Content » Vol 88, Issue 2


Commentary: Question about the English in Acta Dermato-Venereologica

I am a PhD student in Dermatology and have a question regarding the use of -ise/ize endings in scientific writing in Acta Dermato-Venereologica and in medical journals at large. I have consulted several dictionaries and word-spelling programs in this matter and noticed that they differ in their recommendations for British English. In Acta Dermato-Venereologica you consistently seem to use -ize as the choice of ending. Is there a general rule for the use of -ise/-ize endings in British/American English, or is it possible to use both variants?

Sofi Forsberg

Department of Medical Sciences

Dermatology and Venereology

Uppsala University

SE-751 85 Uppsala, Sweden


Use of ‘ize’ / ‘ise’ endings

Use ‘z’ spelling for all words ending in ‘ize’, ‘ization’ (e.g. organize, prioritize, mobilization), except for the following words, which are always spelt ‘ise’: advertise, advise, apprise, arise, chastise, circumcise, comprise, compromise, demise, despise, devise, disguise, enterprise, excise, exercise, expertise,  franchise, improvise, incise, merchandise, premise, reprise, revise, supervise, surmise, surprise, televise, treatise.


• Words derived from the Greek with the letter zeta in their suffix take ‘ize’ in English.

• Words derived from Greek words with the letter sigma in the stem always take ‘ise’ in English, e.g. disguise, chastise, compromise, excise. ‘ise’ is also used when the verb is the same as a noun in ‘ise’, e.g. exercise, surprise, disguise.

Use of ‘yse’ / ‘yze’ endings

For verbs such as analyse, catalyse, paralyse, British English uses ‘lyse’, but US English uses ‘lyze’, e.g. analyze, catalyze.

Ann Kelsall, BSc, Medical Copyeditor

Oxford, UK