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Recognize vs. Recognise

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  Angbeen Chaudhary  —  Grammar Tips
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Recognize and recognise are the two spellings of the same word that are both acceptable and exchangeable but one spellings are more commonly used in one part of the world while the others are common in the other. To differentiate between the two spellings and find out when to use which, keep reading the article as it will describe it in detail along with the origin, meaning and examples.


The word recognize originated from the late Middle English (earliest attested as a term in Scots law): from Old French reconniss-, stem of reconnaistre, from Latin recognoscere which means ‘know again, recall to mind’, from re- ‘again’ + cognoscere ‘learn’.

Recognize as verb:

Recognize is used in English language as a verb where it means identify (someone or something) from having encountered them before; know again.

I recognized her the moment her wig fell off.

Identify from knowledge of appearance or character is also recognize.

Pat is very good at recognizing wild flowers.

To acknowledge the existence, validity, or legality of something is also called recognizing.

The defense is recognized in British law.

Recognize is also to show official appreciation of; reward formally.

His work was recognized by an honorary degree from Glasgow University.

Officially regard (a qualification) as valid or proper or grant diplomatic recognition to (a country or government) is also referred to as recognize.

Recognize vs. Recognise

These qualifications are recognized by the Department of Education

Recognize or recognise:

Recognize and recognise are the two spellings of the same word described above. British English lists an alternate spelling as recognise, but the main entry is recognize. North Americans (yes, that includes Canada) prefer the ize spelling, and this is accepted everywhere. However, outside North America some prefer the ise spelling and it is not incorrect. This spelling change goes across all derivatives including: recognizability, recognisability, recognizable, recognisable, recognizeably, recognisably, recognizer, and recogniser.


But on April 15, the European Parliament joined Vatican City and 22 other nations in recognizing the Armenian genocide and called upon Turkey to do the same. [The Boston Globe]

“We had some really strong performances last year (at the galas), but maybe the recognizability factor (of the hosts) wasn’t as strong.” [Winnipeg Free Press]

When the UN General Assembly voted to recognise the newly born Jewish state on November 29, 1947, Greece abstained. [The Jewish Chronicle Online]

The update adds features such as hands-free actions, always-on apps, WiFi support and an emoji recogniser, all of which will help Android Wear devices like the LG Watch Urbane and Moto 360 compete with the Apple Watch. [The Telegraph]

Tipping the scales at almost half a stone, it is a weighty book, literally and figuratively, and one that provides valuable illumination on the question of what exactly it is that makes a garden recognisably Irish. [The Irish Times]

When to use which?

If you live in England or some other British country, or are writing content for British audience, you should use recognise. If however, you live in America or are writing an article for American audience, you should use recognize. 

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