/Tag: language


A lot of writing advice will tell you how to edit down at the prose level. Things like getting rid of adverbs: “That always annoyed me,” Yoon said irritably. In this case I would in fact get rid of the adverb because it’s not adding information; irritation is implied by the (rather on the nose) dialogue. On the other hand, if you had a line like “That always annoyed me,” Yoon said dreamily, the adverb is telling you something contrary to expectation, and could reasonably be kept.

Yoon Ha Lee on adverbs.

This is, quite honestly, the best and most concise way I’ve ever heard the whole not-adjectives-except-sometimes-adjectives rule explained.

2017-11-30T15:39:44+00:0013th May, 2018|Tags: language, writing|

Getting it right.

How to write about trans people, from the Radical Copyeditor. This is the summary image, but the attached article containes more in-depth guidance, including explanations of what makes certain language appropriate or not.

[Content warning is for transphobic language used for illustrative/corrective purposes.]

2017-10-03T15:10:49+00:005th March, 2018|Tags: culture, cw: transphobia, language|

Missing you, extra elle.

What the hell! the reader exclaims. This writer can’t spell! She’s written travelling instead of traveling and centre instead of center and realisation instead of realization. Colour instead of color.  This book is crap! It’s riddled with spelling errors and grammatical problems. It’s a bloody one star from me.

No. It’s not riddled with spelling errors and grammatical problems. It’s not written in US English.

Donna Maree Hanson on spellcheck.

So despite being set in Australia, both Liesmith and Stormbringer are published in the US, and thus written in US English. Except it’s US-English-with-Australian-idiom, which means characters describe things as (say) being “a shittonne” rather than “a shitton”, because a tonne and a ton aren’t the same thing, and Australia uses the former. Needless to say, I had some fun discussions with the copyeditor over that one…

The other big example I can think of: “was sat”/”was stood” instead of “was sitting”/”was standing”. The former are common constructions in British English, and sound grammatically odd in Australian and US English.

For the most part, I think US audiences are used to reading solely US editions of books and, yes, these will be rewritten. Which means it’s US audiences who tend to be the ones balking when they encounter non-US English. I’m not sure about the UK, but in Australia it’s kind of a toss-up on whether we get the UK, US, or specifically Australian editions of books (and, of course, if you’re buying print books from, say, Amazon, you’re almost certainly getting US editions). So readers here, I think, tend to be more accepting of grammar and spelling variants.

(The other region I’d be interested to know about would be Canada. I think Canadians tend to use British English spellings, but I’d be willing to bet most of their print books are US imports.)

Tl;dr, pretty much any review you read of the “too many typos 1-star!” variety is full of shit.

2018-05-01T10:26:19+00:004th August, 2017|Tags: language, publishing, writing|