I learn from school (in south east asia) that we use -ize, ex: vaporize, organize, etc. But lately, my word processor application and browsers started to suggest a fix for me: to use -ise, ex: vaporise, organise, etc. I can feel this has something to do with US English and UK English, but I can see all over the internet that people still mixing between -ize and -ise, so I don't know which one is actually the correct one, or if both of them are correct, which one is more mainstream and more widely used? I'm already used to use -ize, and feel weird when 'forced' to change into -ise just to silence the spelling errors warning, but I'm learning. I just want to know that I'm not learning something wrong before I internalise this into habit.
I am a native British speaker and have spelt words with the suffix -ise all the time and looking into the same question has made me realise — whoops, realize — that it's not as straight forward as indicated in the comments.
If you look at the (lower voted) answer by @DanielB in the ELU question linked in the comments, it is all about the formation of the English language and how it is used.
To the purists
The correct way to use the suffixes is to write:
- Organize or
- Vapourize (BrE) or Vaporize (AmE) is correct
A point of note though is that you cannot advize, but you can advise (whether American or British).
See DanielB's reference within The Conversation website for more on what I am saying.
Why did -ise override -ize in British English and Australian English?
The article in The Conversation points out that
we think it’s posh and extra proper to standardise everything and homogenise spelling, in ignorant denial of the history of language and its correct use. [Note: The author uses -ise to comply with the style guidelines for articles in The Conversation]
When to use -ize
As the article in The Conversation points out,
The suffix ize should be used for verbs that connote transformation; when something is turned into something else or grows or becomes something. Usually, you can recognise the form whenever there is a simpler version of the word that pre-exists.
Take the example from the article.
The spelling theorize is the correct spelling because
- we turn something into a theoretical condition, and
- a simpler word already exists: theory.
When to use -ise
The article in The Conversation covers this too.
If you cannot see either
- the process of transformation or becoming or
- a simpler word inside the longer form,
the correct suffix is -ise. It is the reason we must always write advise, comprise, demise, despise, devise, disguise, excise, improvise, incise, merchandise, revise, surmise, surprise.