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The British spelling dictionary in OS X is customized to UK spellings, a very useful feature. However, the designers have made the unfortunate choice of only listing -ise endings for words such as advertise, customise, etc. Many Brits, such as myself, prefer the -ize spelling.

In Lion, auto correct keeps changing all my -ize spellings to -ise. Not what I want!

Can any of you suggest a clever way (perhaps a perl script?) to quickly add all -ize variants of corresponding -ise spellings to the local dictionary?

Note: the suggestion "switch to US spellings" is not acceptable!

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Interesting question... I was going to suggest using multiple dictionaries which would allow both spellings, but I believe it identifies the language of a paragraph and uses a single dictionary for that paragraph so you wouldn't be able to have -our and -ize in the same paragraph. –  g . Aug 11 '11 at 11:08

8 Answers 8

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I found a good-enough fix for this.

I copied the Oxford English dictionary -ize words from here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style/Spelling/Words_ending_with_%22-ise%22_or_%22-ize%22

and pasted them into

/Users/danbrowne/Library/Spelling/LocalDictionary

This seems like a fairly comprehensive list. Anything which is missing I can add by hand.

One remaining issue: Apple doesn't seem to be able to intelligently conjugate these words, but using copy-paste on the list (ize -> izes, izing, ized, etc.) sorted that out.

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Switching to Canadian English will sort the problem out, and seems to allow other British spelling variants, such as programme and connexion. I share your frustration: -ize is not an Americanism (although -yse is) but is standard British English (alongside the -ise variant) and preferred by Oxford on etymological grounds and by Yours Truly just because. It is also allowed in Australian dictionaries, but not in Apple's Australian English setting. Apple really ought to sort it out themselves--they're the ones who've got it wrong, after all. There doesn't seem to be anything I can do about it on the iPhone, however. This only allows 'English' or 'British English' (the cheek!), and the latter only permits -ise.

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Actually, -yse is not American at all. Words like paralyse, analyse, catalyse are spelled paralyze, analyze, catalyze by most Americans. –  tchrist Dec 18 '12 at 3:30

There is an Oxford style British dictionary available here.

You can download the bundle, extract the en_GB-oed.aif and en_GB-oed.dic files, and copy them into Spelling/Library. It will appear in the list of spelling dictionaries as "English (Library)".

Note though that this dictionary allows only -ize spelling, not -ise. You may find this annoying, or helpful in keeping a consistent style. Also, the dictionary is a bit old, and probably of slightly worse quality than the default British English dictionary.

I'm a new Mac user, so I ave minimal experience with this on OS X, but I've been using this dictionary for several years with Vim. Apart from a few words missing, it's very usable.

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"Advertize", "customize" and so on are simply wrong in British English. I'm afraid there's no way to make it allow incorrect spellings en masse -- you should choose an accepted standard that's in the dictionary and stick with it. Or if you just want to make up your own spellings (which is what it sounds like) then simply turn off spell check altogether.

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2  
The largest dictionary publihser in the UK uses -ize see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxford_spelling –  Mark Aug 11 '11 at 7:46
    
Ah, but I went to Cambridge university, which uses "-ise". –  Mike Scott Aug 11 '11 at 7:55
    
I thought that comment would come (I too am from the better place but use -ize) –  Mark Aug 11 '11 at 8:17
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Advertize is wrong in US English too! –  dan8394 Aug 15 '11 at 4:25
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Ironically, the British English dictionary provided in Dictionary.app is the Oxford Dictionary of British English, which does include all the -ize spellings. –  scottishwildcat Aug 15 '11 at 14:43

If you have “correct spelling automatically” on then you have the problem you describe. As an alternative you can activate “show spelling and grammar” and check spelling after you complete your writing and ignore any and all suggestions to replace “z" with “s".

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Have you tried Canadian English? I think it uses -our and -ize.

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Just tried it and it appears to use -our and -ise. –  g . Aug 11 '11 at 11:03
    
You're right, I should have tried it myself. I think the references I have seen say Canada actually prefers -ize. I wonder if the openoffice dictionary, which can be used in OS X, has it -ize. m10lmac.blogspot.com/2011/06/… –  Tom Gewecke Aug 11 '11 at 11:24

I guess you could try using grep from the command-line to get the list words ending with 'ize' from the US dictionary (in [/System]/Library/Spelling) and append them into user dictionary (~/Library/Spelling/LocalDictionary or ~/Library/Spelling/en_GB). This should do the trick.

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I don't see any English dictionary in my system/library/spelling or library/spelling –  Tom Gewecke Aug 11 '11 at 12:07
    
Yes - I don't either. There are Dictionaries in /Library/Dictionaries/ but these can't be used for auto-correct, because the British one does indeed include the -ize spellings! –  dan8394 Aug 12 '11 at 1:48

There is a very good solution for this that solves more than the -ise/-ize problem: enabling more than one English dictionary at a time: for example you can have spelling for English to accept both US and UK dictionaries.

Read this answer for details on how to set it up: http://apple.stackexchange.com/a/62551/1916

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This won't help keep a consistent style though. I had to rewrite an article from American to British or vice versa before. Having a consistent dictionary is essential. –  Szabolcs Nov 13 '12 at 15:06
    
That's for you, in this case add additional keyboards one for US and one for UK. –  sorin Nov 13 '12 at 15:11

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