Thread: S/z
View Single Post
Old July 01, 2010, 07:13 AM
Perikles's Avatar
Perikles Perikles is offline
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Tenerife
Posts: 4,814
Native Language: Ingl├ęs
Perikles is on a distinguished road
Originally Posted by irmamar View Post
I know that those words written with "s" are British, although I know that they can be written wit "z" in British English as well.

Another question: if I had to write several words like those in a text, would it be important (gramatically) if I wrote some with "z" and some with "s"?
There is no clearly correct answer to this question because we don't have grammar police.

The long answer for BrE is that all these words are derived from the Greek ending -zein, so any word taken directly from the Greek can be s or z.

Words taken from French, however, who have systematically adopted the s for the Greek zeta, have a compulsory s in English: advertise, advise, apprise, arise, chastise, circumcise, comprise, compromise, demise, devise, disenfranchise, disguise, enterprise, excise, exercise, franchise, improvise, incise, merchandise, prise, revise, supervise, surmise, surprise, televise.

The short answer is that nobody really knows, so do what you like, except I think it would look odd if mixed in a sentence. Select one or the other, but don't mix.
Reply With Quote