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Should the adjective 'advertised' be spelled with a Z in American English?

This Google search returns Advertise vs advertize - Grammarist as its first search result:

In a rare show of solidarity, both British English and American English spell advertise with an s in all forms.

On the other hand, subsequent search results say things like,

Either spelling is correct. The spelling “advertise” is the British spelling whereas the spelling “advertize” is the American spelling of the word.

My use case, in case it matters, is to use the word on a web site for non-technical American users ... I want the spelling which is least likely to give pause as looking like a spelling mistake.

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  • Incredible: At the Free Dictionary site, the American dictionaries don't, but Collins does, give 'advertize' as a legitimate variant. So (1) they're both acceptable by [some] authorities / reasonably minded Anglophones; (2) the -ise variant is generally more in favour (most dictionaries prioritise the usages they find are most common). However (3) You can't please all of the people all of the time. Aug 8, 2016 at 11:04
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    PS The terms 'American English' and 'British English' might be considered useful on occasion, but tacitly imply (in the strongly suggest sense) that everyone in the States for example does it the same way / has to do it the same way. This is far from being true (and in my opinion would be far from desirable). Aug 8, 2016 at 11:21
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    (Don't advertize it, but sometimes US and UK spellings are the same.)
    – Hot Licks
    Aug 8, 2016 at 12:07
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    @Edwin: I gave up bothering about this one years ago, when I realized there's no consistency in this matter on either side of the pond. (If there's no spell-checker involved, I pretty much make it up as I go along these daze! :) Aug 8, 2016 at 12:09
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    Whatever you may have heard to the contrary notwithstanding, it is very unusual for Americans to advize, despize, comprize, compromize, exercize, or advertize.
    – Sven Yargs
    Aug 13, 2016 at 0:44

1 Answer 1

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Use advertise.

My spell check is set to American English, and the z spelling appears with a red line. That's not a good start.

To verify this, I've used Google to compare the results for each spelling. I searched for "adverti_ing" dollars, since I figured that of the time people say dollar, they mean the US dollar.

Advertise

  1. A magazine company (its rating is boosted by the fact "dollars" is in the URL)
  2. A JSOR article on advertisement in US presidential elections from 2014
  3. A PDF of the front page of said article
  4. A radio station looking for advertisers

Advertize

Note that Google asks:

Did you mean: "advertise" dollars

Results:

  1. Second Life Online game forum
  2. An energy company. URL uses advertise, content uses advertize
  3. Probably spam. (It's not even an American forum) Not a good sign for spelling.
  4. A law book... from 1897

(These results may be different for you — they are mostly different for me after several years too. In fact, this question is the number one result when I do the second search. But it still works as evidence towards the same conclusion.)


Looking at the two sets of results, advertize doesn't look very good. At best, it looks like a term that might have been acceptable 100 years ago. Advertise brings in recent, reputable publications. Google autocomplete also shows that other people use the word in searches, while searches for "advertize" are either confused over the spelling or looking for antiques.

Google NGrams agrees with this; advertise is the most popular:

Z spelling is about 0% while S spelling is between .0001% and .00035%

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  • If it helps, the OED, where standard BE would use "-ise", usually uses the "-ize" spelling as the only or first choice. However, it only gives "advertise". Additionally, Webster's 1828 Dictionary (webstersdictionary1828.com/Dictionary/advertise) also gives "advertise", and this was the dictionary that introduced American spellings.
    – Greybeard
    May 20, 2020 at 12:05

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