Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades, #1) Fifty Shades of Grey discussion


350 views
American grammar vs British grammar

Comments (showing 1-32 of 32) (32 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Eva (new) - rated it 1 star

Eva King I'm not sure if anyone else has noticed that a British author used american grammar instead of British. I know that the story is based in Seattle but why did she not base it in London? That's where she lives. It made me think that it's because that way she makes more money... Does anyone else thinks this?


message 2: by Katrina (last edited Jul 22, 2012 01:54AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Katrina Passick Lumsden Eva wrote: "I'm not sure if anyone else has noticed that a British author used american grammar instead of British. I know that the story is based in Seattle but why did she not base it in London? That's where..."

I'm thinking she based it in Washington because it's Twilight fan fiction.

And she really did use a lot of British grammar. "Ring" someone on the phone, throwing toys from the "pram", etc.


Helen Stevens Yes, she set it there because that's where Bella & Edward are based. She seems to have changed some of the Britishisms from the original version (with Bella & Edward instead of Ana & Christian) but she's missed some.

I don't think she'd have made any less money if she'd set it in England, I think she would still have had US readers, but perhaps changing the names and taking out all references to vampirism was enough work for her and she didn't want to change the location as well! Shame, because it's all too obvious that she's NOT an american writer. It's one of the many things that make her a bad writer.


Lara I found it glaringly obvious while reading Fifty Shades that EL James is British. Distractingly so, in fact.


Sylvie I wasn't especially bothered by it, but I realized that as I was reading Christian's dialogue, I was giving him a British accent!


Sylvie Katrina wrote: "Eva wrote: "I'm not sure if anyone else has noticed that a British author used american grammar instead of British. I know that the story is based in Seattle but why did she not base it in London? ..."

...wearing a "smart" dress instead of a chic or stylish dress...


message 7: by Eva (new) - rated it 1 star

Eva King Thank you! She should've stuck to what she knows...Maybe in the film he will have a british accent...with an all american smile.


Hayley Linfield I think she lacked a good American editor. All the characters sounded British to me, ringing people and getting themselves 'sorted' etc.


Kimberley It's only the same as american authors writing books with british characters, based in england. They always have something that slips and lets you know the author isn't british but nothing is ever said about that indiscretion. With so many authors originating in the states, so many reveiws originating from the states I have to admit that sometimes the rest of us are baffled and the plot looses meaning (the american schooling system for example, or when the character spends a long time detailing a car that is only available in the states or my fav, music that is only avail in the states and has never been released anywhere else). Don't take this the wrong way as there really is no offence meant here but the rest of the world has been struggling with this for years, I think if an author is british they should aim for having a british editor and be true to their native tongue regardless of where the novel is set.


Hayley Linfield As a Canadian author who sets her novels in Canada (well, only one so far), I just don't see why people don't set their novels where they're from, (and I mean that both ways) unless there's some reason in the book. It's not like Bridgette Jones didn't go huge in the US. There was an interesting documentary recently that asked why non-American production companies (and authors too) feel that Americans won't be interested if the setting is not American, and if I were an American I'd be insulted by that perception.


Julie I didn't have a problem with the British grammer, I was annoyed by the fact that she used words that sent me looking for a dictionary. I have nothing against expanding my my vocabulary, I just don't enjoy having to stop reading to look up word a word in the dictionary.


message 12: by Eva (new) - rated it 1 star

Eva King Hayley wrote: "As a Canadian author who sets her novels in Canada (well, only one so far), I just don't see why people don't set their novels where they're from, (and I mean that both ways) unless there's some re..."

That was very interesting, and what did they say?


message 13: by Amy (new)

Amy The Britishisms did not bother me at all - I hardly noticed them over the annoyingly repetative phrases and the "inner goddess" babble.


April She should've set the novels in the UK. I agree she probably did it because of the ££ factor. If you are going to write from the perspective of an American character, you need to do your research and use her language. It annoyed me very much. It was one of many characteristics of the book that made it very amateurish.


Tracey Murphy Julie wrote: "I didn't have a problem with the British grammer, I was annoyed by the fact that she used words that sent me looking for a dictionary. I have nothing against expanding my my vocabulary, I just don..."

I said the same thing! Thank God for the kindle dictionary, 21 year olds don't speak like that.


Tracey Murphy Sylvie wrote: "Katrina wrote: "Eva wrote: "I'm not sure if anyone else has noticed that a British author used american grammar instead of British. I know that the story is based in Seattle but why did she not bas..."

Also "collecting" her from work isn't an American expression.


message 17: by Eva (new) - rated it 1 star

Eva King I must be used to british expessions and didn't notice those ones. I only noticed the american ones and thought she should've stuck to what she knew.
As well as this I am baffled of how succesful this books have been. I know peple that havent read a book since school and are obssesed with these. I could give them a list of better boks to read...


message 18: by Eva (new) - rated it 1 star

Eva King *books* sorry, stupid computers...


message 19: by A.J. (new)

A.J. Knauss I just read the kindle sample last night...and I must admit I find the British vocabulary distracting. It would have been less distracting had it just been set in England...or make Ana an English exchange student. But then I just got to te part where he visits her in the hardware store for some suggestive shopping and I have not laughed so hard in a long time. Anyone know a good "50 Shades" parody?


message 20: by Ebby (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ebby A.J. wrote: "I just read the kindle sample last night...and I must admit I find the British vocabulary distracting. It would have been less distracting had it just been set in England...or make Ana an English ..."

i didn't find the British vocabulary distracting at all because i talk like that and no im not from England im from nebraska. and a good 50 shades spoof is " fifty shames of earl grey"


message 21: by Sylvie (last edited Jul 27, 2012 12:33PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sylvie Tracey wrote:Also "collecting" her from work isn't an American expression. "

Exactly! I admit sometimes I say things like "I'll be along around four," instead of "I'll be there around four," even though I've never been to England. But still, I would never say, "I'll be sure to ring before I collect you. I'll be the one in the smart dress." LOL!


message 22: by Anne (new) - rated it 2 stars

Anne Johnson "They" always say to write what you know. You're correct the author should have used London because obviously she knows nothing about the Pacific Northwest, or North American English. I've lived in Vancouver BC my whole life and have never used the term rucksack. Had to look up the term - it's a backpack. Not sure it would have helped such a poorly written book, but it's a start.


Anthea Okay wait. Something like this irritates me SO much. With American writers setting their novels in the States and adding one British character who decides to always speak rather poshly and drinks tea all day- NO ONE DOES THAT. NOT EVEN THE QUEEN DOES THAT. I've read countless amounts of books where American authors get the British characterisations ALL wrong, and yes it's so annoying. If any of you are british or have been to the UK (especially London, that's where I'm from) then you'll know that we're not all eating scones and pronouncing every T at the end of words.

As for the language differences, it happens all the time in many books, not just E.L. James' Fifty Shades, so why does it matter?

There are so many times where I read books set in America and I have no idea how old a 'sophmore' is or where a 'junior' is older or younger, it confuses me, i'm lost, but I just forget about it and move on.

It's not that difficult to figure out the different dialect. The woman is British and she's used to speaking English the British way, so naturally she'd slip up a few times without realising it because it comes natural. Many American authors do the same, when their British character says things like 'awesome' or 'catch you later' - we don't say that. It's just pettiness, if you enjoyed the story then just shh and like it, not every novel has to be picked apart piece by piece, letter by letter, space by space.

Rant over

** I'm pretty sure half of that didn't make sense **


message 24: by Sadie (last edited Oct 18, 2013 11:49AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Sadie Mills I'm a British author (this isn't a plug, merely an observation), and with my first novel, Virtually Perfect, I had a few complaints from my US readers. I used a lot of colloquialisms; in hindsight, too many. I had no idea I was making it so difficult to understand, because I had no idea the US would turn out to be my main audience. I wasn't writing with a target audience in mind - I wasn't even thinking about it. I was just writing a story.

When I read Fifty Shades - the odd word here and there - I could spot straight off the bat that she was British. Ana spoke with an English accent from the get go. To me, it made the story less believable; it jarred, but I don't think E.L. James's Britishness was too overwhelming.

That isn't to say that I think a British writer can't or shouldn't set a story in the US with American characters. Why on earth not? But, unless she's been naturalised in the US for a very long time, I think she'd make life a lot easier for everyone keeping the overall narrative British. It makes it more believable, and Helen Fielding went down very nicely with Bridget Jones. In fact, it went down a storm. (And all writers want readers to 'get' us; we want to be liked; we're desperate for a pat on the head.)

The bottom line is, E.L. James was writing in first person. So unless she had made Ana British (thus changing the story hugely) she couldn't have narrated it in a British voice.

I keep in mind now that I'm writing for an international audience. It hasn't changed my writing voice, I'm very much still British, but I'm mindful of what might come across as an 'in' joke and alienate my overseas readers. I won't revise Virtually Perfect - it was my first novel and I will stand by that - but there were lessons to be learned.

I may throw in a few strange spellings, and drink a ridiculous amount of tea, but I've learned to see the bigger picture. I'm still me, all said and done, but what's really funny/poignant/heart-rending/gratifying isn't restricted to language. It's the same all over the world.


Charlene Kimberley wrote: "It's only the same as american authors writing books with british characters, based in england. They always have something that slips and lets you know the author isn't british but nothing is ever ..."

I agree with you; I lived in England for five years while working on my Ph. D. degree, and people back in the US were asking about my dissertation, while I was responding about my Thesis! When in Rome...... this also applies to punctuation. Do it consistently: I now see people in US writing with period (full stop) after the quotation marks instead of inside them. The former is correct in UK, the latter in US, ALWAYS!

As an aside, I did volunteer myself once to be the American who found British-isms in a professor's books; the example that comes to mind now is "the penney dropped," which I noted that no one from USA would have a clue what that meant.


Sherry Stevens Amy wrote: "The Britishisms did not bother me at all - I hardly noticed them over the annoyingly repetative phrases and the "inner goddess" babble."

Both annoyed me greatly. She should have stuck what she knew, maybe it would have been a better book but I doubt it. My "inner goddess" wished I could have read this in book form rather than on Kindle so we could have had the satisfaction of throwing it away when we were done.


Megan Amy wrote: "The Britishisms did not bother me at all - I hardly noticed them over the annoyingly repetative phrases and the "inner goddess" babble."

The Inner goddes, mutter etc wanted me to pull my eyes out. But the "Britishisms" didn't bother me either. When I was in high school I use to read British mags so I was kind of use to it.


message 28: by Sadie (last edited Oct 18, 2013 04:43PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Sadie Mills I think what irked me most was this "spiralling" business... I'm not sure I ever "spiralled" in my life - I felt like I was missing out - Ana seems to do it at the drop of the hat. Boringly so.

I'd have liked the inner goddess so much more if she'd given her a pet name. Like Muriel...


Sylvie A.J. wrote: "I just read the kindle sample last night...and I must admit I find the British vocabulary distracting. It would have been less distracting had it just been set in England...or make Ana an English ..."

Somebody Emailed me this. Check out the Amazon link: it's even funnier! And, it's actually useful!

Fifty Shades of Chicken A Parody in a Cookbook by F.L. Fowler

Plus, this was on Huffington Post this morning. Swallow your coffee before clicking!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10...


Raine Sylvie wrote: "A.J. wrote: "I just read the kindle sample last night...and I must admit I find the British vocabulary distracting. It would have been less distracting had it just been set in England...or make An..."

I just read these. Had me laughing at loud :)


Tiffany Callan As a Brit i find the same problem in A LOT of american written novels, we read these books and think....really?! is that what the author thinks British people say/do/think.


Paula The British grammar is glaringly evident in the books. I agree with the person who said that making the setting American, helped American readership. Americans love when they are written about.


back to top

all discussions on this book | post a new topic


Books mentioned in this topic

Fifty Shades of Grey (other topics)
Fifty Shades of Chicken: A Parody in a Cookbook (other topics)