Is It Résumé or Resumé?

Okay, I should know this (and thought I did), but a friend recently looked at the professional part of my website and said that resumé is misspelled and should instead be résumé. (I also have no problem with splitting the occasional infinitive.)

Even as I type this Word is making a similar complaint, which seems ominous.

I took just enough French in college to be dangerous and my spelling of the word matches the pronunciation “reh-zhu-may,” which is how I think most English speakers say it. The other spelling produces “ray-zhu-may” which sounds stilted and affected.

Both show up as acceptable in dictionaries but résumé is always presented first, which I was taught indicates that it is preferred. And resume is also there but I rarely see it and when I do I assume the person simply doesn’t know how to get an accented character out of the keyboard and let it go at that.

Is there some logical argument for either or is this just a matter of preference? Or am I just being pedantic?

It’s just “resumé”. That’s French; “logical” has nothing to do with it. It’s a past participle, hence the accent aigu at the end. And the Latin “re-” prefix, meaning “again” (also can be just an emphasizer), became the French “re-”, with the “e” pronounced somewhere between a schwa and an English “short e”, hence no accent.

In most English writing contexts, however, it’s okay – even preferable – to leave off the accent altogether, so the word coincidentally looks just like the word “resume” (the one that’s been standard English for a longer time than the word this OP is about.)

In French, the word is spelled résumé; it’s the nominalized participle of résumer, to summarize. The logic is, if we’re going to borrow the word, either borrow the accent (roué) or don’t (naïve, rôle); it’s a bit silly to borrow just one.

Wait – I’m wrong! The original French word (“summarized”) really does have two accents aigus! So, if, when writing the English word, you choose put an accent on the last “e”, you have to put it on the first one, too.

My bad.

And, for the record, the ‘s’ in “résumé” is not pronounced -zh- in French or, in my experience, in English. In French it’s, well, -s- and in English it seems to be either -s- or -z-.

I just use CV instead. :slight_smile:

Pretty much a matter of preference. The French word has two acute accents, so when borrowed into English, that is preserved. (The French é is not the long diphthong of Englsh “long A”, as in Fonzie’s greeting, but a short, truncated version of it, a bit mor A-ish than the “eh” sound but not a full “aaaayyyyyy”.)

By convention, in English diacritical marks are optional, used for clarity orfrom a sense of pedantic precision rather than mandated. So “resume” is just fine except in those rare occasions where it can be confused with the homographic verb for “begin doing again after a hiatus.”

Similarly, precision calls for tête-à-tête and vis-à-vis, Thomas à Kempis, São Paulo, Puertoriqueño, and so on, but losing the diacritical marks and writing tete-a-tete, Sao Paulo, etc., is perfectly acceptable English.

Note, however, that the characters are there because they define phonemes in other languages. While writing “Prospero Ano Nuevo” for Happy New Year in Spanish-flavored English is all right, you should be aware that what you’ve written would be read by a Spanish speaker as wishing them a “Prosperous New Asshole” – año for year being contrasted with ano, cognate with anus. :slight_smile:

This depends on the dictionary. The first may be the preferred or the most common or the historically oldest. You need to check the dictionary info to be sure.

And to agree with the others, it’s two accents or none. None is becoming far more common. One is wrong.

Thank you all. And, as expected, I learned more than I bargained for.

So "Prospero Año Nuevo Ano " would be correct under certain circumstances? :wink:

A Spanish speaker, writing on a keyboard that doesn’t have a tilde available, will write “Prospero Anio Nuevo” to ensure the proper pronunciation is indicated.

The first time I tried to order an ice cream cone in Spanish was interesting. It’s important to distinguish between “cono” and “coño” when speaking.

But if you’re using the word in English, you don’t pronounce it as in French. I say that the single-accent version resumé is correct in English, precisely because the accent on the final e distinglishes it from resume ‘to begin again’.

Except for the fact that English spelling does not generally use accents in that circumstance. The only diacritical mark regularly used in English is the diaeresis used to distinguish adjacent vowels not pronounced as a diphthong, and even that has become rare.

Spelling in English has no requirement to correspond to pronunciation (unlike Spanish, for example), and unlike most European languages, we don’t typically use diacritical marks. So the inclusion of diacritical marks is purely an indication of the spelling in the original source language. Therefore both accents should be used in English, or none.

Admittedly a few publications add accent marks to indicate the pronunciation of foreign words where the accents don’t exist in the original; however, that practice is uncommon. The trend is not to use any diacritical marks in English.

In French, this ‘s’ is pronounced [z].

I’m quite certain the word résumé came to be used in English because it describes a summarised CV, as opposed to a full one (which is used especially by academics). But what I wonder is why a French word was borrowed for this purpose. Résumé is never used in French to describe this type of document, and I don’t see it as an archaic usage in Trésor either. In French, curriculum vitæ or CV are the terms used.

The first time I tried, I think I asked for ice cream on my cojones.

Uncomfortable, to be sure, but not as bad as having ice cream in your coño. :smiley:

Whether to use the accent marks in résumé is a matter of style (but as mentioned, use both or neither). The Washington Post uses them. (I couldn’t find a reference in Chicago Manual of Style whether to preserve diacriticals in foreign-language borrowed words.)

If you really want to impress prospective employers, spell it with a heavy metal umlaut.

Unless I’m writing in French, I’d leave off the accents–and also not exaggerate the first syllable like some people do when pronouncing it–“RAY-Zyoo-may”. IMO to do either is terribly affected, not to mention officious.