This article from The New Yorker offers food for thought about how American writers tackle British dialogue and vice versa. When British Authors Write American Dialogue, or Try To I've just subscribed to the linguistic blog mentioned in the article, run by Lynne Murphy, as I love words. I've set several of my stories in America, and though I have a reasonable idea of American speech patterns and word usage from having lived in Georgia for three years, I still make mistakes. I'm halfway through writing a second novella set in the post-American Civil War known as the Reconstruction Era. Language use is problematic for me as an author on several fronts, including historical, regional terms (do I use phonetic pronunciation?) and what has become known as political correctness. The term African American wasn't current then, but the inflammatory 'N-word' abounded. I made a simple error when my protagonist visited a general store for supplies, yielding to the temptation of buying some 'boiled sweets'. Reading through the manuscript while editing, I wondered if that should be 'boiled candy' and checked online to find that indeed it should. Of course, I already knew that 'sweets' were 'candy' in America, but I'd never heard the term applied to the boiled variety when I lived in Atlanta. It's irritating when authors make elementary mistakes, such as I've found in several crime novels written by British writers and set in America. I gave up on a thriller set at Cambridge University, written by a keen Anglophile American whose enthusiasm didn't compensate for many linguistic errors. It's said, that with the internet offering access to so much information, including video tours of streets and buildings, that an author doesn't need to visit them to write convincingly. All the same, in recent years, several bestselling novels were criticised for shoddy research with the author having no personal experience of the region, including John Irving's A Son of the Circus and Stef Penney's The Tenderness of Wolves. John Irving was terrified of terrorists, while Stef Penney suffers from agoraphobia, so researched the Canadian wilderness in cosy London libraries. One of the many strengths of the Colony is that we can help one another out with different cultural habits and linguistic usage. Have you noticed any howling errors in your reading or your own writing?