'Apologize' or 'Apologise': What's the Difference?

By Shanea Patterson, updated on January 7, 2023

Have you seen the word ‘apologize’ spelled as ‘apologise’ and wondered which version of the word you should be using? And what is the difference? We’ll cover that in this article, plus teach you how to use the correct spelling in a sentence.

The quick answer is that ‘apologize’ is the American English spelling of the word, and ‘apologise’ is the British English spelling of the word. Both words are technically correct, but which one you use depends on where you live.

‘Apologise’ or ‘Apologize’? It depends on Where You Live

As you just learned, both words are technically correct to use. However, ‘apologize’ is the American English spelling of the word, and ‘apologise’ is the British English spelling of the word.

Therefore, if you live in America, you should use the version spelled with a ‘z.’

But if you’re in the UK, spell it with an ‘s.’

‘Apologise’ or ‘Apologize’: What’s the Difference?

The only difference between these words is the way they’re spelled and where it’s okay to use them. We know that the American version of the word is spelled with a ‘z,’ and the British English version of the word is spelled with an ‘s.’

Now, let’s quickly define the word, so we know how to use it in a sentence later.

Definition and Meaning of ‘Apologise’ and ‘Apologize’

You have a gist of what the words mean, but let’s define the words even further.

The Merriam-Webster definition of the word is: “to express regret for something done or said: to make an apology.”

A Brief History

The first known use of the word was in 1596. The earliest uses of the word typically meant “to offer an excuse or defense” more than it meant “to acknowledge fault.” The earliest record of its use is in the writing of Thomas Nash.

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce ‘Apologize’

Unsure of how to pronounce the word? Here’s a quick guide.

The word is pronounced like: UH-PAA-LUH-JIZE.

The ‘a’ has a short ‘u’ sound to it even though it’s an ‘a’.

It’s similar to words like:

  • Duck
  • Truck
  • Luck
  • Stuck
  • Up
  • Shut

The second syllable has a short ‘o’ sound. It’s similar to words like:

  • Hop
  • Mop
  • Tot
  • Pot
  • Lot
  • Cot

The third syllable sounds the same as the first. It has a short ‘u’ sound.

The final syllable starts with a ‘j’ sound and has a long ‘I’ sound. Other words that have the long ‘I’ sound include words like:

  • Light
  • Bike
  • Kite
  • Fight
  • Sight
  • Mine
  • Dime
  • Right

How to Use ‘Apologise’ and ‘Apologize’ in a Sentence

Take a look at some examples of how to use both words in a sentence.

  • I apologize if I hurt your feelings. I was having a really bad day.
  • Nowadays, we have to be careful what we say. Cancel culture is real.
  • I refuse to apologize when I did nothing wrong.
  • I apologize for giving you the wrong location for the photo shoot.
  • My co-worker needs to apologize for stealing my promotion right out from under me.
  • You should always apologize when you’ve done something wrong.

Remember, these words can be used interchangeably if your audience suddenly changes. You can swap out the American English spelling for the British spelling of the word anytime you need to because they mean the exact same thing.

Concluding Advice on ‘Apologize’ and ‘Apologise’

As you just learned, ‘apologize’ is the American English spelling of the word, and the other spelling is the British spelling of the word. They mean the same thing.

It might be tricky trying to remember British and American English spellings. That’s why we’ve created an entire library of content dedicated to explaining confusing words in the English language. For people like you learning the language.

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Written By:
Shanea Patterson
Shanea Patterson is a writer based in New York and loves writing for brands big and small. She has a master's degree in professional writing from New York University and a bachelor's degree in English from Mercy College.

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