of life - how many courses can a life have?

Brus June 27, 2012, 11:49am

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Thanks so much for the keyboard tip! This will save me so much effort, as I frequently deal with accented words.

jkerschner49 November 3, 2008, 7:39am

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>> Does anyone can help me? When we pronunce the word "resume" meaning CV, is it pronunced as "résumé" or we just maintain its "original" pronunciation meaning recommence, begin again, etc? <<

Despite the controversy over correct spelling, "resume" as in CV is still pronouned "résumé" or "ray-zoo-may" fast, or, perhaps more popular, a fast Reah-Zoom-May.

It won't make a good impresion at the personnel office if you hand the person behind the desk your "CV" with the words, "Here's the ReeZoom you requested . . . "

BOS September 27, 2007, 3:28pm

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Ok, so I consider myself to be a grammar/punctuation Nazi (if I may use the term).

Despite what may be considered the norm, or even what may appear in dictionaries, the proper way to spell "that paper you create with all your jobs, skills and education", is: résumé. (By the way, to create the "é", you hold ALT and press 0233)

Rarely, I think, would an employer ever mention the accent marks or lack thereof but using them shows a level of education and intelligence. It certainly doesn't hurt and it only takes an extra moment of your time. Pride yourself in learning to write well, don't cut corners and you'll do well in life.

Also I would like to mention that this thread of conversation/argument has been going on for almost six years now. Awesome.

danielgalland May 27, 2010, 6:56am

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There is only one reason to spell the word "résumé" instead of resume, and that is to distinguish the two words that have different meanings. As F. David Bower noted, we are human beings, and as I'll note, we are generally thinking human beings.

Hal Haley October 1, 2007, 12:42pm

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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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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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So this argument could go on forever. Literally.

In reality, résumé, resumé, and resume are all correct. When companies (and magazines, etc.) brand themselves, they choose a dictionary to use and follow. When it comes to issues like this, they always defer to the first spelling listed in the dictionary. However, here's the catch: in the American Heritage Dictionary, it is resumé. In Webster's, it's résumé. There are discrepancies between every dictionary. So it all comes down to which dictionary and style you follow. Everyone is right.

If you work for a large company, chances are they have their own style guide that you should refer to, and when that can't answer your question they give you a style guide and dictionary to default on. Personally, I follow American Heritage because there's no reason for the first accent in résumé and there's no reason to pronounce the "e" at the end of resume if it doesn't have an accent. But that's just my style. So really, you're fine no matter what you use.

ajankowski1 July 15, 2010, 1:48pm

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This is a very interesting point and most enjoyable to address. From a linguiststic perspective and cultural point of view I will offer the definitive answer and then some commentary. It is a grammatical point that transcends all others in the strictest form of response and clarification. "Rèsumè" is the noun. "Resumè" is the verb. "Resume" is not actually anything. All of this is in French. The question arises from a conveyor's perspective to his respective audience. Apparently, there is quite a bit of debate over the matter and, obviously, subjective views based on a variety of factors. It is most clear that the noun, in French, is the most correct i. e. if one had to supply evidence and site or substantiate a position. The verb would be the most inefective in correctness. Americans can be excused, since their keyboards do not accommodate the appropriate accent. Afterall, there really is no American word for the document, so they borrowed a French word and modified it based on necessity and convenience. Sure, it ruins the flavour and disuades from the original tone and texture. That is the American way of resolution, evolution, and dissolution. So, if you are in the international sector with a learned group of educated professionals, the choice is obvious. If you are outside of that circle, most likely, no one may notice the inclusion or exclusion of one or two accents. There is argument for the use of any spelling. However, there is no argument for its correct use, according to rule. The linguistically correct is "RÈSUMÈ". That cannot be disputed. The localization process, the vernacular, the colloquial, et cetera, ecercises some latitude based on either the sorce, the object, or consideration of the two. Personally, I find the two remaining choices illustrative of unfamiliarity of culture, origin, style, and setting; and it speaks volumes of the author. Yes, an American, loud and clear! Hey, try the Frecnh. It is the original and will impress your friends at cocktail parties. They will think you know things that you actually don't. But about that employer, hmmm? You probably will either take a French class or really polish up your interview skills. That will be all. Resume with the writing of your CV. Probably better take a Latin class for that one........

maestrosonata August 6, 2010, 2:18pm

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Maestro Sonata: Two quick points to add to your thoughts: it is résumé, not rèsumè, and the verb it comes from is actually résumer, not resumè.

dinnaeask August 6, 2010, 2:53pm

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As a professional resume or résumé or resumé writer - I note in filling in this comment, the "resumes" with accents are noted as spelling errors.

Some Résumé organizations insist on using the two-accented Résumé as the correct version. Dictionaries say all three versions are acceptable.

As a former computer professional from many years, I now simply use "resume" without the accents. I have seen too many systems make the accented "é" into something which is not a valid character. Also, since Word rejects Resumé as a spelling, I would never use it - why add a flag that does not need to be there.

Robin March 16, 2009, 3:18am

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After over six years, 156 replies, and a few tears of frustration, it appears this topic is still up for debate. This is certainly the most epic debate I have ever come across in all of my years on the internet.

This discussion seems to be open still. The question now is "Why?". Resume means to continue. That is the meaning. That should be the meaning. A résumé is a document that lists qualifications for a prospective job. A resumé is a proposed compromise that really shouldn't have a place anywhere in my humble opinion.

As many will say, and have said, résumé is a word with French origins. English adopted it. As English adopts words such as "cliché" or "café", they don't, and shouldn't, drop the accents. Résumé should be no different. It should be standardized and accepted for English-speakers across the globe. Let's get it right for our kids, as well as anyone learning the language. Again, this is in my same humble opinion.

I'm sure this won't be the last post on this topic, as it definitely wasn't the first. I'm just happy to see so many constructive replies in a discussion of this magnitude. It's good to see that English, around the globe, is still a living, evolving language.

shanemeendering December 3, 2010, 4:49pm

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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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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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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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Let me see if I understand you all correctly:

résumé is incorrect because it (1) does not represent the way we pronounce the word in America, and (2) is pretentious to certain people.

resumé is incorrect because it (1) is not the way the word is spelled in French, (2) has an accent, something true English words do not have, and (3) therefore is the worst option to some people because it is neither an English word nor a French word

resume is incorrect because it (1) does not represent the way we pronounce the word in America, (2) represents the epitome of American laziness to certain people by demonstrating a complete lack of effort to find a way to type accents, and (3) does not distinguish itself from another English word.


Personally, I feel that if all of the spellings are in the dictionary, they're all right. But on style preference:

I don't like "résumé" because it's not the way we pronounce the word. If you're going to put accents on a word, you should pronounce it like the accents dictate. To do differently demonstrates, to me, thinking that you're smarter than you are... in other words, pretentiousness. In my view, you're either French, and you spell it résumé and pronounce it exactly as the French would, or you're not French, and should leave that spelling (and pronunciation) alone.

I can also see others' points about "resumé" not making sense because it is neither the "correct" French spelling nor a "correct" English spelling. Despite seeing their point, I believe "resume" is a worse option because it does not represent the proper pronunciation, and, to wit, we never pronounce an "e" at the end of a word like that without putting an accent on it. Resumé is also an accepted spelling in dictionaries, so those passing judgment on it because it is neither "proper" French nor "proper" English appear to me both wrong and, again, pretentious. It is obviously a proper English word, or else it wouldn't be in the dictionary (or would at least have informal, slang, colloquial, or some such designation next to it). The arguments stating otherwise are specious.

When it comes down to it, it appears that the true problem is in our pronunciation. We should have either kept the original French pronunciation or dropped the accents altogether. Instead, we've kept a hybrid of English and French for our pronunciation (which, to me, lends credence to the idea of using a hybrid for the spelling, as well. Just think about it--what's the point in pronouncing it as a hybrid and then spelling it with the original French accents or with "proper" English convention. We say it as a hybrid, so spell it as a hybrid!).

That being said, the thought of my é getting converted to an i or any other character scares me, so, because "resume" is also an accepted dictionary spelling, I will likely use it for all of my business contacts.

notforyou18 November 23, 2010, 7:19am

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I finally looked it up in Websters and noticed the definition/pronunciation key included both accents because the word was originally was pronounced with two long "a" sounds for the accented "e." I think the confusion for us is that in current usage, people pronounce the word incorrectly, using "rez" as the first syllable instead of "ray". It is really fun to say with a French accent. 'Here is my ray-zu-may!'

austin_brian February 5, 2010, 7:12pm

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How about "Exécutivé Summary"? That way it can avoid being French, yet retain some of that lovely accented flavor. Like French Fusion cuisine meets alphabet soup?

Jason Smith July 27, 2011, 7:18am

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Would you presume to resume resume writing?

noone May 14, 2009, 9:03am

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Yes     No