I am confused every time when I am using these words, then using any one of them without knowing its difference. Can anyone help me how could I use these words in appropriate situation?

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    ... and numerous others closed as duplicates. – Edwin Ashworth Aug 14 '15 at 9:29
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    There's an ocean of difference -- the Atlantic ocean. – Hot Licks Aug 14 '15 at 12:42
  • There's no difference at all; there's only a different spelling. They're pronounced the same in both American and British English. If you speak RP, spell it with an S; if you speak American English, spell it with a Z. Anywhere else, use either. But be consistent. – John Lawler Aug 14 '15 at 13:53

The alleged American (-ize) vs British (-ise) usage tells an incomplete story, more on which can be found here: http://www.metadyne.co.uk/ize.html

Suffice to say that the z-form has a long history in English.

To summarise (ha!) my own experience: Whilst at the University of Cambridge in the mid 90s I would consistently rely on the z-form unless the word came directly from French, probably because my dictionary of choice through school was one printed by the Cambridge University Press, I don't know.

After a return to the UK after twenty years in an academic environment in the United States, I have reverted to the s-form, deliberately over-emphasising my Britishness.

Above all else, be consistent.


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