Criticise or Criticize (+ Criticised & Criticising)

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Danielle McLeod

Danielle McLeod is a highly qualified secondary English Language Arts Instructor who brings a diverse educational background to her classroom. With degrees in science, English, and literacy, she has worked to create cross-curricular materials to bridge learning gaps and help students focus on effective writing and speech techniques. Currently working as a dual credit technical writing instructor at a Career and Technical Education Center, her curriculum development surrounds student focus on effective communication for future career choices.

Why are some words in the English language spelled with a -z or an -s when they are the same word? Is one of them spelled wrong?

The answer to this is no; they are not spelled wrong. Both are correct, but generally, one highlights the common American English spelling, while the other is a popular British English spelling.

There are quite a few examples of this you may have come across, but one of the most commonly used pairs is criticize and criticise. If you are wondering which is which and when to use them properly, no fear; we are here to help answer your questions.

Criticize vs. Criticise: What’s the Difference?

Criticize vs Criticise Ngram
The Popularity of Criticize Over Criticise in English Speaking Countries

Criticise and criticise are the same word which means to highlight the failings in a disappointed or disapproving tone. The word can also be used to analyze something specific, such as a written piece of work or art.

Criticize and criticise are examples of a group of words spelled with a “z” in American English and an “s” in British English.

Criticise is the original spelling adopted into American English, upon which the -s was replaced with a -z to create a more phonetic spelling. Today, criticise is still commonly used in countries that use British forms of English, but criticize is the more popular spelling worldwide.

How to Use Criticize

httpsgrammarist.comspellingcriticize or criticise

Criticize is a transitive verb, which is a verb that takes an object. It means to enumerate faults or failings in a disapproving fashion. To criticize may also mean to analyze something, such as a work of art.

Related forms of the word are criticizes, criticized, criticizing, and criticizer.

For example:

  • Her mother criticized her choice of friends after she caught them trying to sneak out after curfew.
  • He asked if he could criticize my artwork, and I gladly accepted his offer so I could apply new techniques to my next work based on his suggestions.
  • The instructor’s criticizing of her portfolio left her feeling like she was never going to get it right. At the very least, she wished he had provided the feedback she needed to improve.

How to Use Criticise

Birtish English Criticize vs Criticise Ngram
British English Criticize and Criticise Usage Trend.

Criticise is the preferred British spelling of criticize.

Related forms of the word are criticises, criticised, and criticising.

For example:

  • I need you to criticise this essay for me before I type it up and turn it in.
  • I didn’t ask for you to criticise me! I asked for you to provide helpful direction!

Remembering the Difference

Since criticize is the most popular spelling in all English-speaking countries, you can easily default to this spelling choice if you are unsure of which spelling to use. The American spelling is related more to the true pronunciation of the word, making it easier to remember.

Let’s Review

Criticize and criticise are the same word. Criticize is the American spelling that replaces the -s of the older British version with a -z to make it sound as it is pronounced. Although the British version is still used, the American version is more popular worldwide.

The word means pointing out the faults in something, often used to show disappointment or discontentment. However, it can also be used in a way that is conducive to improvement.

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