So I was writing a document for a piece of coursework and I started to struggle for the right words when I found this:

  1. You can spell 'maximise' as opposed to 'maximize'.
  2. The word 'maximalize' exists, and is rarely spelt 'Maximalise'.
  3. You cannot spell 'minimalise' instead of 'minimalize'.
  4. 'Minimize' and 'minimise' are there too, relative to 'maximize' and 'maximise'.

And so, I was wondering which is the 'more correct' way of expressing something to be made minimal / maximal, and what difference does using Z's instead of S's make?

I have searched all of these and it seems very debatable, sometimes some of these words are corrected and other times they are not.

  • 1
    3 is wrong: you can spell "minimalise". Any word with the suffix -ize can be re-spelled with -ise (but people generally expect an author to be consistent, and essentially all writers/publishers from the U.S. always use the -ize variant). See Are the endings “-zation” and “-sation” interchangeable? and the other questions linked to that question – herisson May 18 '18 at 8:36
  • 1
    As a general rule -ize is American English, -ise is British English. – AndyT May 18 '18 at 8:40
  • As contemporary British usage @AndyT. The Pocket Oxford Dictionary I had at school has no "-ise" spellings of this sort. – David May 21 '18 at 12:29
  • @David - Oxford prefers -ize, apparently because it's closer to the Greek root. This has always confused me, as my understanding of the OED was that it recorded language as used, rather than attempted to define it. – AndyT May 21 '18 at 13:28

Typically, the notation with "z" is used in US English print and media, whereas the notation with "s" is British English.

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