Annex or annexe?

23 Nov

I’ve been working on a document that described a number of buildings with annexes, and I have to admit that I had to look this up, just to check. Well, to be honest, I look up a lot of things to check them, as I’d always rather get it right, oddly enough (one of these days I’ll write a post about a word that I’ve always thought is a word, but doesn’t actually exist …)

So, to annex is a verb, never has an e on the end, and means to add as an extra part or to appropriate territory. I can’t give an example of the latter without getting all political, but you could have a set of tables and a document they refer to, and decide to annex the tables to the document rather than present them separately. That’s an acceptable, discrete verb form, not one that’s been oddly made out of a noun (like “to inbox” – ugh) as far as I know.

An annexe, the noun, is an addition to a document or building. Now, I have to admit that I thought the difference lay here, and that the e was only added for a building. But all of my good old Oxford sources say no, it’s used for both. So, “The table was added as Annexe 1 to our document”; “Coffee will be served in the annexe to the church”.

Or, you can just skip the e there altogether. But you know me: I like to maintain different forms of words to preserve the variety of our language. So I say verb: no e; noun: add that e. Add it as an annexe, if you will!

You can find more troublesome pairs here and the index to them all so far is here.


Posted by on November 23, 2012 in Errors, Language use, Troublesome pairs, Writing


Tags: , , ,

2 responses to “Annex or annexe?

  1. Steve Bode

    October 2, 2013 at 9:22 am

    Hi Liz. Thanks for the explanation. I’ve just moved in to an annexe, so it’s good to know, and as a bonus I can show off my new knowledge in the pub this weekend…!

    Is the word that’s not a real word “into”, by any chance??



    • Liz at Libro

      October 2, 2013 at 9:24 am

      Glad to know I’ve helped someone to show off! The word that’s not a word hasn’t been written about yet … but I will at some stage! So watch this space …



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