8 responses to “The ‘ise’ have it”

  1. Ingrid

    Hi Tim,
    I don’t think it’s a matter of right or wrong it’s what people are familiar with and what the norm becomes. I’m doing a MA TESOL and we have to use ‘ise’ due to corpora have shown it is more common in British use than American. Dictionaries including OED are made up from the findings of corpora.

    BNC (British National Corpus) and ANC (American National Corpus) have shown ‘ise’ is more prominent in British use and ‘ize’ more prominent in American use. Hence the belief it is American. The reason why academia will say use ‘ise’ as it is seen as the standard use in Britain Now if you degree your degrees through American uni then the standard use is ize Funny enough the corpora showed British people use ellipsis in spoken English far more than Americans (60% usage compared to 30% usage, Longman’s Grammar of Spoken and Written English, 1999).

    Dispelling somewhat the common belief that Americans are more laid back in everything and British maintain the stiff upper lip – can’t break form no matter what I have decided, like you, that what is required to keep my grades up will be done, hence if ‘ise’ or ‘ize’ ‘-our’ or ‘-or’ is to be used I’ll use whatever necessitates .

    We can choose own method when done or what it country requires . Most TESOL jobs in Asia prefer native British teachers YET prefer American standards as that is most seen in business apparently.. go figure …

  2. Jonathan Goldsmith

    Nicely written article Tim. And I bet I know the name of the salesperson who said “customers always lied”

  3. Chris

    Now this is very useful; thank you so much, Tim! What would you make of related examples, like ‘organization’ vs ‘organsation’, or ‘defence’ vs ‘defense’ etc. Are they indeed country specific or is the situation similar to the ‘izes’?


  4. Gail

    Customers are very funny about spelling. Particularly obtuse is their spelling of ‘wrong’ in phrases like ‘the customer is always right’.

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