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The verbs are 溜まる and 溜める, then it should be 水溜まり, but I've seen 水溜り more.

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水溜まり is the canonical form in modern standard Japanese, and it should be used in newspapers, textbooks for children, official documents, and so on.

水溜り is a common variant. It is still perfectly safe in aesthetic writing, and some people may intentionally choose this version because it may carry a good literary or traditional flavor.

This is an example of okurigana omission. Some words, such as 受付 and 打合せ, are perfectly safe in any situation, but I think 水溜り is something that should be used wisely and intentionally.

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  • You say "水溜り is something that should be used wisely and intentionally" ... other than not following convention (and the negative effects of not following convention when taking language proficiency exams), it just struck me the wording you chose. Is there another hidden meaning that an unwise use might suggest? Or is it that it would just look bad such as an English resume or business letter submitted with rife with spelling mistakes
    – A.Ellett
    Nov 13, 2023 at 0:48
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    @A.Ellett I'm not 100% sure, but it may be similar to using the spelling theatre in American English. While it's correct and sometimes even desirable, when used in an ordinary business letter, it makes you wonder for a moment if there's some intention or habit of the writer behind it, right?
    – naruto
    Nov 13, 2023 at 1:19
  • That makes sense. Thank you for the response.
    – A.Ellett
    Nov 13, 2023 at 2:07

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