Since June is Pride month, and rainbow flags will be on display, I thought it would be nice to write about colors this week. Pride month celebrates the acceptance of sexual diversity and rights in the LGBTQ+ community.
I am a professional proofreader. But, that doesn’t mean I have memorized the spelling of every word in the dictionary. The English language is complicated, and there will always be words that you will have to look up unless you put your mind to memorizing. For me, that word is Fahrenheit. But, I also get tripped up on smaller words such as potato, fuchsia or misspelling “the” when I type too fast.
When I was pregnant, my husband and I struggled to find girl names. But one day, my husband came in from work and said, “What do you think about the name Gray?” I replied, “I like it.” However, I soon realized I did not know how to spell that name. Should her name be spelled Gray or Grey? Will this leave her explaining to people how to spell her name for the rest of her life?
Yes, my daughter will spend her entire life spelling her name for most people because the word “gray”, according to Google, is the most common short word Americans have trouble spelling correctly. In fact, Google ranked it as the most common word searched in Georgia when people put in “how to spell” in their search bars.
So, do you spell this color with an “a” or an “e”? We primarily use two forms of English: British English and American English. I believe if you use American English, the word “gray” takes the “a”. If you use British English, use “e”. Either way, you will not get punished for spelling it the way you like it. However, if you are an author, even if you like the look of “grey” versus “gray,” your readers will expect you to print “gray” if you are reaching an American audience.
Gray trips many people up, but so do other colors and words. Even the word “color” could be spelled “colour.” Both are correct. Canada uses British English and “color,” the American version, more frequently.
Here are some other examples of tricky spellings of colors:
- Blond, Blonde: Derived from when we initially adopted some masculine and feminine words similar to the French and Spanish. Blond is a French masculine term. Today, American English tends toward “blond,” whereas British English commonly uses “blonde.”
- Crayola uses the color licorice for their light black. Or should it be liquorice?
Oh, and then there are the dreaded homophones:
- Blue and blew
- Palate, palette, pallet (palette is the noun that describes the tool artists use to hold and mix paint colors)
- And sometimes it is just fun to be juvenile and say Jell-O instead of yellow.
At the end of the day, use the spelling you grew up learning in school.
However, when it comes to your career, whether you are a business professional or author, hire a professional proofreader. A proofreader will ensure your words are correct and easily understood by the native language the audience uses.
In addition, if you are a business professional, clean and polished writing helps improve credibility. If you are an author, you do not want readers to get caught up in spelling errors. You want them to have a smooth ride through your book, so they will recommend it to others and read more from you.
If you don’t tidy up your writing, your image could be in jeopardy. God forbid you write “travelled” instead of “traveled” if you are an American travel agent.
You don’t need a complete or long manuscript to need proofreading. Even a word or small paragraph on your home webpage holds the same importance to your image. For whatever reason you need proofreading help, I’m here for you. Contact me today https://rivetservice.com/contact-rivet-service/ to discuss how I can take the burden of writing, editing and proofreading off your plate and make you look as professional as you know you are.
Summary Notes on Color
Colors are powerful adjectives. Authors use them to bring scenes to life ranging from a simple adjective to a major book theme. Here are two examples of authors using color to enrich scene description:
“It was a place of brilliant sunlight, never undappled. Shafts of lemon-gold brilliance lanced down to the forest floor between bars and pools of brown-green shade; and the light was never still, never constant, because drifting mist would often float among the treetops, filtering all the sunlight to a pearly sheen and brushing every pine cone with moisture that glistened when the mist lifted.”
― Philip Pullman, The Amber Spyglass
“Soon it got dusk, a grapy dusk, a purple dusk over tangerine groves and long melon fields; the sun the color of pressed grapes, slashed with burgandy red, the fields the color of love and Spanish mysteries.”
Jack Kerouac, On the Road
Businesses choose certain colors to communicate brand identity. Every color has its connotation. I chose a red slash in the R in “Rivet” in my company logo to symbolize an editor’s red correction marks. But, red can be an aggressive color and may not be appropriate for other businesses.
Pride month fully displays the influence of color as a symbol. Pride month’s rainbow colors symbolize many things for the LGBTQ+ community and supporters. The prominently displayed rainbow flags have replaced other symbols that previously represented the LGBTQ+ community. In addition, the rainbow colors lit up the White House in 2015, representing same-sex marriage legalization.
Do you want more engaging words to describe your business, or need vivid descriptions to bring scenes to life? Adding color as adjectives, analogies or symbolism can improve writing.
Email me here: https://rivetservice.com/contact-rivet-service/ to start a colorful conversation if you have a comment or suggestion on how to use color or need help to improve your writing.