I saw the spelling extrovert in a text, but I intuitively felt that the correct spelling is extravert.
I did a little research and read that extravert is commonly used in scientific/technical literature, while extrovert is common in non-technical usage.
From what I read, it seems that this is because in 1918 when the word extravert was becoming more popular and more commonly used outside of technical literature, non-technical people often misspelled it as extrovert because it was commonly paired with the word introvert.
Am I wrong if I choose to always (even in non-technical writing) spell it extravert because I think it is the correct spelling and that I think other people are spelling it incorrectly? Or does majority rule and am I wrong to not conform to the majority?
My question is more about the decision that I need to make (based on which alternative is right or wrong and why) than about this specific example of extrovert vs extravert. I’ve had similar experiences with other spelling and also grammar rule mismatches, so I’d like to be confident in my decisions in those other situations too.
-Does majority rule? Or are they technically wrong?
If majority does rule, at what point does a misspelling or a grammar error become correct? 50% saturation? 75%? Does the original simultaneously become incorrect at that point? For the example above, if extravert is incorrect to use in non-technical writing, at what point did it become incorrect? Because at one point it was the only way of spelling it, and was only pushed out of popular use by replication of the misspelled form.
According to the Google Books
the spelling with ‘o’ is preferable.
Though etymologically (according to EtymologyOnline) the word was spelt with ‘a’, the spelling was changed on analogy with ‘introvert’.
So they (extrovert – introvert) make a good match.
I think this 100-year-old spelling doesn’t need any change.
Otherwise we must have changed the spelling of such words as ISLAND, DEBT, ADMIRAL, etc.
The choice of the spelling variant depends on the user (like TRAVELER/TRAVELLER, CACTUSES/ CACTI, etc.)