Language checker? British/American English?

Discussion in 'Writing Resources' started by Svrtnsse, Jan 3, 2018.

  1. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    Ahoy,

    So I've gotten my book almost ready to be released. I printed up some promo copies and gave them out, and I've got a giveaway of the first few chapters.
    Now, one of the people I gave a copy to came back and pointed out that I'm inconsistently swapping back and forthe between British and American English. Obviously, this is something I should have thought about ages ago, but somehow it slipped my mind, and no one else has said anything.

    I know there are tools online where you can put in a piece of text and have it checked for exactly that kind of thing, but I'm uncertain about what they're called or what to search for? Does anyone have any advice for one to use?
     
  2. Heliotrope

    Heliotrope Staff Article Team

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    What writing program do you use? Many of them have the option to change between US or Commonwealth English when doing grammar and spelling checks.
     
  3. DragonOfTheAerie

    DragonOfTheAerie Valar Lord

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    I've been writing "gray" as "grey" for like 2 years now and idek why.
     
  4. Heliotrope

    Heliotrope Staff Article Team

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    Is your spell check set to Common wealth spelling? Gray is US spelling. Grey is everywhere else, lol.

    Edit: Never mind. I just switched back and forth between the Common Wealth and US options in my word processing program, and typed in really obvious words like grey, socialise, and axe and it didn't try to correct them. Weird....
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2018
  5. Chessie2

    Chessie2 Staff Article Team

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    I have no idea what Commonwealth English is supposed to be. I just know there's a difference between American and British English. If I were you, Svrt, I'd decide which one you'd like to stick with and write only in that form of English. Of course, us Americans will think you're an awful speller so there's always the option of putting a disclaimer at the start of your work. Honestly, I don't think it matters that much. :)
     
  6. Russ

    Russ Istari

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    Commonwealth English is just a term for non-American countries that speak english and used to be English colonies but are not part of Britain proper and don't like to be called British. It would include Canada, Australia, Kenya, etc etc. Some would say Commonwealth English would include British English while others would not.
     
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  7. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Valar Lord

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    I think it's a very American term for English that isn't American-English. I use LibreOffice and it lists over 20 different forms of English from Australia to Zimbabwe [as well as an OED UK English setting!]. I use UK English but some Americanisms like grey/gray are so ingrained that I don't see them any more.
    And if we are puting disclaimers in he front of books for English-English then I want one for every book I've read in American-English:whistle::whistle:
     
  8. Chessie2

    Chessie2 Staff Article Team

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    Thank you, Russ. I had no idea.
     
  9. Heliotrope

    Heliotrope Staff Article Team

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    Yeah, thanks Russ :)

    Here is a list of all the commonwealth countries. Almost all of them use the traditional UK spelling system, with a few variations.

    Commonwealth of Nations - Wikipedia

    Books printed in these countries will be edited to reflect the spelling system, so Harry Potter sold in England, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand etc. has the uk spelling, but Harry Potter sold in the states has US spelling.
     
  10. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    Thanks for all the input guys. The reason I'm asking about this is I remember trying out an online tool that analysed your prose to check for styles and inconsistencies and other aspects of your writing. Among all that it included stats for British/American English word usage and I figured it'd be cool to try it out.

    I'm using Apache OpenOffice, and I can probably set up the dictionary to stick with a certain kind of spelling, but it'd be more convient if there was an easily accessible tool to check for it already. :)
     
  11. Michael K. Eidson

    Michael K. Eidson Shadow Lord

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    Is the UK spelling Harry Pottuh? :)
     
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  12. Michael K. Eidson

    Michael K. Eidson Shadow Lord

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    ProWritingAid allows you to set your language to US English or UK English.
     
  13. Heliotrope

    Heliotrope Staff Article Team

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    Ha! No, but the first novel was published as The Philosopher's Stone world wide, but as the Sorcerer's Stone in the US because they didn't think Americans would know what a philosopher was, lol.
     
  14. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    Pfff.... everyone knows that's someone who collects stamps.
     
  15. Michael K. Eidson

    Michael K. Eidson Shadow Lord

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    I'd heard this. Honestly, I sometimes wonder if Americans even know what a sorcerer is.
     
  16. pmmg

    pmmg Dark Lord

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    Oh, come on, everyone knows a sorcerer is a mouse with a funny hat. Sometimes, I think you all sell us too short.

    And the philosophers stone? Isn't that the one they threw at Socrates when he did say Jehovah? You guys think we don't know anything, but we do. HP got the hat right, but he does not much look like a mouse, I am not sure why they thought changing the name as they did would help over here. If they had made a comic book maybe...but then Hermione might have found herself in armor.
     
  17. Miles Lacey

    Miles Lacey Master

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    There's no such thing as Commonwealth English. Within the Commonwealth both American and British spelling and grammar conventions are followed. For example Canada and Australia use American spelling and grammar but here in New Zealand and on the Indian subcontinent British spelling and grammar is used.

    However things are further complicated by the fact that most countries in the Commonwealth have their own local variations of the English language. South African English incorporates words from Afrikaans and other local languages. In Australia they incorporate Aboriginal words into their English. In India they incorporate Hindi words into their English (hence the reason why Bollywood English is so hard to understand for people outside India). In New Zealand we incorporate Maori words into our English. It's the failure to understand this that have most New Zealanders howling with laughter rather than sending money off to that Nigerian scammer claiming to be from somewhere in New Zealand.

    Regardless of the type of English you use you must be consistent with the type of English you use. It might sound petty to some people but a lot of publishers and readers get really peeved if you mix the two - and I'm one of them!

    It's not hard to select the particular English you want to use. Even the most primitive document programmes offer UK and US English versions. However, make sure you also check your keyboard settings as well. It, too, comes in UK and US English formats and some computers throw hissy fits if you select UK English for one thing and US English for something else.
     
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  18. Laurence

    Laurence Mystagogue

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    I write British English but prefer ‘toward’ over ‘towards’. I wonder if readers would be bugged by that being an American spelling?
     
  19. Miles Lacey

    Miles Lacey Master

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    Both words are used in American and British English and are considered correct. The important thing is being consistent when you are submitting anything for publication.
     
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  20. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    For reference. What I ended up doing in the end was to just set the spell checker to English (UK) instead of English (US). ;)
     
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