Tuesday, January 19, 2016

English vs. English

Not too long ago I got to edit Silent Scars by Ada Frost. It was an interesting project because she is from England and her story was written in British-English. There were a bunch of phrases that I had to look up, and I ended up using a British dictionary in addition to the one I normally use. I learned a lot and it was a fun job.

For those who don’t read British stories, there are many words that are spelled differently. Often the Brits will use an S where we use a Z. Organise, cosy. Or they’ll use an extra vowel where we do not: valour, colour. It’s a lot of minor differences.

But editing Ada's work made me notice something in my own writing. Sometimes I use spellings that are not the typical American English spellings.

I often use towards, whereas toward is the preferred US spelling. (I do flip back and forth though.)
I favor grey instead of gray.
I like to add the E to acknowledgement, whereas many Americans leave it off.

None of these are wrong, it’s just that there is a preferred American spelling and preferred British spelling. But sometimes towards just sounds better. And my fingers just always add that E to acknowledgement. The key is to stay consistent throughout the story. Which is one of the things I check when I do copy edits.

Do you ever use any of the preferred-British spellings of words in your writing?

(And just for fun, here's a link where you can see a lot of these differences.)

1 comment:

Stephanie Faris said...

I've actually done writing for British clients where I had to write with British spellings. It was complicated! I know you can change your Microsoft Office to use British English instead of American, but I never did figure that one out!


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