Write your novel with US words and spelling, they said.

I had no idea that so many word variations existed between Australia and the U.S. Just lately, I’ve been thinking about this subject and, while I was willing to drop the odd ‘u’ and swap ‘s’ and ‘z’, I know I couldn’t adopt all the other words. If there should be complaints in the reviews (assuming I get that far), then I will simply issue an American version. Thanks Susan, for making me think about this some more!

Susan Lattwein

So I tried, I really did.

After all, Australian television has so many American shows and sit-coms, right?

All I needed to do was make a few adjustments –  no ‘u’ in ardour, behaviour, colour, honour, glamour, flavour, labour, neighbour, odour, valour, vapour, favourite  …

I’d change words like centre, litre, theatre to center, liter, and theater; and replace the odd ‘s’ with a ‘z’.

American and Australian language has a LOT of similarities. However, I ended up changing more words than I expected –

thongs Poor thongs…

Gravel became road metal

Car park  > parking lot

Windscreen > windshield

Boot > trunk

Bonnet  > hood

Lift (building) > elevator

Toilet > washroom, restroom (so much nicer!)

Chips > french fries

Serviette > napkin

Restaurant bill > restaurant check

Bucket > pail

Verandah > porch or deck

Wardrobe > cupboard

Door frame > door jam

Jumper > sweater

Singlet > talk top…

View original post 178 more words


27 thoughts on “Write your novel with US words and spelling, they said.

  1. Sue says:

    Think you will find it’s “door jamb”. If you are writing your novel on your computer you should be able to change the language setting to English “American”.Used to make me chuckle to myself when in the movies they would ask to use the bathroom, what if it didn’t have a toilet?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Sue, yes, I can set my writing software to the English version I want. You’re right about the doorjamb spelling, I didn’t even know it’s American. I suppose so many of them have crept into our vocabulary. Yeah, my bathroom hasn’t a toilet! 😀 (Yeah, I know, I’m supposed to be working on my book!)


      • Sue says:

        I don’t care if American’s can’t spell, I can. Do you remember years ago they were talking about changing correct spelling for phonetics, shock, horror, shudder. Though these days it doesn’t really matter one way or another, there are so many abbreviations accepted. (Sadly, to which I have succumbed)

        Liked by 1 person

    • Sue says:

      he doorjamb is a standard part of the door frame, think it’s an English term, never really thought about it, just used in carpentry & cabinet making.


  2. Hi Christine, thanks for the reblog. Yes, it is door jamb, isn’t it? 🙂 I tried to change words and spellings when someone told me his US wife didn’t understand the colloquialisms in my first novel. But now I realise that was an unusual case, phew! I give overseas readers more credit now. Cheers! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Susan, thanks for dropping by. I think we need to retain our ‘voice’ and your post confirmed that for me. The odd word spelling change would be okay, but there is no way I’m going to write words foreign to my tongue.

      I finally got around to downloading ‘Arafura’ yesterday, from Amazon, forgetting I could have had an easier reading format from Smashwords! But, I’ve managed to make the Kindle app for PC work with Linux on my laptop. Can’t wait to get past the preview pages! And I see you have the sequel out now, too. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Christine. You’ve always been so supportive. 😄 I’ve been quiet on-line, finishing the second book.
        It was recommended to write like that at a writing workshop, but where do you draw the line?
        Will be checking out your posts more often now, and what you’re up to with your writing!!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Well, honestly Joanne, I’m so used to reading both UK and US English that I never take much notice unless it’s a word I haven’t heard before.

      I found this on a Queensland Asphalt Repairs website.

      “Asphalt or bitumen? What’s the difference?

      Asphalt and bitumen are often thought of as being one and the same thing however asphalt is quite different because it is a mixture of bitumen and fillers such as sand, grit and stone particles. It is commonly used in the construction of road surfaces.

      In Australia we typically think of our road surfaces as being “bitumen”. Bitumen on it’s own and in definition, is the heavy residue left over from the refinement of crude oil which is the basis of the fuels we use for most forms of transport. However most road surfaces are actually asphalt, being a combination of bitumen and mineral aggregates. Other terms commonly used to describe these surfaces are tarmac and pitch.”

      There you go! 😮 And I thought the black sticky stuff was tar!


  3. You are not advocating that as a guideline, I trust, Christine ??
    Americans are not like they once were, navel-gazing all day: now they are far more outward-looking, and they LOVE Oz and things Oz-related. Of course. {grin}
    Imagine if everyone wrote in the American idiom !!!!!
    Btw: I simply love that couple who do their thing with American and Australian words – they are gorgeous !!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. And if you were writing a Canadian version, we like our u’s and re’s, but we’ll take the list of American terms. Except for that check, that’s a cheque (unless you mean a check mark).

    Oh, except for the bonnet. You’re not likely to run into many of those here so you’re best off making it a toque.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Our cheque has the same spelling. So doing a special version is fraught with possible danger. I’ll just write Australian and let the reader decide if they want to use their dictionary. 😀 LOL Imagine the trouble trying to reconcile the image of a bonnet with a car while thinking of a hat. Impossible! Thanks for dropping by, marajule.


Comments are closed.