Skip to main content

This Writer’s Life: A Letter for America

By April 11, 2015July 3rd, 2018Guest Blogs, Language

Okay America what has the letter U ever done to you, to be treated so poorly? You barely pronounce it in aluminium, only use it once in humour (US translation – Humor) and have completely dropped it from colour (US translation – Color). The list goes on labour, flavour and neighbour.

I know it’s in the unfashionable part of the alphabet, but that’s no reason to ignore it. Yes, it did come across the Atlantic with us Brits, but honestly it had nothing to do with all that tyranny that was going on at the time. It was just an innocent bystander between the O and R. I understand that words are the first casualty of war, but isn’t it time to forgive the letter U and return it to its rightful place?

I know us Brits could just as easily drop the U but it is already the least used of the vowels. In wildlife terms it would be an endangered species, like a rare and beautiful butterfly living on the outskirts of the Amazon (the one without dot com after its name). There are more English speakers in the United States than the United Kingdom so the natural habitat of the letter U has already been greatly diminished, it just wouldn’t be right for us to make it worse.

Now normally this wouldn’t bother me (have you seen how the French spell colour and don’t even get me started on the Chinese version) however, recent events have brought it to my attention. Amazon (the one with dot com after its name) allows you to have five tags (words or phrases attached to your book) to allow potential readers to find your book through their search engine. For British readers I had to use the spelling humour and for American readers I had to use humor. That meant I had one less tag to use and had to drop one. So now I’m sitting here with sleepless nights convinced somewhere in the world someone is looking to buy a book using the phrase ‘a complete cornucopia of hysterical delights.’ Will they find my book? No they won’t.

So come on America please return the U to your humor. If you slip it into your writing every now and then it will make a difference, if not for you then do it for your children.

David Bowen is the author of the Hell on Earth series of novels.

Hell on Earth Review
The Eleventh Plague Review

Leave your vote

One Comment

  • Tim Nelson says:

    Blame Noah Webster. At least he didn’t get them to spell “soup” as “soop”, like he wanted.

Add to Collection

No Collections

Here you'll find all collections you've created before.