Customise vs. Customize

One famous dilemma in the English language is whether to use of s or z in verbs. Many fear that either customize or customise is incorrect. Or they might have different connotations.

Is it customised or customized? Customisation or customization? Find out how to properly use these words to become a better writer!

In the U.S. and Canada, it’s customizecustomizedcustomizingcustomizationcustomizable, etc. Outside North America, it’s customisecustomised, customisingcustomisationcustomisable, etc. Customize is a mid-20th-century American creation, so the spelling is the original.

How is Customize Spelled in the U.K.?

British English spells customize as customise with an s. Outside North America, it’s customise, customised, customising, customisation, customisable, etc.

The word is so new that some dictionaries, including the main British ones, have yet to recognize customise etc., but that spelling is now very common in all sorts of texts from outside North America. In recent British news stories, for instance, customise appears about 20 times for every customize. In Canada and the U.S., meanwhile, customize appears about 500 times for every customise.

What is the Definition of Customize?

Customize is a verb that means to build, change, or fit according to individual characteristics. You can customize your camera settings, Facebook profile, fast food meal, and anything else to suit your needs.

What is the Difference Between Customised and Personalized?

The difference between customized and personalized orders or items depends on who’s building, changing, or fitting. 

Personalization is the correct term if you use customer data to make changes. Customization is the right word if the customer changes the item independently.

Customization is explicit because the user controls the item they want to change, meaning they actively decide. Personalization is implicit since it takes place without the customer’s active participation.

In the end, both words aim to cater to the end-user, according to online dictionaries. And many businesses allow the combination of customization and personalization. Translations of customize don’t vary too much and are always a form of a verb.

How to Use Customize in a Sentence

Here are some examples of customize in a sentence format to help you better understand how to properly use the form of customize you need for your writing. 

  • The webpage has advanced options for customizing the text.
  • This new t-shirt company is like no other because it allows you to customize the designs.
  • Try customizing the settings if you want to receive weekly updates from the brand.
  • A good teacher customizes learning activities to different types of learners.
  • You need to pay for the additional charges if you want your wedding gown to be customized.
  • He thought it was a bad game because players were not allowed to customize the multiplayer experience.
  • I enjoy customizing my paintings so that my buyers will feel special. 

It Depends On Location!

Whether it’s customised or customized, customisation or customization, all spellings are correct but dependent on geography. You don’t need an advanced search to tell you that. A lot of words follow the spelling rule where British English uses s, while American English uses z.

Use customise for your British English audience, and use customize for American English and Canadian English readers. 


You might also be interested reading about authorise vs authorize.

9 thoughts on “Customise vs. Customize”

  1. I think that the “-ize” suffix is very well understood (actualize, fossilize, economize, moralize). It would be interesting to know how “customise” became popuar in British english.

    • Honestly, I think it’s probably because some Brits can be quite snobby about spelling and using a ‘z’ looks American. I guess it could also be the British way of claiming the word as their own. It’s probably as petty as that.

      • We just prefer the letter s over z for example Americans use organize while the UK and most of Europe use organise. It’s due to the fact that the creator of the US language as you know it Noah Webster changed the way you spell things to further remove the US from the UK language and using the letter z instead of s is one of them. It’s as petty as that…

    • It’s only understood in one area of the world ie the States. The rest of the world use the correct spelling which is ‘ise’. The American’s changed it when you created your ‘New World’.

      • I’m not from the States.
        I’m an Spanish native speaker, and in this language, this suffix is also spelled with z (-izar: estandarizar, fosilizar, economizar, etc). This suffix comes from latin -izare.
        I made a little research on google and it seems that this suffix is not as standard as I thought. In french is spelled with s (-iser: standardiser, fossiliser, économiser, etc).
        I think that US english has more spanish influence, since most America countries’s language is spanish, and -ize is preferred. While UK has more European (French) influence and -ise is also used.

      • ‘Bastardising Your language?’ Have you any idea how the English language came to be? It’s a language made up of many parts of many different languages as a result of so many different conquering nations that came in and ruled for a time. Thus, if you want to use that term, there is a strong argument to be made that the English language has, from its origin, been bastardized from other languages. Respectively, it doesn’t even remotely resemble any of the languages of the original peoples of what are today called the British Isles. We are simply pleased that the language is still evolving; and, with its global popularity remains a great source for the meeting of minds and peaceful communication between people everywhere.

  2. snore… the s spelling is prevalent in the UK but it isn’t official, and Oxford preferred spelling uses the z form for most verbs, the exceptions being the ones that come directly from the French or end in -lyse


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