1. ScaryMonster

    ScaryMonster Active Member

    Jan 10, 2011
    Likes Received:

    Encyclopedia - Encyclopaedia?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by ScaryMonster, Jul 4, 2012.

    I wanted to ask what opinion's people have about the version of English you do your writing in, British or American?
    I personally don't give it too much thought when I'm doing a piece of work, but as I'm working through my rewrites I was wondering if it would be wise to do versions with both English and American spelling and punctuation, because I might send a work to an American publisher and then to an English one?
    Apart from the varied grammatical rules, just off the top of my head I can think of these alternative spellings.

    analyze - analyse
    apologize - apologise
    behavior - behaviour
    canceling - cancelling
    center - centre
    check - cheque
    color - colour
    encyclopedia - encyclopaedia
    favorite - favourite
    fiber - fibre
    fulfill - fulfil
    gray - grey
    humor - humour
    labor - labour
    license - licence
    jewelry - jewellery
    theater - theatre
  2. Thumpalumpacus

    Thumpalumpacus Alive in the Superunknown

    Jun 28, 2012
    Likes Received:
    I'm an American. I did have British teachers when I lived in Iran, and one of them was my English teacher. She accepted American spellings but used British spellings herself.

    Writing or speaking British English would feel like an affectation to me, so I stay with the American variant; I think "grey" is the only word I still spell like a Brit.
  3. Cogito

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    May 19, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Massachusetts, USA
    They are two major dialects of English, and you should stick to the one that you are publishing to. Generally, that means the one you are more adept in.

    Mixing them in the same piece is generally a bad idea. However, I can see the point of using the "other" dialect in dialogue. I don't believe you can hear the spelling difference, but it could legitimately be argued that the spelling difference reminds the reader which dialect (and accordingly, the accent) the speaker is using. So if you can be consistent and accurate with switching in dialogue, kudos.

    Now, to put in my moderator hat: There will be NO debate in this thread (or on this site!) as to which is better!
  4. Michipanda

    Michipanda Member

    Jul 3, 2012
    Likes Received:
    East Coast
    I agree with sticking to your own guns as they say, but I personally base my spelling on the setting of the novel I will be using it in. For example, you wouldn't use Brit spelling in a westerner. Just kind of seems out of place there, unless there happens to be a British man or woman. In that case, the spelling difference would be used to show difference in culture and add more dept in context of the characters. I suppose all in all, it more about what you prefer when you are writing.
  5. mammamaia

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Nov 21, 2006
    Likes Received:
    Coquille, Oregon
    whichever you use, be consistent and consider your target market...

    if i'm writing for american readers/publishers, i use american spelling/idioms

    when writing for uk/commonwealth readers, i use british
  6. Darkkin

    Darkkin Reflection of a nobody Contributor

    Jun 21, 2012
    Likes Received:
    Following the footprints in the sand...
    Born American, but I use the British spellings, mainly because my stories are located in Britain and Scotland. Regionally and historically, it is accurate. The conversation with my prof over the issue was interesting to say the least. I was informed that I was too much of a geek for my own good, but I got my way. The British spellings stayed.

    Stay true to the regions and the historical time frame. It lends a lot to a story, a special hint of something, many often overlook. Just my thoughts.

    - Darkkin
  7. digitig

    digitig Contributor Contributor

    Jan 21, 2010
    Likes Received:
    Orpington, Bromley, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
    It doesn't work like that. A UK publisher is likely to want British spellings for a Western, a US publisher is likely to want US spellings in a period drama set in Britain. It's the market, not the genre, that decides it.
  8. peachalulu

    peachalulu Member Reviewer Contributor

    May 20, 2012
    Likes Received:
    occasionally Oz , mainly Canada
    Sticking to the region where you're going to publish is a good idea. It also helps to let people know where you come from too.
    I know of this self published author , whose also from Canada ( like me ) who gets some backlash over spelling 'mistakes' from American readers.
  9. Complex

    Complex New Member

    Jun 28, 2012
    Likes Received:
    If you are naming a specific encyclopedia or encyclopaedia, then use that one to refer to it by name as it is technically a typo in most MLA guidelines. Encyclopædia Britannica, not Encyclopedia Britannica. Applies as well to Iranica. The reason? It is the identifying and specific name and it is thus the preferred name. Also this comes up with corporation names like the HongKong Banks. Even though it would be a typo for HongKong' it is proper because it is the name of the company.

    With that out of the way, other spellings can be regionally set or fixed if need be through a filter in later editing if desired. Most publishers should recognize the legitimate different spellings and not be troubled by them; if they want that addressed then it can be addressed then. If you are so inclined, note it for them in advance so they are aware that you are aware of it and will act in accordance to a partial house style or preference.

Share This Page