A Level English Language Website
Some people have told me that "dining room" can be spelled as "dinning room". Not only the spelling changes, but they say this would be the correct way to do it. Is this true?
By Mark Sebba
Since the word ‘dining’ in ‘dining room’ is from the verb ‘to dine’ the spelling ‘dining’ reflects the pronunciation of the verb, while the spelling ‘dinning’ does not – it would have to derive from the word ‘din’.
Spellings do not always reflect pronunciation and although English spelling is very conservative, changes do take place, so it is reasonable to ask whether there could have been a change from ‘dining room’ to ‘dinning room’ – in fact I have seen this spelling once or twice myself.
A quick way to check whether popular usage is changing is to do an online search for both forms. Google produces 187 million results for ‘dining room’ but only 7 million results for ‘dinning room’, which suggests that only a small minority of people use the spelling ‘dinning room’. Also a quick look at these web pages shows that some of them are written by people for whom English is not a first language, while others use both spellings, suggesting that ‘dinning room’ might just be an error. On the other hand there are pages where ‘dinning’ has been used several times and ‘dining’ is not used at all, suggesting that the writers feel this is the correct spelling.
In conclusion, although there seems to be overwhelming agreement that the correct spelling is ‘dining room’, there are some people who write ‘dinning room’ and are not aware that this is regarded as wrong from a normative viewpoint (e.g. dictionaries). This might mean that there is some acceptance of this form although generally it is regarded as a misspelling.