April 25th, 2008


Writing Tips: American for Brits

Most writers are aware of major differences between British and American English, and British writers are usually good about changing arse to ass and git to idiot when writing in American-based fandoms. Still, there are a few British quirks that seem to sneak through, even occasionally by writers experienced in the American idiom.

Some of these quirks seem minor, or even sound so "right" to a British ear that the American alternative just sounds weird, but they really do stand out to American readers. The absolute best way to catch Britishisms is to ask an American to beta. Another tip is to keep a list of the phrases or expressions your characters use in canon, and stick to those rather than phrases that come naturally to you.

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So that's a quick roundup of Britishisms I see in American canon fanfic. One of my favorite sites for translating the common language that divides us is The English-to-American Dictionary: http://english2american.com/. Even without a fic project at hand, it's a fun read for its own sake.

Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders, please chime in on your English usage, as well!