IN ADDITION TO CONSULTING THIS STYLE GUIDE, HERE ARE SOME RECOMMENDATIONS TO GET YOU STARTED:
- Turn your spell checker to British English.
- Ensure that the spell checker (set to British English) is consistent on Word, Outlook, Drive, ... etc.
- Install an online grammar checker such as 'Grammarly' (http://www.grammarly.com/) and set this to British English. The free version of this software is helpful in indicating grammatical inaccuracies. As with all tools, it is not perfect, and you will need to be its master and ignore its advice in some contexts.
- Consult the online Oxford Learner's Dictionary (https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/) to check spelling, grammar and punctuation not covered by this guide. When multiple spellings of a word are allowed in English - for example, 'focused' and 'focussed' are both considered correct spelling in British English - then use the first spelling in the Oxford Dictionary as the guideline (in this case 'focussed' is the first spelling given).
- Consult APA style guidelines for questions about formatting a text.
Decisions taken in this style guide are based on the standard usage of English in Britain and Ireland, called ‘British English’. This entails the use of British spelling but with the awareness that the presence of American spelling has an ongoing influence so be aware that many of the texts that you read in English use American spelling.
If for a particular reason, your text needs to be written in American English, the most important rule is to ensure that the spelling, grammar and punctuation are consistent with one type of usage.
BRITISH SPELLING in words such as: 'organise' 'organisation' 'realise' 'realisation'
We, at UT, use British standard English (without Oxford spelling). That means we spell words such as organise using the suffix '-ise'.
Standard British English spelling rules use the suffix '-ise' to spell words such as organise, realise and summarise. What is more, the spell checker on your computer, when set to British English, uses the suffix '-ise' to spell these words.
However, there are a number of exceptions to this spelling rule and this makes it particularly confusing.
First of all, note that American English uses the suffixes '-ize' and '-ization' to spell words such as organize and organization, so we often encounter this spelling in our reading.
But even more confusing: within the rules of British English, an additional exception exists. The Oxford Dictionary, for example, uses (as the first spelling) the suffix '-ize' to spell words such as organize, realize and summarize. This particular spelling with '-ize' is known as Oxford English (the Oxford Learner's Dictionary does also acknowledge the '-ise' spellings as correct, but does not place this spelling as its first spelling). Oxford English spelling, therefore, is an exception to the general spelling rules within British English.
For these reasons and for the sake of consistency and convenience, the UT English Style Guide advises the use of the -'ise' spelling of these such words:
capitalise capitalisation organise organisation summarise socialise realise realisation
Simply set the spell checker to British English and all of this will be taken care of.
As a final note: we do acknowledge that this particular spelling recommendation will continue to be confusing, inconsistent and contentious. Although some international organisations prefer Oxford spelling, the University of Oxford itself advises the use of the '-ise' spelling in its style guide, stating: 'We prefer ‘-ise’ as it is more common in British usage and requires fewer exceptions'.
University of Oxford Style Guide. "[PDF File]" Retrieved from https://www.ox.ac.uk/public-affairs/style-guide?wssl=