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Emphasise vs. Emphasize

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  Angbeen Chaudhary  —  Grammar Tips

Throughout your writing career, you will need to highlight important points and focus on the most salient aspects of the topic of your writing. Strong writing emphasizes important things and spends less time on less important things. But should this word be spelled emphasize or emphasise? Consider the examples below:

The politician emphasized the importance of his economic plan by waggling his hands about as if he were playing an accordion.

“This mascara will emphasize the natural color of your eyes,” cooed the mascara salesperson.

Emphasize as verb:

In English language, emphasize is used as a verb which means to give special importance or value to (something) in speaking or writing.

They emphasize the need for daily, one-to-one contact between parent and child.

To lay stress on (a word or phrase) when speaking is also called emphasize.

His father emphasized the wrong words in his sentence.

To make (something) more clearly defined is also known as emphasize.

A hip-length jacket which emphasized her shape.

Use of Emphasize:

Some people use makeup to emphasize their facial features, and many writers use strong language to emphasize their feelings on a particular subject. Emphasize are the American spellings of the verb and are used by Americans.


“We need to de-emphasize race. And we need to emphasize respect,” Carson told reporters after the private tour with the mayor and a discussion with community leaders. (The New Pittsburgh Courier)

“When I got here, I was ready to go,” she said, snapping her fingers to emphasize her hurried pace. ” (The Chicago Tribune)

Entelo’s may emphasize people with a large online footprint; SAP’s might prefer those who best match characteristics of people who were hired in the past. –The Wall Street Journal

Use of Emphasise:

Emphasise was at one point the predominate spelling in British English. In this sense, it followed other American-British spelling differences, such as organization-organisation, realize-realise, baptized-baptised, and others.


FIRST Lady Esther Lungu has appealed to global health leaders to emphasise the importance of women’s health. (The Zambia Daily Mail)

LET me emphasise that never have I hidden my utmost respect for Tony Abbott as both a person and a prime minister, nor will I now. (The News Mail)

“It is one of the few terms that people remember from history classes that does not involve hard power . . . and it’s precisely those positive associations that the Chinese want to emphasise,” says Valerie Hansen, professor of Chinese history at Yale University. (The Financial Times)

Lenexa business owners emphasize healthy food choices, and being green (The Kansas City STar)

Emphasise or Emphasize:

Emphasise means to stress the importance of something, to define a portion of an idea or narrative as having greater value than other portions of the idea or narrative. Emphasise is the British spelling, related forms are emphasises, emphasised and emphasising. Emphasis is the noun form. Emphasize is the preferred American spelling. Related words are emphasizes, emphasized and emphasizing. The American spelling is gaining acceptance around the world. Emphasise and emphasize are examples of a group of words that are spelled with a “z” in American English and with an “s” in British English. Emphasize is borrowed from the Latin an emphasis, meaning appearance, show.

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