Gersnippet for the gersticklers – z or s?

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How to Spell Civilisation?

I was taught that ‘civilization’ was just the american way of spelling the word and thought you could write it with either an ‘s’ or a ‘z’ is this correct?

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I am British…

3 years ago

Best Answer – Chosen by Voters

The whole debate about “s” or “z” being British or American is a popular misconception. In fact, words which have a Latin root were originally properly spelt with an “s”, and words with a Greek root took a “z”. Especially since the decline in teaching of Classical languages, this is such an arcane piece of knowledge that people tended to attribute the differences to American and British spelling conventions instead.Either spelling is acceptable in virtually all cases. English has no hard-and-fast rules, only conventions and good style. So help yourself.Civilisation, incidentally, has a Latin root (“ciuilis” “of the citizen”), but “civilization” is absolutely fine.

  • 3 years ago

Blog Author comment:

I particularly found the comments funny… people getting fundamentalist, haughty etc about what is “right” and “wrong” spelling.  Interesting though.  So now we know.


2 thoughts on “Gersnippet for the gersticklers – z or s?

  1. The s – z is not a misconception at all. It is a fact that more Americans use the z in various words which are more often spelt by Brits with an s, Even the Word spelling checker is set to zap the s unless one switches out of American English.
    The voters were idjits.

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