English Language and your Readers!


Who is your Audience? Do you know? Do you care?
Remember choosing your Audience also affects the marketing
you will need to do.

Editing is not my thing. I do my best work helping with the flow and structure of a manuscript. I’ll call it proofreading for now.

Some things are easy to see and catch, others not so much. If you can get your manuscript flowing nicely it will be easier to edit. Then you have to find an editor who fits and this can take some work and lots of research. I’m not going to get into the research. This time it’s about the English Language you use and who you want as your audience/readers.

Most people write in the English Language where they grew up and were educated. It can, for some also be a second language. However, this doesn’t mean it’s the right English for your readers. If you’re aiming at an American Audience, then most writers would use American English, including grammar, spelling and punctuation.

What if the book is set in another country?

If you go traditional publishing they will generally set books in American English with dialogue in the English of the setting (Australian, British, etc). However, I think this is wrong. My thoughts are on genre as well as where the story takes place.

I’ll tell you why I don’t like the above idea. This is from way back when most books were traditionally published. I loved to read Regency Historical Romance, though many were a bit long winded. What a didn’t like was the fact they were written with American spelling with Regency words in place. Now…yes, I am fussy. In no shape or form were Londoners in Regency England speaking or reading American English in the early 1800’s. So why were they published like this? Simple, their audience/readers were American. It’s a pity they didn’t do a British version, mind that may have cost them to much and Traditional Publishers are all about profit.

With saying this, British authors or other authors who use British English due to setting do get the odd review from readers about how their books are full of errors. Those are the readers who don’t realise British and American English are different in spelling, grammar and punctuation. This is also why I recommend you learn what English you should use and also add what English you are using on the copyright page and even as part of the description if you’re self-publishing online. The difference is a bit of an eye opener.

English Spelling and Different Words.

What do you know of the different spelling and words used for the same item. Do you research what you need? Does your editor understand the spelling you use. There is quite a variety out there, however I will stick with UK, USA & NZ, mainly because these are the ones I use most.

Most New Zealand spelling is the same as British until you hit Te Reo Maori, which is an amazing language to use and write. What is different are the words we use. I can tell you now, going back thirty years and not only was it the words used it was the accents as well. Hilariously funny at times and embarrassing at others. I don’t think I’d ever rolled my eyes so much as I did back then when I was new to New Zealand. I remember once asking where the nearest ‘Chippie’ was. “Oh you can get them here,” and the young lad at the pub/bar held up a packet of—what Brits call Crisps, in the UK. I rolled my eyes, still not realising how different the language was. “I mean the Fish and Chip Shop.” Of course my future husband—a Kiwi, laughed his socks off (not literally). In fact, we didn’t even understand each other much of the time. I eventually became a Kiwi speaker, so much so, that when I visited family in the UK eighteen years later, my siblings kept correcting me. Annoying as hell, especially since they knew what I was on about.

Anyway, slightly off tangent there. In US English you’ll find the difference in spelling. I’ve always wondered why the spelling changed since a majority of colonists were English. If anyone can tell me, I’d be interested to learn. There are hundreds of words you’ll notice with different spellings. Things like COLOUR/COLOR, REALISE/REALIZE. Then you have the words. CANDY/SWEETIE/LOLLY…US, UK & NZ, and there are plenty more which I will list at the end.

Punctuation

First I’d like to get this … out there. PUNCTUATION IS DIFFERENT IN EACH ENGLISH SPEAKING COUNTRY!

Yes it is true, though some will slice and dice and disagree. It depends who taught you, where you were taught and in what generation you’re from. Then you have the accents used and how you speak or how your characters speak to each other. This is one of the many things you need to discuss with your editor. You can give them a generic manuscript which has no country setting as such which is when you can discuss which English you wish to use, remembering you also need to use the correct words. Many people know that US English uses more commas than British English. I have seen the different with Editing apps I use to help me tidy a draft novel.

I use Grammarly Pro. It can give you questionable suggestions and sometimes make you laugh because it’s off base with changes. So, if you’re using an Editing App, make sure your English is proficient.

Grammarly is set up for four different types of English Grammar. Uk, US, Canadian and Australian. Unless I’m helping a client, then I have it set on Uk English.

During the last week I’ve been going back and forth with UK and US English do to proofreading. You can see the difference straight away. One of my own books I’d used UK Grammarly on, was clear of errors, though I still had several steps of editing to do. I accidently clicked on my manuscript when working through an American Clients work and it picked up…over a thousand errors. I nearly panicked until I realised what I’d done, after which I laughed. Yep. It caught the spelling, grammar and punctuation but in American English. It just shows how different it can be. I was pleased I didn’t have to start over.

Different Words, same Item

BritishAmericanNew Zealand
SweetieCandyLollie/Lolly
ChipsHome FriesChips or Fries
ChemistDrug StorePharmacy
Off LicenceBottle StoreLiquor Store
BiscuitsCookiesBiscuits/Cookies
HandbagPurseHandbag
WaistcoatVestWaistcoat/Vest
VestTank TopSinglet
TrainersSneakersSneakers

As you can see New Zealand is a mixture of two English Languages, similar to Canada and probably Australia, though they both have their own Idioms There are so many which will confuse a person with the words used and their actual meaning being totally different. Many of these Idioms I had to learn not to use thirty years ago because they were just not understood by the local KIWI population. Then of course you have KIWI Idioms to confound visitors along with place names, many of which are pronounced in totally different way from what they are written.

Te Puke — Tea Pu Key
Petone — Pea Toe knee (Not Pet One as I’ve heard some Americans call it)
Bring a Plate — It means take a plate of food to share at a party, not take an empty plate.
See ya laters — They are not literally going to see you later the same day. It could be tomorrow, the following week. So don’t wait around and yes, people used to do this too.

You can find more
Kiwi Idioms HERE
American Idioms HERE
British Idioms HERE


35 thoughts on “English Language and your Readers!

  1. claire plaisted says:

    The only reason I recommend it is due to making Anthologies with worldwide English. Each story uses the English of the country they tend to live in.

    Thank you for the reblog as well 🙂

      • Patty L. Fletcher says:

        Welcome.

        PS. Don’t waste your energy and mental health fighting the editor.

        Simply write your articles, essays, short stories Etc. into a document, and then copy and paste into an email and use the post by email feature I helped you set up.

        If you want to insert pics you can do that too.

        Simply position your curser where you want the pic or other thing to go and using Alt N bring up the insert options, and arrow through until you get to those you want and select them, press enter and Bang! You’re all done.

        You can size them and everything.

        I never go onto the WP site anymore unless I want to reblog something or Goddess forbid update my pages.

        LOL.

        Patty L. Fletcher

        Self-Published Author and Social Media Promotional Assistant

        Email: patty.volunteer1@gmail.com

        Website: http://www.campbellsworld.wordpress.com/ .

        Food For Thought

        We all are the Light, automatically. So we really don’t have to go too much further than that. We all have a Light within us – it is the Soul; it is that spark of God, of the Divine, that activates our consciousness.

        -John-Roger, DSS

        Source: New Day Herald website

      • Patty L. Fletcher says:

        That’s why I do it via email. I can post something in five minutes versus 15 or 20 on the site. I simply write out what I want, put it in a document, copy and paste, and I’m done. That includes links and everything. Don’t have to do anything unless I want to add a photo.

      • Patty L. Fletcher says:

        So why didn’t you just write it in a document, and use the post my email copy and paste it into the body of the email? Why fight with that new editor? I don’t understand why anybody does that. I very seldom go onto the blog site at all these days!
        You’re very welcome for the re-blog. I guess that’s about the only time I go there. LOL. If I can copy and paste it and insert a picture or file into an email I don’t touch that all stupid editor

    • Patty L. Fletcher says:

      What won’t it do?

      Patty L. Fletcher

      Self-Published Author and Social Media Promotional Assistant

      Email: patty.volunteer1@gmail.com

      Website: http://www.campbellsworld.wordpress.com/ .

      Food For Thought

      We all are the Light, automatically. So we really don’t have to go too much further than that. We all have a Light within us – it is the Soul; it is that spark of God, of the Divine, that activates our consciousness.

      -John-Roger, DSS

      Source: New Day Herald website

  2. wordynerdbird says:

    The differences in UK and American spelling largely go back to Noah Webster of dictionary fame. He wanted to make English more distinctly American for American speakers.

    I recently read The Dictionary Wars by Peter Martin, and it is most interesting and informative.

    • Patty L. Fletcher says:

      Hi.

      After having had an encounter with someone who was doing a publication promotion from another country who tried to edit my work by changing every spelling of every name in my work because he didn’t understand that I was using the US spellings and moreover southern slang, I have decided that this is a magnificent idea.

      In fact, I feel that if one submits work of any kind to anyone no matter who, what, or where this must be done to keep down misunderstandings.

      I’d also like to suggest that one make absolutely sure that those who are going to proofread and edit your work have the correct knowledge required to do so according to the ways in which you’re writing.

      Had I questioned this person ahead of time rather than assuming because he was a writer and part-time editor that he knew what he was doing outside his own country’s language, I’d have saved myself and him a whole lot of time and argument. As it happened the whole thing became heated and rather nasty before it was sorted.

      I’d just like to add, that Claire is the greatest lady to work with in the land.

      Patty L. Fletcher

      Self-Published Author and Social Media Promotional Assistant

      Email: patty.volunteer1@gmail.com

      Website: http://www.campbellsworld.wordpress.com/ .

      Food For Thought

      We all are the Light, automatically. So we really don’t have to go too much further than that. We all have a Light within us – it is the Soul; it is that spark of God, of the Divine, that activates our consciousness.

      -John-Roger, DSS

      Source: New Day Herald website

      • Marje @ Kyrosmagica says:

        Thanks Patty. Yes, Claire does a great job. I’ve always enjoyed taking part in the Ghostly anthologies. I love this time of year, autumn is my favourite season. And yes it’s awful how people make wrong assumptions on the basis of different English. Thank you for the lovely Food For Thought. ❤

      • Patty L. Fletcher says:

        My magazine the writers grapevine would never happen if it were not for Claire. She has taught me so many things and helps me do so many things that it is unbelievable. Could not do without her. No way!

      • Patty L. Fletcher says:

        Hi Claire.

        I suppose you could do both.

        “She stood with a shy smile creeping across her blushing cheeks.”

        😊

        Have a great evening.

        Patty L. Fletcher

        Self-Published Author and Social Media Promotional Assistant

        Email: patty.volunteer1@gmail.com

        Website: http://www.campbellsworld.wordpress.com/ .

        Food For Thought

        We all are the Light, automatically. So we really don’t have to go too much further than that. We all have a Light within us – it is the Soul; it is that spark of God, of the Divine, that activates our consciousness.

        -John-Roger, DSS

        Source: New Day Herald website

      • Patty L. Fletcher says:

        I love autumn.

        That wasn’t always the case. When I got Campbell all that changed. He allowed me to experience it in a whole new way.

        Now he’s gone having autumn without him is hard.

        Patty L. Fletcher

        Self-Published Author and Social Media Promotional Assistant

        Email: patty.volunteer1@gmail.com

        Website: http://www.campbellsworld.wordpress.com/ .

        Food For Thought

        We all are the Light, automatically. So we really don’t have to go too much further than that. We all have a Light within us – it is the Soul; it is that spark of God, of the Divine, that activates our consciousness.

        -John-Roger, DSS

        Source: New Day Herald website

      • Patty L. Fletcher says:

        The joy of autumn for me always came in our early morning walks together.

        The squirrels hurrying from tree-top to tree-top with their last minute winter shopping, and Campbell snuffling along underneath in the piles of leaves that neighbors so diligently raked up into piles for the brush truck.

        One morning he uncovered a sleeping cat and oh! What a lot of barking and hissing did occur.

        Another time, he stuck his snuffing nose into a clump of bushes and next thing I knew a family of birds were flapping and squawking about.

        LOL.

        I made the right decision of retiring him from his work a year and half before he fell seriously ill and passed. A dog, even one who loved guiding as much as Campbell surely should enjoy just being a dog.

        Claire has helped me bring Campbell’s stories to life and for that I’m ever grateful.

        Patty L. Fletcher

        Self-Published Author and Social Media Promotional Assistant

        Email: patty.volunteer1@gmail.com

        Website: http://www.campbellsworld.wordpress.com/ .

        Food For Thought

        We all are the Light, automatically. So we really don’t have to go too much further than that. We all have a Light within us – it is the Soul; it is that spark of God, of the Divine, that activates our consciousness.

        -John-Roger, DSS

        Source: New Day Herald website

      • claire plaisted says:

        He tells good stories for children and puppy raisers. 🙂 My favourite picture of him is the one my son drew of him with a crown and robe over his shoulders. A true King. 🙂

      • Patty L. Fletcher says:

        Claire, that picture gets more comments than any other there is and I use it a lot.

        Patty L. Fletcher

        Self-Published Author and Social Media Promotional Assistant

        Email: patty.volunteer1@gmail.com

        Website: http://www.campbellsworld.wordpress.com/ .

        Food For Thought

        We all are the Light, automatically. So we really don’t have to go too much further than that. We all have a Light within us – it is the Soul; it is that spark of God, of the Divine, that activates our consciousness.

        -John-Roger, DSS

        Source: New Day Herald website

      • Patty L. Fletcher says:

        Hi.

        I especially like his statement of “Sit up and pay attention”

        Nice.

        Patty L. Fletcher

        Self-Published Author and Social Media Promotional Assistant

        Email: patty.volunteer1@gmail.com

        Website: http://www.campbellsworld.wordpress.com/ .

        Food For Thought

        We all are the Light, automatically. So we really don’t have to go too much further than that. We all have a Light within us – it is the Soul; it is that spark of God, of the Divine, that activates our consciousness.

        -John-Roger, DSS

        Source: New Day Herald website

      • Patty L. Fletcher says:

        I thought you would.

        People are seriously unaware.

        Of course, until I met and began working with you, so was I.

        But, rather than correct, I asked questions.

        It would be so refreshing if others would do the same.

        Patty L. Fletcher

        Self-Published Author and Social Media Promotional Assistant

        Email: patty.volunteer1@gmail.com

        Website: http://www.campbellsworld.wordpress.com/ .

        Food For Thought

        We all are the Light, automatically. So we really don’t have to go too much further than that. We all have a Light within us – it is the Soul; it is that spark of God, of the Divine, that activates our consciousness.

        -John-Roger, DSS

        Source: New Day Herald website

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