Date: Tue, 16 Jan 1996 15:50:50 -0800


Subject: Re: -re

As a matter of fact, Steve, I've been wondering the same thing as I followed

this discussion. For years my unspoken understanding was that a "theater"

was a building where one saw a movie (or I suppose a play), whereas "the

theatre" meant the "legitimate stage" as an institution and was usually to

be pronounced with a stagy British accent. It was only when I was grown

that I learned somewhat to my surprise that everybody else seemed to

insist on one spelling or the other, with the -re spelling "chiefly Brit."

Peter McGraw

Linfield College

McMinnville, OR

On Tue, 16 Jan 1996, H Stephen STRAIGHT (Binghamton University, SUNY) wrote:

I'm curious to know whether I'm the only person in the world who

distinguishes the -er and -re spellings of theat-er/-re by using the

former to refer to the place (They're painting the marquee on the

theater.) and the latter to refer to the institution (They're creating new

ideas for the American theatre.). On this usage, the theatre

department/*theater department versus the theater manager/*theatre


Best. 'Bye. Steve

H Stephen STRAIGHT Langs Across the Curric, Binghamton University (SUNY)

NFLC Mellon Fellow, Jan-June 1996 VOX: 202-667-8100; FAX: 667-6907

1619 Massachusetts Ave NW -- Fourth Floor Washington, DC 20036

sstraigh[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] ["sstraigh", not "sstraight"!]