• Lindsey McCaffrey, Writer, Editor

Cottage, Cabin ... or Something Else? Word Choice and Regional Differences

Same language does not always mean same vocabulary

You know that cute little house in the woods?

The rustic, oftentimes romanticized one, usually nestled by a lake?

The place where people like to relax, read, sleep, and drink beer on weekends?

And have campfires? Make s'mores? Maybe even swim or ski?

I call it a cottage ... but that's not necessarily the "right" word

My English-speaking friends and family members in and around eastern, southern and central Ontario also call it a cottage.

And apparently, so do folks in Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia.

But not everyone does.

Same country, same language ... different wording

While researching about cottages for an client article, I learned that English-speaking folks across Canada call it:

  • a cabin in Newfoundland, British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan;

  • camp in Northwestern Ontario; and

  • the lake in Manitoba (as to whether the building must reside by a lake to be called "the lake," I have no idea).

Lesson learned: always consider regional differences!

No matter the country, it is absolutely critical to consider the following when developing content for them ...

Even if your audience speaks the same language, they may not all use the same vocabulary.

And it's worth taking the time to understand these small nuances and communicate in your audience's vernacular.

Why? Because by demonstrating you understand them, this can go a long way in appealing to their heads, hearts and - hopefully - their wallets.


Get smart, strategic, clear PREMIUM content for your organization or business! With 20 years of expertise, Lindsey McCaffrey is an award-winning writer, editor and content strategist specializing in website content, case studies, industry and annual reports, article writing, white papers, direct mail and more. Contact Lindsey today to discuss your custom content needs.