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momatu in hp_britglish


Hello All!

I'm beta reading my first Harry Potter fic, and I just have a quick spelling question--stylized or stylised?  I have my spellchecker set to British English, but it didn't catch this.  Is this an either/or, or would it definitely be spelled with the -ised ending in British English?  The spell checker also didn't catch realized and suggest realised instead, so same question there.  It did catch a few missed American spellings like -or- instead of -our- and one "L" vs. two, but not these two with the -ise as opposed to the -ize.  Before I suggest the author change them, I want to make sure the should be changed.  She did a really good job with British spellings most places, just a couple American spellings that slipped in.

Thank you to everyone who replied for all your help and suggestions.  I believe I've replied to everyone, but the way it displays comments and replies makes it hard for me to be sure I didn't accidentally miss a comment and not say thank you.


Ize/ise is a very complex question, because modern British spelling normally uses -ise but some sources actually say that that's an ignorant misusage and that -ize is more correct, in British as well as American English. And there are some words which are always -ise even in the US (but stylize isn't one of them).
Thanks for you reply. Which spelling would you use naturally, do you think? She has -ise on a lot of other words, so I think I'm going to point out these few, and then she can decide if she wants to change them. Do you think someone would be more likely to use the -ise ending (or the -ize ending) universally, or sometimes one and other times the other, depending on the word?
Either stylized or stylised is fine, just as long as only one spelling per word is used in the fic! The OED actually goes with -ize in the case of stylized.

Personally I don't think British vs American spellings is really a major issue in fic, as opposed to word choice in dialogue in particular. But I can see that a writer who did care would want to get them all right!
It only matters imo when it affects the pronunciation, as with aluminum/aluminium and specialty/speciality.
Thanks for your reply. It seems kind of sometimes -ise, sometimes - ize then, depending on the word? Can I ask which spelling you would use naturally?

Ooh, bad word choice. Can I ask if there is a particular offender that gets under your skin? Do you mean something like using have gotten rather than have got?
Have gotten, to be done, go do - actual vocal and syntax differences between US and UK English. (Not that all of them are unknown in English - some formerly exclusive US phrasing is used here, and some was always used in certain dialects.)
Thanks for your response. Have gotten being a no-no was one I already knew, but to be done and go do I didn't. Would you not say something like, "There's so much work to be done," or "I have to go do something?"
Done meaning do is fine. Done meaning finished is very American - "I'm done eating breakfast" for example.

It's "go AND do", "go AND see", never "go do something".
The matter of verbal endings is rather confused, but I hope this little guide is useful: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/words/ize-ise-or-yse

Like others, I don't think this is a big deal, word choice and phrasing is much more important. My personal peeve is 'visit with' said by any of HP characters, though I don't have anything against the expression as such.
Thanks for your reply. Which spelling would you use naturally, do you think? She has -ise on a lot of other words, so I think I'm going to point out these few, and then she can decide if she wants to change them. Do you think someone would be more likely to use the -ise ending (or the -ize ending) universally, or sometimes one and other times the other, depending on the word?

Winces, what's wrong with visit with? Should it just be visit? I do think I'd naturally just say visit, but I don't think I'd think anything about visit with. Are there any other pet peeves you'd like to get off your chest? If those are the things that really get under British skin, it'd be really helpful to know.
Nearly sixty years ago in my schooldays I was taught to use "ize" in words that come from Greek, e.g. "Synthesize", but "ise" for the rest, e.g. "randomise". This was very elitist because only posh schools taught Greek, and partly for this reason we standardised on "ise".

To say "A visited with B" would mean that A went with B to visit someone else; it would have to be just "visit"

Other problem areas: in English English, to "wait on" someone means to "serve" for example in a restaurant; we would only use "wait for".

"Wash up" relates to washing crockery, cutlery, pots and pans, never oneself (either just "wash" or "wash one's hands". Alternatively, something left on the shore by waves. However, "all washed up" is a very old-fashioned expression meaning "finished, failed"

Over-use of "ocean". If it's not the Atlantic, Pacific, Arctic, Antarctic or Indian Ocean, I would use "sea" (in particular, the Mediterranean should never be referred to as "the ocean."
Fifty years ago I was taught to use 'ise' but then my school didn't do Greek. (To compensate, it was hotter on the sciences than most Girls' Grammar Schools at the time.)

I am not good at spelling, but this one did not cause me any trouble. I ran across the Greek/Latin rule for another set of suffixes (which my mind currently fails to recall) but because I had no damn idea whether a word had a Greek or Latin root I thought 'Fuck you, mate' and had to keep looking it up until the advent of the spell checker, possibly my favourite aspect of the technical revolution.
The time gap is about the time "ize" started to drop out of use - partly because the rule was so elitist and partly as a deliberate reaction against what was increasingly seen as an American usage
I've just remembered - my problem was whether a word ended ant or ent (or ance or ence.) That rule has to do with Latin or Greek stem too, so I rely on the spell checker,

I hate, hate, hate auto-correct.

Edited at 2016-08-23 10:52 am (UTC)
I can't see that: abundance and precedence both come from Latin.
-ant/ent is my spelling Achilles Heel.
Thanks for your response. I would say "wait on" was primarily to serve someone too, but I don't think I'd think it was wrong or strange if someone said "wait on" instead of "wait for." I can't hear myself saying it, though. If someone is running late, I'm waiting for them.

"Wash up" to me sounds very 1950's--a black and white sitcom mom telling her perfectly clean children to wash up before dinner. I'd say "clean up." I actually kind of think if an American uses it in an HP fic, they might be thinking it sounds British but not know they;re using it wrong.

Over-use of "ocean" might come from geography. Having oceans to both the east and west of the country, it's our go-to word.
I would just uniformly go for -ise/-yse and so I suspect does almost everybody else here, unless there is a particular reason to use the Oxford spelling.

Oh, nothing wrong with 'visit with' - it's just a very very American thing to say. In BrE 'visit' is only used as a transitive verb - to visit Bristol; to visit parents; I'll come visit (you) - and never to mean 'having a chat'. For example, there is a fic I like where Neville says 'We are going to visit with Aberforth' - and this is just a bit disorientating, something you are not supposed to hear from a British character in a UK location.

Lately I've been seeing 'copacetic' in a couple of fics and had the same feeling of disorientation. :) Other than that, there is 'fall' for 'autumn' - though I actually find the word poetic, in a UK-based fic it looks out of place.

ETA. Oh, and how could I forget 'going forward'? This one, I just hate, though I can't even blame it on AmE tbh, it's bloody everywhere...

Edited at 2016-08-23 09:30 am (UTC)
Thank you again for your reply. "Going forward" is another one I never thought about. I'm going to have a make a list. I can call it "Bloody well say This, not That!" Kind of like those Eat This, Not That lists for dieters.
It's also a matter of general style sometimes as much as britpicking. I read a fic once where Snape says 'going forward' and immediately had an unwelcome mental image of a suited and booted Snape making a presentation on quarterly projections of something or other in a sterile boardroom to a bunch of executives. With pie charts. Not good.
We don't graduate from school, only university (and "college" means something different; although confusingly it might be for 17-18 year olds, it might be for older students doing non-academic things, or it might be part of a university...)

And food. I dunno why, but US/UK differences in food-words are both really glaring to me and almost invisible to a lot of US folk.
I am pretty much used to 'graduate' by now and don't mind much, but the missing preposition grates when people write 'graduate Hogwarts'.
FWIW the missing preposition bothers me, and I'm American. It sounds strange.
Interesting, so that's not universal/normative? It is certainly common enough.

Actually, when I worked for a refugee charity some years back, I had an American colleague who used to say 'apply asylum'. This made me wonder if dropping prepositions is a thing in AmE generally, though I can't recall any other examples.
Assuming you mean "apply for asylee status", that sounds even stranger to me than "graduate college", enough that if I encountered it in the wild I would regard it as an error rather than a variation in usage.
Agreed - "apply asylum" sounds like a strange thing for someone to say, unless it might be kind of a "shop talk" thing. I can maybe see it in that sense.

"Graduate college" or "graduate high school"... I can hear myself saying that. I would never say "I graduated Meyers," though. "I graduated high school," maybe, but never when saying the name of the school.

Thank you for your reply
"Apply Asylum" sounds like an incredibly strange thing to say. Unless, might it have been some kind of "shop talk?" Kind of like a verbal shorthand between coworkers. Or maybe just in this person's mind and not agency-wide. Definitely not to the public, though. We do like to shorten everything. Getting through a day in my office can be like a box of Alpha Bits spilled all over the place.
My pet peeve Americanism is "go potty", which combines preposition-dropping with infantile language and makes me want to scream.
'Go potty', to me, means 'subside into insanity'.
That is the only meaning I would intend if I were to say it, but I've seen it used in the sense of "go to the toilet", which I (possibly irrationally) loathe.
For me it's what syntinen_laulu said. I never thought it was an Americanism, is it?
I have to encountered it on parenting forums to mean to go to the loo. (For me: fine in a small child context, when it's literally a potty, mildly horrifying if it's an adult using it as a euphemism for going to the toilet.)
I know language varies and no version is objectively right or wrong, but I really hate the use of "potty" to just mean "toilet" generally, rather than the small freestanding thing for babies and toddlers.
Not in that sense, no, but I have heard it used in an American context to mean "go to the toilet".
'Write someone' is one that always gets to me.

Brits always write TO someone, writing someone sounds like you're an author!
Ah yes, that's another dropped preposition. I knew I must have forgotten something.
I agree. I don't think it's an American English vs. British English thing--it's just wrong.

Edited at 2016-08-23 11:06 pm (UTC)
As others have said, both are correct. Most people and, indeed, most publishing houses, use 'ise'. However, the Oxford University Press went with 'ize' right from the beginning, and insisted that it was the only one that was correct, As they publish the Oxford English Dictionary, this got into print and Oxford Scholars tend to insist on the 'ize'. (It also made it into an episode of Morse where the titular hero lectured his sidekick on the subject and naturally went with 'ize'

The OED has modified its stance, though it still prefers 'ize'. Most other folk continue to ignore that and use 'ise'. Just be consistent. By the way, what does Rowling use?

RE: "By the way, what does Rowling use?"

I found "paralysed" and "realised" on my Bloomsbury copy of GoF, so that's probably what Rowling uses. The Scholastic copies all go with -ize.

The spelling differences between British and American English actually *do* catch my attention whilst reading and can put me off a bit. But that's just me, someone who is incredibly nitpicky, especially considering English isn't even my first language.

Edited at 2016-08-23 06:15 am (UTC)

Re: "By the way, what does Rowling use?"

Thank you for your response. It catches my eye as well, and I'm American. American spellings and words stick out a mile to me when I'm reading an HP fic--at least the ones I'm aware of, of course. There are tons (I mean loads) I don't know are Americanisms that I make in my own writing.
Thanks for your reply. I can only speak for the American versions, which isn't at all helpful in this case, but they have -ize. Pretty much all of the British English got lost in translation. I wouldn't normally be in favor of that, but since the books were originally intended for a child-aged audience, it makes sense.