Apologise Or Apologize – British vs. American English

18.09.23 British English vs. American English Time to read: 4min

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English is commonly used across numerous global regions. However, due to a range of geographic and cultural factors, two primary forms have developed: British English vs. American English. Each version has a unique vocabulary and slight variations in spelling. For example, “apologise” and “apologize” are two spellings of the same word. In this article, you will learn how to maintain consistency in academic writing.

“Apologise” or “apologize”

Both “apologise” and “apologize” are English terms that function as intransitive verbs. It is used to admit fault or to express remorse or regret.

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British English

apologise

Apologise or apologize US flag

American English

apologize

Both “apologize” and “apologise” are correct, but their usage depends on the regional variation of English:

  • “Apologize” is the preferred spelling in American English
  • “Apologise” is the preferred spelling in British English

Choose the spelling based on your intended audience or the standard of English you’re adhering to.

Note: Arizona is a state in the US, which is why it’s easier to remember the pronunciation of “apologize”. Both words contain a “Z”, making it a perfect mnemonic for you to remember.

Examples of using “apologise” and “apologize”

The forthcoming examples will elucidate the distinction between the verb “apologize/apologise” in British and American English.

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  • She had to apologise for her husband’s behaviour.
  • Anna apologises for arriving late to the tea party.
  • Max didn’t hesitate to apologise to his mum.
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  • She had to apologize for her husband’s behaviour.
  • Anna apologizes for arriving late to the tea party.
  • Max didn’t hesitate to apologize to his mum.

“Apologise” or “apologize” in the “-ing” form

The correct spelling in the “-ing” form would be “apologising/apologizing”:

  • British English: “Apologising”
  • American English: “Apologizing”

The ensuing examples will demonstrate the usage of these words:

  • She was busy apologising for the broken vase.
  • Melissa felt better after apologising to her little brother.
  • Apologising is important when you make a mistake.
Apologise-vs.-apologize-apologising UK flag
  • She was busy apologizing for the broken vase.
  • Melissa felt better after apologizing to her little brother.
  • Apologizing is important when you make a mistake.
Apologise-vs.-apologize-apologizing US flag

“Apologise” or “apologize” in the past tense

“Apologise/apologize” is spelled “apologised/apologized” in the past tense.

  • British English: “apologised”
  • American English: “apologized”

The word’s usage will be demonstrated through the following examples.

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  • She apologised for being late.
  • After realising her mistake, she apologised directly.
  • He apologised for the mistake he made.
Apologise-vs.-apologize-apologized US flag
  • She apologized for being late.
  • After realising her mistake, she apologized directly.
  • He apologized for the mistake he made.

“Apologise” or “apologize” as a noun

The noun for “apologise/apologize” is spelled “apology” for both.

  • British English: “Apology”
  • American English: “Apology”

The words will be demonstrated through the following examples.

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Examples 

  • The CEO issued a public apology.
  • Lisa realized she owed her an apology.
  • John offered a heartfelt apology to his friend.
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FAQs

In the UK, as well as in Australia, Ireland and New Zealand, “apologise” is the preferred spelling of the word.

Yes. The noun form for both is “apology”. It means to say/to be sorry.

Both are terms for saying that someone is or feels sorry. “Apologise” is the British variant, and “apologize” is the American version. Even in the British-English speaking community, however, “apologize” has been considered standard for a long time, while remaining more common until now.

  • British English: “apologise”
  • American English: “apologize”

“Apologise” or “apologize” (depending on the variant of English you are using) can have different meanings. Here are the most common ones:

  • To express/make an apology (because you are feeling sorry)
  • Acknowledge failings or faults
  • Make a formal defense in speech or writing
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