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Realize vs. Realise

The words Realize and Realise might sound the same, but have different meanings and different spellings. In this Grammar.com article, you will learn the differences between these two confusing words.

She realized her mistake after it was too late.

Or is it realised? Have you ever wondered what is the difference between realise with s and realize with a z? Today, we’ll explain the real difference between the two words with different examples and try to elucidate your confusion once and for all.

Realize and realise are the two variants of the same word which is a verb and means to understand something clearly or become aware of something clearly.

Alice typed all the data and then realised that she was given the wrong document.

In this example, realise is implied to define the awareness Alice gained after typing all the data that the document was wrong.

Realise is also used as a verb to give real or actual form to something. Or to cause something to happen.

Her worst fears were realised when she opened that door.

Another usage of realise as a verb is to make profit out of a transaction. It is further utilized to describe the sale of something or conversion of an asset to cash.

The company realised a fat profit out of the deal.
The paintings were realised for a million dollars.
He realised all of his assets for his mother’s treatment.

This must have cleared up the different meanings of the verb realise but you must still be pondering when to use which realise? There is no specific answer to this question. The most important thing to know is that both the spellings are acceptable in all English communities.

You must have heard about the differences between American English and the British English. Realize is one of the victims of these differences.

Realize:

Realize with a z is the American way of writing this verb which means to become aware of or bring something into being. It is the ancient form and date back to early 17th century.

If it comes together, Concord could help banks streamline cumbersome operations, lower the costs of maintaining them, and realize billions of dollars in savings. –The Wall Street Journal

Realise:

Realise with s is most widely used in British English and British writings. It was adopted later by some communities and later on these spellings dwelled.

For the first time in my life I realised that sport actually makes sense and that the dedication and training are worth it. –The Irish Times

Now comes the main question; when to use which? Well, it all depends on your audience, origin and preference. If you are an American writing for global audience, you will prefer to write realize with a z, however a British national writing for global audience will use realise with s. If you are specifically writing for American audience, then regardless of your origin or preference, you will have to use realize with a z. If the case is otherwise, an author writing for British audience should use realise with s. If you are not a native English speaker and you are writing for your community which is non-English, then you can use any one in your writing but make sure that you use the same spellings throughout the writing.

Realise or realize:

To put it shortly, realise and realize are both acceptable alternatives for the verb which means to become aware of or bring into being. The only difference in them is their predominance in different English speaking communities. The American English makes use of realize with a z whereas the British English makes use of realise with s. The decision of choosing one should depend upon your audience, preference and origin.

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