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Different word uses

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Just a question on word use, or choice.

Anyone know why Americans use a phrase like,

"We never felt attracted for each other."

instead of,

"We never felt attracted to each other."

Is it just a cultural difference, or is there some other reason?

I'm very interested to see if both sentences (which are only examples) are regarded as being the same, or if they convey different meanings to people, or if they have different meanings for people. :boogie[1]:

I don't have a bias here except that Aussies would not usually use the word 'for' in that way in a sentence. We would however say, " We never felt attraction for each other."

Which I suppose brings forth, the question of how do people cope with these differences, when confronted with them in a story?

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I've been an American all my life, which is too many years to count, and I have NEVER heard anyone, foreign or domestic, say, "We never felt attracted for each other."

We do it like you do, feel attraction for each other. We aren't attracted for each other.

So, where did you hear that? Oh, wait, I know.

Des, Des, Des, you've just got to stay out of those dives at night. Not only will you pollute your liver, but when it gets late enough and the customers loose enough, you even hear things like the above.

C

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Okay, so I found it in a story at a site where I was doing research. :cry:

It wasn't the first time I have seen such a phrase, and I merely wanted find out if it was me or them. So thanks Cole, you have answered my query.

I am so relieved :hug: to know that you do it the same way we do it, otherwise we would have to hold illustrated practical lectures to find out who is doing it best.

Perhaps we should do a lecher tour, anyway. :boogie[1]: Could help International relations if we can get all of the United Nations' members to participate.

:icon13:

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Is that what you're calling it these days, 'doing research'?

:boogie[1]:

C

It's important to establish the high moral fibre of the work we do on the Net. :icon13:

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Since I'm Australian and my editor is American, I've learnt a number of times of different phrasing that is used between Australia and America.

In most cases, both forms are used in Australia (since we are heavily influenced by both British and USA culture), so I tend to let me editor change things to the American form to reduce potential reader confusion. But there are a few things where the American form is not used in Australia (at least not to the best of my knowledge).

eg. At schools in Australia, students study Maths and play Sport, but at schools in the USA, students study Math and play Sports. A footballer in Australia may suffer from concussion, but in America footballers may suffer from a concussion.

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Thanks Graeme, those are the kind of differences I see too.

Does anyone know whether modern commercial books, Harry Potter, Da Vinci Code etc., are re-edited for different markets?

Obviously classics wouldn't be affected, I wouldn't think so anyway.

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I agree completely with Cole on word usage. I've never heard a phrase that strange, either -- at least not in real life, and not from a decent writer.

The Harry Potter books were definitely (albeit slightly) edited for their American editions, changing "boot" to "trunk," "lift" to "elevator," and so on. Some of the HP discussion groups out there have documented the differences, going so far as to provide specific sentences and words as examples.

I think as time went on, J.K. Rowling was able to resist other editorial directions, particularly in terms of book length and other factors. I saw a lot more run-on sentences and weird turns of phrases in the last couple of books, partly because they rushed the books out to meet a schedule and didn't have enough time to edit them properly.

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In Canada there is a great tendency to say "go to the hospital" instead of "go to hospital" even if there may be 3 or 4 hospitals within easy reach. I have noticed a scary tendency for some (what I call 'lower class') Americans to say "borrow me some money" instead of "lend me some money".

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Right on both accounts, Trab. One of the pleasures I get from reading British writing is seeing the phrase, 'go to hospital'. It's in universal usage there. I'm a bit surprised it didn't carry over to Canada.

And 'borrow me some money' is definitely an American colloquialism. I heard it often when I was younger, but haven't heard it in years. I have no idea if it's a regional idiom or socio-economic.

C

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Another phrase I've seen is "in hospital". Most American's say "in the hospital."

Does it throw you, or what is your reaction, when you see one or the other, depending on your accustomed common usage?

Enquiring minds want to know if it is something we should worry about.

:lol:

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Does it throw you, or what is your reaction, when you see one or the other, depending on your accustomed common usage?

Enquiring minds want to know if it is something we should worry about.

:lol:

Inquiring minds do, too.

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Another Britishism is to say, "we're on holiday." In America, it's always "on VACATION."

I once had a violent disagreement with another writer, a Brit who had written a story that took place in an (unnamed) California town. I know California extremely well, having lived here for more than 30 years. Aside from not specifying where it was, the writer at one point referred to "Father Christmas," which I thought was extremely out-of-character for a story with American characters.

He insisted I was wrong, that he knew many Americans who referred to Father Christmas, and wouldn't accept my word that we've always called the holiday character Santa Claus. (Or maybe Kris Kringle.) Apparently, he never saw any of the Tim Allen movies -- one of which I worked on for four months -- or Miracle on 34th Street.

Little things like this immediately tip off the reader that something is wrong. If it's set in a certain country, you have to adopt the idioms and slang of those people, good or bad, even if it's foreign to you. The alternative is: write what you know. Set the story in a location with which you're intimately familiar. Don't assume you can speak in the vernacular of the people in an unfamiliar place.

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Another Britishism is to say, "we're on holiday." In America, it's always "on VACATION."

I once had a violent disagreement with another writer, a Brit who had written a story that took place in an (unnamed) California town. I know California extremely well, having lived here for more than 30 years.

You will allow people to create fictional towns in California, won't you? Sue Grafton, in her mysteries beginning with the letters of the alphabet, has done just that, created Santa Teresa as the home town for her protagonist, Kinsey Milhone. It is felt that she constructed it loosely based on Santa Rosa, but she uses the name Santa Teresa. I haven't heard any complaints about that.

Interesting enough, Jeff Allen, at CRVBOY, in his story Thunder in the Night, also has a town called Santa Teresa. I asked him if he'd based the name on the Grafton novels, and he said no, he'd simply tried to think of a fictional name for a Southern California town. He says the town he had in mind was Julian, CA. But he did make up a fictional town.

I've done the same thing. I see nothing wrong with that.

C

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Does it throw you, or what is your reaction, when you see one or the other, depending on your accustomed common usage?

Enquiring minds want to know if it is something we should worry about.

:lol:

As an editor, I'm currently working with two Brit's so I'm used to seeing the phrase. Some of it depends on where the story is taking place as to how it's said. If the location is in the U.S., I wouldn't expect to see it. There again, that would depend upon where the character speaking is from.

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[...]

Don't assume you can speak in the vernacular of the people in an unfamiliar place.

Your last statement on the vernacular, reminds me of a comedy skit some years ago when we had a very aristocratic Prime Minister in Australia. His "toffee-nosed" (Snobbish; pretentiously superior) way of speaking was a target for every comedian in Oz. The government had just brought in a new program to assist the unemployed find work, and the US "Dude" had become very popular amongst our young unemployed, much to the their parents disdain.

Now I will do my best to describe the skit, but it may fall short because it relies on the Prime Minister completely misunderstanding the vernacular.

The skit went something like this:

Prime Minister (PM):
...and in conclusion I would like to say that our new program will enable work to be found by all the unemployed duds.
(duds as in, suds.)

PM's dialogue coach in a stage whisper:
No, no, there is an 'e' on the end, an 'e'

PM:
Sorry, I mean "duddies"
(as in muddies.)

PM's dialogue coach in a stage whisper:
The 'e' is silent.

PM:
Dood ?

PM's dialogue coach:
Yes as in food.

PM:
They want food?

Australians found this exceedingly funny because it sent up the aristocratic 'holier than thou' mentality of the Liberal (right wing) party.

If that PM had owned our site it would have been known as 'Awesome Duds'. :lol:

(TalonRider @ Jan 12 2010, 08:39 AM) *

Another phrase I've seen is "in hospital". Most American's say "in the hospital."

Moving right along, to the hospital example, the local (Adelaide) vernacular has a rather interesting twist to it.

When we say John is in hospital, we are really saying, "John is inside the hospital as a patient."

If however we say, "John is in the hospital." We might immediately ask, "As a patient, or is he visiting someone there?"

To make matters worse, there is no clear rule for either of these assumptions for the phrases, they are just common usages in our local language, and they are even subject to being interchangeable depending on the inflections in the voice.

(This gives rise to the question of how we might illustrate emphasis in our writing for a reader to understand the intended meaning of, an often subtle, spoken phrase.) :cat:

(The Pecman @ Jan 11 2010, 10:03 PM) *

[...]

Another Britishism is to say, "we're on holiday." In America, it's always "on VACATION."

I once had a violent disagreement with another writer, a Brit who had written a story that took place in an (unnamed) California town. I know California extremely well, having lived here for more than 30 years. Aside from not specifying where it was, the writer at one point referred to "Father Christmas," which I thought was extremely out-of-character for a story with American characters.

He insisted I was wrong, that he knew many Americans who referred to Father Christmas, and wouldn't accept my word that we've always called the holiday character Santa Claus. (Or maybe Kris Kringle.) Apparently, he never saw any of the Tim Allen movies -- one of which I worked on for four months -- or Miracle on 34th Street.

If it's set in a certain country, you have to adopt the idioms and slang of those people, good or bad, even if it's foreign to you. The alternative is: write what you know. Set the story in a location with which you're intimately familiar. [..]

I think that is just a cultural custom. In Oz we are bombarded with expressions from the US, UK and many European traditions. Most youngsters would be familiar with Father Christmas and Santa Claus, but Kris Kringle may elude some of them. I grew up with all of the names, but I was fairly certain that my mother was really Mother Xmas.

I know Pecman likes time and place to be clear in a story, and I don't entirely disagree with him, but I hate to be tied down to an Australian setting, especially when I have a universal theme in my story that is not dependent on an Australian setting.

Of course I don't think I am a sufficiently competent writer to adopt the vernacular of another locality except for the momentary obvious clich?, dude, but I also think one can successfully set a story in another country or time without actually having been there. This borders on the old discussion about an author not having to be a murderer in order to write a murder mystery. The truth of the matter is that to write successfully about those things which are not of your immediate experience requires research and imagination, with no small measure of inspiration, and the occasional headache. Not always easy if you have to work for a living as well as find time to authenticate your creation.

I don't see why a place cannot attempt to be every place, just as a character can be representative of every-man. I can quite easily agree that some specific characters do represent every-man, like for instance Peer Gynt, in his very Norwegian story, but even he travels to Egypt. However it should also be possible to simply write a story that occurs in an anonymous space which readers translate as common to their existence through a reasonable degree of neutrality in the wording of the story. Relating to the character itself is what makes this workable.

Many, many of our Flash Fictions do just that.

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I suppose just how authentic an author wants his story to be depends simply on the author's wish.

I know an author who was writing a story that was based in Pensacola, FL. He happened to live in Denver and had never been to Pensacola. So, he bought a plane ticket and visited the place, checking out locations that would fit his plot.

I personally don't really see the sense in that, unless one is trying for v?rit? writing. You're writing fiction; I wouldn't have a problem with an author inventing a physical locale within an actual city to fit the needs of his story. I wouldn't add an ocean shore to a story set in Omaha, but I might add a hill on a road that is in actuality flat.

C

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When we say John is in hospital, we are really saying, "John is inside the hospital as a patient."

It makes one think, just for a little bit, about the term "incontinent", doesn't it?

Some time ago I was reading a story that was taking place in the eastern USA, and it was fine, until one day the lead character, fully American, had to go home to do 'revision'. That was my first clue that the author was probably British.

In Canada we generally use 'vacation' when talking to Americans or writing contract language, but common usage is 'holidays'. Of course those legally recognized days off which commemorate some specific 'event', mostly Christian based but not exclusively so, are always called 'holidays', and some confusion can result for working people from having a deferred holiday day due to having a holiday in your holidays. (Anyone who didn't barf at that should join the Coast Guard rescue service, as you have a cast iron stomach.)

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I wouldn't add an ocean shore to a story set in Omaha, but I might add a hill on a road that is in actuality flat.C

I suppose this is where my AS comes into play. I will meticulously enter the supposed start and finish points for someone going on a road trip (in the story) into Google Earth and let it figure out if the timeline is correct or not. I even use it to see if there really ARE hills, valleys and vistas that justified the character's stop somewhere for a photo. I should clarify that this is not being done by me as a reader, but as a proofer (editor?). There seems to me to be no point in saying a trip took 12 hours when it needs to take 18. While there may not be any severe need for it to be correct, there is also no valid reason for it to be wrong if it is not crucial to the plot line. If the 'truth' will work, why use a 'fiction'?

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I suppose this is where my AS comes into play. I will meticulously enter the supposed start and finish points for someone going on a road trip (in the story) into Google Earth and let it figure out if the timeline is correct or not. I even use it to see if there really ARE hills, valleys and vistas that justified the character's stop somewhere for a photo. I should clarify that this is not being done by me as a reader, but as a proofer (editor?). There seems to me to be no point in saying a trip took 12 hours when it needs to take 18. While there may not be any severe need for it to be correct, there is also no valid reason for it to be wrong if it is not crucial to the plot line. If the 'truth' will work, why use a 'fiction'?

When the start and end locations are 'real', I think this is fair enough. However, an author may include a fictional location between the two points, in which case the only thing that's valid is the issue of the time.

I did this with my Heart of The Tree story. Every named town in the story actually exists, apart from the central town of the story which is completely fictional. I did check maps to see what was in the area where I had put the town and to judge travel distances, but the location of the town obviously won't match the real location. I also have no idea if that part of NSW is suitable for growing grapes....

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Just a question on word use, or choice.

Anyone know why Americans use a phrase like,

"We never felt attracted for each other."

instead of,

"We never felt attracted to each other."

Is it just a cultural difference, or is there some other reason?

I'm very interested to see if both sentences (which are only examples) are regarded as being the same, or if they convey different meanings to people, or if they have different meanings for people. :lol:

I don't have a bias here except that Aussies would not usually use the word 'for' in that way in a sentence. We would however say, " We never felt attraction for each other."

Which I suppose brings forth, the question of how do people cope with these differences, when confronted with them in a story?

"Attracted for each other" may be an American regionalism that I'm not aware of. Most of the time I see "attracted to."

There is one regionalism that's wide spread: "XYZ is waiting on someone" where I would say "XYZ is waiting for someone." To me one waits on someone a a restaurant. I couldn't convince the Indiana author for whom I edit to change it, so I'm still Waiting on Godot.

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"Waiting on someone" brings a whole new image to mind, not necessarily an unpleasant one.

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