If you keep a careful eye on vernacular English, you can really expand your markets for articles and short stories, in particular, or even pick up some out-sourced work. And, of course, it is a simple matter to edit your old articles to rework them for a foreign market.
Here are my top three favourite differences between North American English (NA) and UK English (UK):
American English has dropped the second “i” and changed the pronunciation to “al-oo-mi-num”; UK English pronunciation is “ala-min-ee-um”.
I could care less. (NA)
I couldn’t care less. (UK)
UK English speakers don’t consider “less” to be a negative, but a comparative - ie, the opposite of “more”. So “I couldn’t care more” means “This is the thing I care the most about” and “I couldn’t care less” is the opposite: “This is the thing I care the least about”. For many US speakers, “not” and “less” would cancel each other out, leaving “I could care”.
Potted plant (NA)
Pot plant (UK)
While UK English speakers do call the drug in question “pot”, and they might grow “pot” (I said “might”), a “pot plant” is any plant in a pot. Americans speak of a plant that has been “potted”.
I really enjoy coming across further variances in the way we communicate that remind me of the huge distances I cover each day. And I want others to experience this too, so I don't try to blend in and serve my readers the spelling they expect on my website. It broadens everyone's worldview when we come across unexpected differences and stop to savour them.
Look out for upcoming posts on English vernacular from some other countries around the world.
Do you have any favourite differences between US and UK English to share with us? Your comment might have made it into a follow-up post.
Elsa Neal is a writer based in Melbourne, Australia. Visit her website to download her free mini report on the Ten Most Frustrating Grammar Rules and How to Remember Them. Stay and browse through her resources for writers or follow her writing insights at her Fictional Life Blog.