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idea or ideal? Bristolians have particular difficulty
distinguishing between these two because
of the intrusive Bristol ‘l’. These exemplar
sentences should help:
Your IDEA is brilliant.
This is an IDEAL spot for a picnic.
His IDEALS prevent him from eating meat.
indexes or indices? Both are acceptable plural forms of ‘index’
but they are used differently.
Use INDEXES to refer to alphabetical lists
of references in books.
Use INDICES in mathematical, economic
and technical contexts.
inter-/intra- The prefix INTER- means between or
among (e.g. international).
The prefix INTRA- means within, on the
inside (e.g. intravenous).
-ise or -ize? Most words ending with this suffix can be
spelt -ise or -ize in British English.
American English is more prescriptive and
insists on -ize whenever there is a choice.
House-styles in Britain vary from
publisher to publisher and from
newspaper to newspaper. (You may have
noticed that in this book I favour -ise.)
When making your choice, bear these
two points in mind:
” These nineteen words have to be -ise:
advertise, advise, apprise, arise,
chastise, circumcise, comprise,
compromise, despise, devise, disguise,
enfranchise, excise, exercise,
improvise, revise, supervise, surprise,
” Only one verb of more than one
syllable has to be -ize: capsize.
(One syllabled verbs like ‘seize’ still
need care, of course.)
Whatever you decide, be consistent within
one piece of writing and be consistent
with derivatives. If you use ‘realize’ in
one paragraph, you must use ‘realization’
and not ‘realisation’ at another point in
the same piece. If you use ‘sympathize’,
then you must refer to ‘sympathizers’ and
not to ‘sympathisers’ elsewhere.
Many authorities prefer to use -ize when
there is a choice. In practice, many
writers prefer to use -ise because this
choice is relatively trouble-free.
The decision is yours!

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