It’s exactly 12 months since we moved to California and I’m beginning to feel grammatically challenged!

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During my Mum’s recent visit, we were commenting on the fact that none of us have developed a US accent (yet). What we had developed, however, was a different vocabulary. There was no change to our intonation but we were saying things like candy (lollies), trash (bin), practice (training). It’s funny how we can sound the same while sounding so different. The thing is, it’s quite a funny story…

During my son’s very first week of school here in San Jose; he proudly took his completed homework from his bag and asked the teacher “Where do I put it?” To which she replied “In the bin!” Now imagine his shock and horror! He had spent an entire hour on that assignment; but he did as he was told and promptly trashed it! So we learnt very quickly that in order to survive here, we were going to need to adopt the lingo.

Now, chatting in lingo is one thing. It didn’t really affect anything and made for fun anecdotal stories at home. BUT recently … things have started getting weird.

  • I tried to write cheque in an email to my accountant and a little squiggly line on my computer told me I spelt it incorrectly. The squiggly line wouldn’t go away; but I know that cheque is correct. I want money, not an auto-correct!

  • I wrote a submission letter to an Australian publisher and misspelled ‘curious’ because I was working all day with my local elementary school and ‘curios readers’ was the theme of the day.

  • I used the word ‘honour’ instead of ‘honor’ in a jpeg flyer for my elementary school and no-one noticed.

  • I did, however, get in trouble for writing ‘queue’ instead of ‘line’ because that made the article sound like someone British wrote it. Ha???

  • I got a ‘tire’ not a ‘tyre’ at the bike shop (or should I say ‘store’) even though I wasn’t remotely exhausted; and now

  • my skillful judgment of grammar while writing is seriously off-centre.

Can you see what’s happening? I’m a mess. My sentences are becoming populated with tandem US versus British standards and I’m barely aware I’m doing it. That first novel edit is going to be a mess…