While some Ellora’s Cave stories are set in far-flung locales, we use American English spellings for our manuscripts. If the author is Australian, Canadian, a Brit, or grew up learning British English, this can cause some confusion and add some additional time to edits.
One of the easiest ways to identify Brit spellings is to consult your word processing program. Many versions of word processing programs (including MS Word) allow you to set your language to American English. Your spell check option will then identify words that ought to be changed to American English.
Spelling differences aren’t always as easy to spot as colour versus color or rumour versus rumor. The “ou” words are fairly common and an easy fix, but these are just the beginning of common differences.
Arse is sometimes used if characters are British, but how often do you see an American character talking about what a tight arse a hunky hero has? Theatre is sometimes used by those in the acting industry on both sides of the pond, but we’d go to a Broadway theater in
Another common difference in British versus American English is the tendency to end a word ending in “ed” with a “t”— American dreamed becomes British dreamt, leaped becomes leapt, learned becomes learnt.
British English uses some hyphenated words that we have as solid in American English—co-operate, re-use, de-fuse, etc.
A commonality in phrasing that I see a lot is the tendency to use round instead of around. “She went round the pub” should be “She went to the pub”. She “came round” works better as “she came over”.
The British “rang off” when used for a phone call can be confusing. A simple “disconnected” often works better, especially in the era of cell phones, when hanging up a phone call isn’t what it used to be. Ringing, when used to describe calling someone, works much better as calling. Most Americans call their cell phones just that, while much of the rest of the world calls them mobiles.
Queue can be used in some areas of
Be careful of words that mean something completely different, depending on which version of English one is most accustomed to speaking. A brief Brit list is provided here.
Thong—very skimpy undies
fag—this one is especially problematic if one means a cigarette rather than a gay slur.
Ensure vs. insure
Enquiry vs. inquiry
By keeping an eye out for these common differences, you’ll be able to streamline the editing process.