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Seb Anthony

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To Z or not to Z ?


I am in the process of re-writing my website and would like to hear the views of TZ.

When you search for materials, resources etc do you use exclusively UK or US spellings - i.e. organisation or organization?
Does seeing a 'z' put you off?

I get quite a lot of interest from the states so would like to have a single site rather than the current .com & (easier & cheaper to manage).

Over to you…
Mike Morrison

Mike Morrison

10 Responses

  1. UK or US?
    Hi Mike

    Personal preference only, but I always anglicise anything that uses US spelling. Partly because I like consistency, and partly because I hate to see all the words underlined in red when I use US spellings, and I don’t want to turn that feature off!

  2. international or UK
    Hi Sue
    thanks for your view.

    What do you use when searching on the net – s z or both?


  3. S or Z
    I use ‘s’, but that’s because I just type the keywords as I spell them. Not really thought about using alternative spelling. I’ve just put organisational development into google and it asked me if I meant organizational, so I suppose that would prompt you to check both


  4. Keep the S!
    At the risk of sounding like a consonant snob, If I was dealing with a UK company I’d expect to see an s rather than a z. I obviously wouldn’t base a decision on that alone, but probably would request that if you were doing any powerpoint or handouts you put in an s.
    Apologies if that drives you nuts, but you did ask!
    all the best,

  5. to z or not to..
    Nikki – a snob of course not!

    I usually use the s myself HOWEVER have doscovered recently that there are a lot more tools and resources if I use the Z – that just prompted me to ask – as I wonder how many people only use one without the other and miss out on valuable resources.

    In terms of presentations etc – for me it is ‘s’ every time (unless the client wants to think it is the latest US thinking ūüôā

    Mike MorriZon

  6. Whatever works…
    For the search engines etc. I’ll use either or both depending on the functionality of the engine and if I need additional results.

    But I always use the anglicised spelling in materials when presenting to an English audience – spelling does bother some people, and it’s not that hard to keep it right using a word processor with spell check.

    Having said that, the flip side of the coin is that if I wanted to Americanise (ize), my material I’d just flip the spell check to American English and change all the highlighted words in about ten minutes. That’s the great thing about spell checkers.

    As for the website, assuming that one is just a copy of the other but with spellings changed for audience – it should take no real time to maintain the two sites (a few minutes with the spell checker before publishing content would do it) and it shouldn’t cost any real amount more – hosting from oneandone (for example) would cost you a whacking ¬£1.99 + VAT every two years to maintain an additional on top of the .com.

    And if that were to bring you one additional client then the effort would pay dividends easily.

  7. to z or not to…
    Thanks for your comments.

    Updating websites that are database driven are not that easy to do if they are ‘shadow’ sites.

    If it was plain text I would agree – but it is about all resource files held, questions on surveys, keyword lists etc. If only a spell checker would do all of that!

    It looks like I am going to have my software programmer come up with an innovative solution!


  8. S every time!
    I consistently use S – to the extent that I’ll go back and deliberately delete any Zs that have got in there or any Us that have escaped from behaviour etc.

  9. Using a ‘Z’

    Depends who you are aiming to work with. If I had some work for our UK employees and saw the ‘z’ it might put me off. However as I work for a multinational company, it using the ‘z’ would imply more of global mindset than using an ‘s’.

    Hope this helps


  10. The ‘ise’ have it – Or do they?
    For many years I used -ize, given that the OED used to state the following: “You will be safe if you make every verb, every derivation noun or participal adjective conform to the -z type, for this suffix comes, whether direct or via Latin or French, from the Greek -izein: to employ -ise is to flout etymology and logic. Moreover, whether the spelling be -ise or -ize, the pronunciation is -ize: another reason for using it.”

    In the early years of the decade, pressure from clients caused me to revert to the -ise form – for an easy life!

    Interestingly, I’ve recently completed a book on organisational (organizational) change in which the publisher has requested the use of American spellings throughout. So not only has -ize replaced -ise, but the likes of program (for programme) and catalog have also taken centre (center) stage.

    Sadly, perhaps, the bulk of the world’s English-speaking nations no longer look to the UK for guidance on how to use English ‘correctly’.


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