Whose English Is It, Anyway? #amediting

Okay, the book is written by an English person, right? So it makes sense to me to leave the spelling, punctuation, grammar, and word choice consistent with English usage.

But wait! What if one of the stories is told from the POV of an American? I realize that, if the POV character were French, the story wouldn’t be written in French, but shouldn’t a non-British English speaker’s POV be presented in non-British English? Yes or no? What if the POV is first-person (I liked the colour or I liked the color)?

What if a non-British English character reads something written by a non-British English speaker? Should that writing be quoted in non-British English? What if the character reads it aloud, or what if a British English speaker reads aloud something written in non-British English? Does the writer use British or non-British English for that?

Editing. It’s not all glitz and glamor (or is it glamour?), kids.

A WRITING PROMPT BASED ON MY POST: Write about people who speak different forms of the same language.


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I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “Whose English Is It, Anyway? #amediting

  1. joey

    November 6, 2017 at 11:16am

    Not quite on the same track, but I struggled with this last week. I’d had a dream where a friend said she knew I wasn’t pregnant. When I went to write it, I thought, Now do I write it how she said it, how she’d really say it, “I knew you wasn’t pregnant!” or do I write it proper? I went with proper, but it irked me. Her speech in my dream was so her. Not me, not proper, so her.

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      November 6, 2017 at 5:18pm

      Yeah, like that! Same basic track. Flannery O’Conner solved it by writing proper spelling but keeping the native cadence and grammar, with the occasional regionalism for flavor. As in, “If I’da had that sack, I’da kepaholt of it.”

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  2. Dan Antion

    November 6, 2017 at 11:21am

    I’ve only ever heard that it might be the Queen’s English, but no one wants to lay claim to the English we gots. If I wrote in Pittsburgh English, I’d say “yinz got nothin to worry bout…”

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      November 6, 2017 at 5:18pm

      “Yinz”? I never heard of that one before! Is that singular, plural, or both?

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      • dan antion

        November 6, 2017 at 5:36pm

        It’s like Y’all – if you want to emphasize the plural, you can say ‘yinz guys’

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      • Pat Paxton

        November 6, 2017 at 7:46pm

        Going to West Virginia University (about an hour south of Pittsburgh, I heard plenty of “Yinz”. A native explained it me to be “You’ens”.

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  3. RAAAckerman, PhD, EA

    November 7, 2017 at 2:00am

    Moreover, we Americans don’t write English. We write American.
    (OK. Some of us were trained to write English and demonstrate the differences without trying. Scouts Honour.)

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