I finally got around to doing the corrections I needed to do on my new novel (the one I wrote last year......currently being ignored by several agents). They weren't particularly major things, for example, I used the word "highway" instead of "motorway". The former is not British, apparently. Growing up in South Africa, my English is littered with what appear to be Americanisms. Decades of living in the UK seem to have made no difference. Once the idiom is grooved in, you're stuck with it.
One of my (very well educated, intelligent and sharp-eyed) beta readers spotted that I had left out the "of" in thousands of cases: "out of the" instead of "out the." Horrified at my bad English, I rushed off and changed them all. But as I was changing them, I began to have serious doubts. In many cases, it didn't scan properly. It didn't sound right to my ear. It seemed clumsy. More importantly, it was contrary to the way I "think." While I'm willing to Anglicize highway, "out of the" - in many cases - just seemed wrong.
So I asked a friend with decades of editing experience and he said he'd had the same problem when editing and had at first changed them all to "out of the", only to realise that it must be an Americanism. THIS I can understand. South African English (at least at the time that I grew up there) is full of Americanisms, the most obvious reason being that during the Equity ban, we got to hear no good English i.e. all BBC programmes were banned and those that did turn up on TV were dubbed into Afrikaans, which was excruciating.
So today I changed all the instances of "out of the" back to "out the." It was enough to drive anyone bonkers! Obviously I still say "out of the blue" but I don't say "she looked out of the window" or "she walked out of the door". I checked online to see what others make of this problem and one person insists you can't have anyone falling out of a tree or even out a tree - they fall OFF a tree. I think all the people I know who have fallen out of trees would probably disagree with that!
In the end, I decided to go with consistency. And fluidity. And the familiar. After all, it's not a work of high literature - other readers didn't notice the lack of "of" at all!!