HomeWritersLiterary AgentsEditorsPublishersResourcesDiscussion
Forum Login | Join the discussion
+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 10 of 11

Hybrid View

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    9

    U.S. Vocab question

    Obviously people in the U.S. know what gas is and what a gas station is.

    In general, are people in the U.S. familiar with the U.K. terms 'petrol' and 'petrol station'?

  2. #2
    Rogue Mutt
    Guest
    Probably depends on the American. I'm familiar with it.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Gilfindel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Dallas, TX
    Posts
    688
    As am I. I suspect folks around here see enough British shows to be familiar with the terms.

  4. #4
    Senior Member John Oberon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Columbus, Ohio
    Posts
    3,063
    Yeah, no problem, particularly if a Brit character says it. However, if an objective narrator uses that term, it would stand out.

  5. #5
    Administrator Wickett's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    662
    No one around where I live uses petrol. I agree with John, make a Brit say it, but some may not get petrol station.

  6. #6
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    9
    Thanks.

    It sounds like most people will get it. But Wickett's comment that some may not get 'petrol station', causes me to wonder if I need to do something about it...

    So if anyone else has an opinion on it – here's some more detail:

    It's for a piece of non fiction.

    I'm writing it in my own name and voice, and I would say 'petrol' and 'petrol station'.

    It's for a UK and US audience. I need US people to know what I'm on about.

    It's kind of a quick anecdote, and there are not enough other details to figure out what I'm on about without knowing those terms.

    If people both understand it and would realise it's a Brit writing as soon as they see the words, then that's actually better, since the anecdote is right at the start of the piece and so the terms will help start drawing a pic of who I am. Most readers won't know me until they read the piece – they will not have got their hands on the piece through knowing my name first.

    If pretty much most of my readers would know what those terms mean, then all's good. If not, i will simply explain the terms. It's not an issue to explain them. It doesn't really interrupt anything.

    If there's a significant doubt, then I'll explain the terms. But I don't want it to feel like it's talking down to people, explaining stuff they don't need explaining.

    The general audience would be fairly intelligent people who're interested in stuff. It's not for a piece of trash fiction or anything like that.

    Would you say those readers would be better off with or without the explanation?

    (I can send people the anecdote so they can give an opinion, but with the promise the anecdote won't be distributed anywhere. I can't publish it here or anywhere else.)

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    688
    Quote Originally Posted by Tayble View Post
    Obviously people in the U.S. know what gas is and what a gas station is.

    In general, are people in the U.S. familiar with the U.K. terms 'petrol' and 'petrol station'?
    I'm pretty sure they'll be able to decipher that from the context.

  8. #8
    Member K.S. Crooks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    40
    Not common in everyday use but I think everyone will understand. Living in Canada, we use a mixture of U.S. and British English words. Occasionally I have to do the same and decide which version of spelling or type of word to use. I try to go with the word that sounds the best when said out loud in full sentence. Use the vocabulary you expect tour characters to use.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts