Going that extra mile with the two major Englishes
It takes about 15 minutes to walk a mile. I’ve walked countless city streets, country lanes, and unmarked fields to go a mile. It’s 15 minutes, give or take. It’s not that far.
In the world of specialised writerstechnical, scientific, corporatefew seem to be interested in improving their ability with the two major branches of English:
- British or UK English
- American or US English
For example, if work requires them to write in US English and their mother tongue is British English, many writers simply remove the u from colour and carry on. End of.
If the tables are turned, their mother tongue is US English and they write professionally in British English, they slip the u into colour and feel they have done their part. Nothing further.
Bluebell season is almost upon us here in Europe, and I love to walk in the bluebell woods. It does not have to be a long walksay it’s 15 minutesI feel refreshed and somehow enlightened by the experience.
You see where I’m going with this, don’t you?
Like a pleasant walk through bluebells, you can improve your ability with the two major Englishes in about 15 minutes a day.
- Read a newspaper to pick up nuances for the English that you are currently writing
- For US English, I recommend the the International Herald Tribune
- For UK English, I recommend the Guardian
- Read the informative and often funny linguistic blog by M Lynne Murphy
- Read the UK English writerly style blog by the Guardian’s David Marsh
There are lots of sources to choose from. These are just some of the ones I read.
Over timenot that much time, eitheryou can make a big difference in your ability with the two major branches of English.
That extra mile is only 15 minutes, but it takes you to another level.
What do you do to improve your skill with the two major Englishes?