Sunday, 8 March 2015

To -ise or not to -ize

Gielgud as Hamlet
People have become very grumpy about the use of -ize.

We always spell several common words as follows:

advertise, advise, arise, chastise, circumcise, compromise, despise, devise, disenfranchise, enterprise, excise, exercise, franchise, improvise, incise, merchandise, revise, supervise, surmise, surprise, televise.

It is not true that -ize reveals an American usage, as it has been frequently used in British English for centuries.

Those who want to be super-pedantic claim that -ize should be selected in cases where the classical Greek verb deployed the -izo ending.

As far back as the thirteenth century we find examples of usages such as baptize.

My preference is to use -ize. What's yours?


 Dr Ian McCormick is the author of The Art of Connection: the Social Life of Sentences and 11+ English   



1 comment:

  1. To muddle matters further, you could observe Canadian English which is a partial hybrid of British and American English and has evolved separately with it own particularly Canadian vocabulary (as shown in the Canadian version of the Oxford Dictionary). Having said that, my preference is to -ize as that's been the standard for me living here for the last 33 years.

    ReplyDelete