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Realise vs. Realize

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2:30 min read
  Angbeen Chaudhary  —  Grammar Tips
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There are many spelling differences between American and British English. In some cases, the same word will be spelled one way in American English and another way in British English. There are times when this inconsistency is very confusing. Realize and realise fall under the same category and if you need to know the difference between the two spellings, keep reading.


The word realize originated in early 17th century: from real1, on the pattern of French réaliser.

Realize as verb:

The word realize is used as a verb in Englisg which means to become fully aware of (something) as a fact; understand clearly.

He realized his mistake at once.

To cause to happen is also known as realize.

His worst fears have been realized.

Realize also means to give actual or physical form to something.

The stage designs have been beautifully realized.

Use of realise:

Realise is the British spelling of this verb. It means to become aware of something or to bring something into being. When writing for British audience, make sure you use these spellings and stick to them in your writing.


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)

Realise vs. Realize

Next time you realise you’re sucking in your gut, don’t feel ashamed. [Guardian]

I realise I will still have to lodge a tax return but what will happen if I get a job? [Herald Sun]

Use of realize:

Realize is the American spelling of this verb. It can be used in any of the same contexts as realise. When writing for American audience, make sure you use these spellings and stick to them in your writing.


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)

They don’t realize they have to stay active to qualify for free flights or luxury items. [Toronto Sun]

Linus apparently didn’t realize he was talking to Natalie Portman at one point, and his wife asked Warren Beatty who he was.  [San Francisco Chronicle]

He has betrayed this realization in off-hand comments to Western intellectuals. [Wall Street Journal]

Realise or realize:

Realise and realize are two variants of the same word. One spelling is more common in American English, while the other is more common in British English. Since both of these forms are accepted somewhere in the world, neither is technically wrong. Still, any time you are writing, you should consider your intended audience. This principle extends to spelling differences, as well. You will want to use British spellings when writing for a primarily British audience, and American spellings if you are writing for a predominantly American audience. You can remember to reserve realize for American audiences since it contains a z, like Arizona. Arizona is in America, so it will be easy to remember that realize is preferred in American English.


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