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Re: Typo.

On Sat, Feb 02, 2002 at 05:42:43PM -0500, Robert Dewar wrote:
> >>"optimised" is the correct British English spelling.
> This is a common misconception, but it is that, a misconception. While the
> 's' spellings are definitely standard in Australia, in England there is
> still considerably unclarity on this issue. In particular, the OED second
> edition lists ONLY the 'z' spelling and does not even recognize the
> possibility of the 's' spelling (optimise) as an acceptable alternative.
> It is indeed the case that many educated british writers use the 's' spelling
> and for example the Economist usually seems to prefer the 's' spelling (a
> fact implicitly recognized in the OED, since there is a quote from the
> Economist with the 's' spelling).
> So it is a bit over-reaching to say that optimise is wrong, whatever the
> OED says, but to declare that "optimise" is *the* correct British English
> spelling is also definitely over-reaching.
> The bottom line is that you should always use the 'z' spelling for all
> these words all the time, and you are then not wrong in either American
> or British usage.

Interesting. I remember my teacher telling it just the other way

> This is of course off-topic, but since documentation styles and rules are
> at least remotely connected, it is useful for people to know this. I often
> find that non-british writers are the most adamant in making the above
> claim (sort of like the French being adamant in stating that upper case
> letters do not have accents in French).

Probably because non-british writers learned it that way at school (at
least I did), and/or have to check a (British) dictionary. An extra
problem is of course that english spelling and pronunciation are
sometimes not even remotely connected.

Now let's start a disk vs. disc thread ;)


J.A.K. (Erik) Mouw, Information and Communication Theory Group, Faculty
of Information Technology and Systems, Delft University of Technology,
PO BOX 5031, 2600 GA Delft, The Netherlands  Phone: +31-15-2783635
Fax: +31-15-2781843  Email:

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