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Friday, December 19, 2014

Small variations in spelling can significantly impact how a reader may perceive your writing.

I get alerts sent to me covering a range of topics. One alert contained a link to this article on the spelling of definitely. Overall it is a good article and worth a read. However when I started to read the article I immediately thought it was perhaps a republication of an article published in America.

Now you may ask why I would think that?

The answer is there are a couple of clues that I frequently see in writing by American journalists. The spelling spell-check and misspelled. Both of these spellings are typically American. In Australia the preferred spellings are spellcheck and misspelt.

Once I see an article I think is American I usually discard it, or at least treat it with a lower degree of confidence. There are large number of differences, and if someone hasn't taken the time to edit the article for an Australian audience, I think it can do more harm than good. The repeated use of American spelling makes it harder to remember the correct or preferred Australian English spelling.

Much to my surprise the author of this article is an Australian. They have however spent some time in Greece. I remember when I was in Greece I walked out of the hotel in Delphi to see the spelling Jewelry, which is the American spelling and incorrect in Australia. So perhaps there's more of a bias towards the American spelling in Greece. I don't know, but it does seem to be a strange coincidence.

If you are writing articles make sure you target the spelling to the preferred spelling of the audience. Don't let the spelling get in the way of the information you wish to share.

Kelvin Eldridge
The preferred Australian English spelling.

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