What would you call it?

Every once in a while an editor will ask an author to change a word that is not commonly used in the US, at least not to their knowledge. This has happened to me a few times.

Recently a fellow Canadian author was asked what “squares” are, as in the woman put cookies and squares out on the table. The author’s NY editor had never heard the term, and I was amazed how many other American authors hadn’t either.

So… I thought it would be fun to find out what each of you call things in your neck of the woods. I hope you’ll chime in in the comments and be sure to let us know what state or province or country you’re from.

1)  Squares_Cookbook

Here in most parts of Canada that I’m aware of, we typically call goodies that are baked in a 8 by 8 or 9 by 13 inch pan and cut into squares “squares”, unless of course it’s cake. How about you?

2) glass of popImage courtesy of chayathonwong2000 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Where I live (Ontario) we call flavored carbonated drinks as pictured above “pop”. My editor asks me to change it to soda or soda pop. To me soda is plain carbonated water. Ick! Unless of course it’s cream soda…the pink pop. Mmm. I hear that Southerners call it all coke whether it’s coke or not. What do you call it?

3)  runnersIn one of my manuscripts I called the shoes pictured above running shoes. My editor wasn’t familiar with the term and suggested tennis shoes as an alternative. To me, tennis shoes are those flat canvas shoes with no arch support that no runner would ever wear. At the time, the other word we commonly call them–runners–escaped me. I think I changed it to sneakers, which I’d never call decent running shoes. What do you call them?

4) girl_with_backpackImage courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’ve never used this in a story, but here we’d call it a knapsack or backpack. My British parents would call it a rucksack. I’ve run across other names for bags women use in books that I have no idea what they are. What would you call this bag? Are there other “bags” that heroines in your area would more commonly carry?

5)  couchI’d call this a couch, although in my novels I call it a sofa, because I thought that’s what my editor would prefer. Except I just thumbed through a book written by an author from Colorado and she calls it a couch. So…now I’m really curious. My grandma would call it a settee (at least the old fashioned, fancier kinds). In shows, I’ve also heard them called chesterfields and davenports, which I suspect were earlier manufacturers…haven’t taken the time to google it. 😉 What do you call it?

6) Person_leapingImage courtesy of sattva at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Lastly, how would you say the past tense of leap and of dive. Her heart leapt, or her heart leaped? I’d say leapt. Interestingly, it isn’t in the US dictionary on Word, however, it is in the British dictionary on Word. Likewise, would you say “He dove into a pool” or “He dived into a pool”? I’d say “dove”. But my most recent copy editor changed them to “dived”.

Your Turn: Please let us know where you’re from and what you’d call items 1 to 6. Feel free to share other things that you call something differently than you commonly see in American published books.