Roleplaying – The Word

How can you spell roleplaying like a roleplaying pro? When I started writing online, I had what I thought was a huge problem. How does one properly spell the word, roleplaying? I know I know… I’m a dork. But the word roleplaying can be spelled or abbreviated in more than a few different ways: roleplaying, role playing, role-playing, or abbreviated as RPG (role playing game). Honestly, each of these is acceptable. But for the sake of uniformity throughout writing online I wanted to spell it, tag it, and advertise it all the same way.

I did a lot of keyword research online and I found out some remarkable information. Most search engines prefer to separate the word to role playing. This normally refers to the actual action of role playing, whether it is game or non-game related. The single word, roleplaying, seems to be the favored way of spelling by the majority of tabletop publishers. However, I did find instances of each unique way of spelling the word being used by publishers.

The abbreviation, RPG, is the most popular way to spell it as far search engines go. This is because RPG is an abbreviation for several different things, such as role playing games or rocket-propelled grenade launchers. It also is usually linked more with video games than tabletop roleplaying games. If you did a search on the keyword RPG, you would most likely discover a lot of video games websites with a few tabletop roleplaying games and a bit of other site-types.

In the end, I chose to spell the word as, roleplaying. My influence to do this was mostly due to two factors. First, most key roleplaying games spell it as one, non-hyphenated word. Case in point, Wizards of the Coast and White Wolf Publishing consistently spell it roleplaying in their game books and websites. Secondly, if you do a search on the single, non-hyphenated word, roleplaying, you will discover mostly tabletop roleplaying games. That is my primary focus, so I chose to go that route. As soon as you start to branch into role playing, role-playing, or RPG, you are going into primarily video game areas. Although for years I’ve often referred to tabletop roleplaying games in my verbal dialogue as “RPGs”, I’ve discovered that when talking about tabletop roleplaying games online, “Roleplaying” is the way to go.

Samuel Van Der Wall writes about roleplaying games, miniatures, gaming, and geek culture. Read more of his articles at h

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