Worldwide English Language Tug of War

This is a funny article based on different ways to spell words and write articles depending on what English language you speak.

However; it is important if you are addressing an  American audience in your articles and you live outside of the USA. Our spell checkers in the USA will flag miss-spelling verses of other countries “English” spelling of words.

So my point is to understand your market and try to address the content of your spelling, so when you are addressing the USA market, you come across as an American verses a person from another country.

Having worked all over the world, it is interesting, because, one needs to learn how different cultures interpret the English language.  For example, most Japanese can speak English, but you have to slow down your speech to converse with them. American’s can talk very fast compared to other countries.

For example, I grew up in the South where most people tend to speak slow and have a definite Southern dialect. When I moved to California after graduating from the University of Florida Electrical Engineering school, I was mocked by the people I worked with for my southern accent, when I came back to visit my friends, they told me to slow down because I spoke too fast!

I have a funny story; I was working with a French company as their VP of International Sales. We went to Japan, and my French Applications Engineer was giving a presentation on our product. The Japanese in the audience were looking very confused, so I stopped the presentation and proceeded to give it myself. When I did, the Japanese audience started to nod their heads in understanding!

Afterwards, my French associate said, I do not understand, He said, I gave the same presentation! And, I said there is a difference, because I spoke Japanese English! You Spoke French English!

So , here are some tips for writing articles posted to Ezine.

Ezine Tips 

English Dialects: American English, British English, South African English, Australian English, Cockney English, Southern American English… There are so many!

For every dialect, someone will vow their version is the “right” version:

“Americans can’t spell.”

“The British can’t tell advise from advice.”

We’ve heard it all! Before we get into the differences of American vs. British English, let’s get one thing straight: Just as many British English writers struggle with poor grammar and spelling as American English writers.

Whew! Glad that’s out of the way! Whether you use American or British English, we will accept either as long as you stay consistent in the dialect you use throughout the whole article.

Today’s guide will help you on your journey to discovering the subtle nuances of American English and British English as well as strengthening your article writing skills. Let’s get started!

American vs. British English Language Spelling Guidelines

1. Words ending in -or (American) vs. -our (British)

  • Neighbor vs. Neighbour
  • Favor vs. Favour

2. Words ending in -er (American) vs. -re (British)

  • Center vs. Centre
  • Meter vs. Metre

3. Verbs ending in -ize (American) vs. -ise (British)

  • Organize vs. Organise
  • Realize vs. Realise

4. Verbs ending in -yze (American) vs. -yse (British)

  • Analyze vs. Analyse
  • Paralyze vs. Paralyse

5. Nouns ending in -ense (American) vs. – ence (British)

  • License vs. Licence
  • Defense vs. Defence

Please note the above guidelines are not comprehensive and there are many exceptions. If you are unsure, keep a dictionary on hand or perform a quick Internet search to ensure you are using the correct spelling for either dialect.

Here are a few more spelling examples of American vs. British English to watch out for:

  • Canceled (American) vs. Cancelled (British)
  • Enroll (American) vs. Enrol (British)
  • Gray (American) vs. Grey (British)
  • Check (American) vs. Cheque (British)
  • Maneuver (American) vs. Manoeuvre (British)

What Did They Do to My Definite Article?!

Our final guideline today on American vs. British English language often aggravates American English writers:

“Why do British English writers insist on dropping the definite article (e.g. a, an, the, etc.) in phrases with institutional nouns (e.g. university, hospital, prison, etc.)?”

For British English writers, it’s based on the intention of the phrase. For example:

John is at university.

John is at the university.

“John is at university” is the British English equivalent to the American English “John is a university student.” When we add the definite article (“John is at the university”), the meaning changes: John is no longer necessarily a college student; he is merely located on the university’s property.

We’ve covered a lot of ground today! Remember: Be consistent and when all else fails, look up the spelling based on the dialect to ensure you don’t confuse your audience. Stop the tug of war over the English language and strengthen your article writing skills by keeping these guidelines in mind for your next set of quality, original articles.