January 29, 2021

What did Oxford do to deserve this?

Like most writers I know, I’m no fan of the American ‘z’ spelling: analyze, specialize, maximize, and all the rest of them!


Regrettably, it seems that there is an excuse for this – what the technical writing team here refers to as the Oxford z, since the use of ‘ize’ spellings is part of the house style at Oxford University Press! The word ‘realize’ surfaced in the OED 1611, yet the first recorded use of the ‘-ise’ spelling does not appear until 1755 – more than a century later! However, today the more common UK spelling of words such as these is ‘ise’.


While it seems that either convention is acceptable in British English, the important thing is to be consistent.

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