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Emphasize vs. Emphasise

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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? Continue reading to find out.

Emphasize as verb:

Emphasize is used as a verb in English language where it 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.

Emphasize also means to lay stress on (a word or phrase) when speaking.

His father emphasized the wrong words in his sentence.

The third meaning of emphasize is to make (something) more clearly defined.

She bought a hip-length jacket which emphasized her shape.

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. However, within the last 100 years or so, emphasize has replaced emphasise in British English as the predominate spelling.


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)

Use of emphasize:

Emphasize has been the preferred American English spelling of the word for over 200 years, but the same cannot be said for British English.


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

“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)

Emphasise or emphasize:

Emphasise and emphasize are two spelling variants of a verb that means to highlight the importance of something. Historically, emphasise was standard in British English, but today, emphasize is more common in both British and American English. Emphasize shares its Z with Zurich and Zanzibar, two places which exist in the modern world. Since you are writing in a world which includes these places, you should also include the word emphasize in your writing.

Remember, you can always reread this article any time you need a quick refresher on the meaning of these words.


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"Emphasize vs. Emphasise." STANDS4 LLC, 2018. Web. 23 Feb. 2018. <>.

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