How To Spell Resume The Correct Way?

English spelling is challenging because there is no set rule on how to spell a letter. A letter that is spelled in some way can be spelled entirely differently in another word.

Definition of Resume & Résumé

a green typewriter printing out a page that reads job application in bold lettering.
Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Depending on the accent marks, a resume and résumé can signify completely distinct things. We will take a look at them one by one.

The Dictionary Definition of Resume

Resume is an infinitive form of a verb. As a verb, it has the meaning of:

  • After a pause or interruption, begin again.
  • To assume again.
  • Getting back to using or doing something.

Synonyms of the verb resume are continue, pick up or restart. 

Below you may find some examples to help you understand better:

  • After five years of quitting, he resumed smoking after hearing the bad news.
  • Although he intended to resign, the managers convinced him to resume his post in the company.
  • Following a brief period of rest, she resumed writing her English textbook for ESL students.
  • I had to resume taking Spanish classes after HR decided that I would be assigned to Mexico.

The Dictionary Definition of Résumé

The word résumé is originally from France. In both e-s, it is written in an accent and means summary.

The résumé (with the accent) summarizes your education, work history, experience, credentials, and other accomplishments. The American résumé and CV — which stands for Curriculum Vitae — are distinct things. Résumé is used in the professional world for job applications, whereas you have to prepare a CV to showcase your academic background. 

Whereas in the other parts of the world, CVs are used like résumés. There is no such distinction between a résumé and a CV.

It is rare for the French (as well as other European countries) to use the term résumé.

In most European countries, the terms refer to the same document, but in the US, they differ.

Correct Spelling of Resume

Correct phonetic spelling of the word resume is as follows: ri-zOOm

Correct Spelling of Résumé

The accents that you use are 100% correct. It is the same way that the original borrowed word is spelled.

This way, no one is going to confuse the noun with the verb to resume.

What is the downside? Outside academic and professional settings, the word is rarely spelled with both accents.

Moving on to the other side – no accents at all – we should note that this is the most frequently used version in informal contexts.

It follows the English rules of removing accents for foreign words and is simple to type.

A downside to this is that it may get confused with the verb resume.

So here’s the gist of it: you can spell this word with accent marks, and you will be correct. However, most people spell it without the accent marks these days.

The way to correctly pronounciate résumé is as follows: re-ZU-may.

To Wrap Up

There are so many ways to say a word. The word in question is resume. So, when you think of a resume, you might think of a résumé, which is a different word. The difference is that résumé is spelled with an accented “e” where resume is spelled with a regular ‘e’.

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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