-ise or -ize?
If -ise is the standard spelling in Australia, why even consider –ize?
In American spelling, -ize is the standard. If you want to communicate with US readers, as well as many English-using Asian people, -ize goes further round the world.
If I use –ize spellings, my Australian readers will think I’m an American writer!
The Oxford Guide to Style recommends –ize as the default, and it’s foregrounded as the primary spelling in Oxford desk dictionaries, except in Australia and New Zealand.
If your style is to use –ize spellings, it’s on you to remember all the exceptions like advertise, compromise, exercise, which should be all spelled with –ise in line with their French originals.
English doesn’t always keep etymological spellings in borrowed words. What about French borrowings such as “colour” from couleur, “music” from musique, and many others altered in line with English spelling patterns?
The spelling -ise comes easily because s is a much commoner letter in English than z, as every Scrabble player knows.
The letter s is overworked in English spelling, and has to represent two different sounds: /s/ in house but /z/ in houses and all other plural endings, from fleas and flies to cities and countries.
Adult readers don’t pronounce the words they read one by one. The spellings are simply visual cues to the meanings of words and phrases.
True, but it’s easier for second-language learners of English when there are regular correspondences between spellings and sounds.
The more inclusive “rule” is that words like advertise, compromise, exercise, generalise, hypnotise, idolise and all the others can be spelled with –ise, whatever their origins or their pronunciation.
OK – You’ve got me. If –ise spellings cover more words in the English language than –ize, it must be good for both second- and first-language users of English. At least in the southern hemisphere…