There are some key differences between spellings for American English words like authorization and British English words like authorisation. Let’s look at the differences between the spellings and why each one is used differently.
Should I Use “Authorisation” Or “Authorization”?
Authorisation should be used when writing in British English. Authorization should be used when writing in American English. British English recognizes both spellings, while American English only recognizes it with a “Z.”
The meaning of “authorization,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is to give something “official permission for something to happen, or the act of giving someone official permission to do something.”
Both spellings have the same meaning.
Is “Authorisation” Or “Authorization” Used The Most?
Let’s look at which of the two spellings is used the most through English literature.
If you refer to this graph, you’ll see that “authorization” with a “Z” is the most common word and spelling. That’s because it works for both British and American English, while “authorisation” only works for British English.
Is “Authorisation” And “Authorization” Used Differently In American English And British English?
We can take the previous examples a little further and look at the individual usage of spellings between American and British English.
Let’s start with this graph, showing us how American English uses the words. As you can see, American English only uses “authorization” for the most part. “Authorisation” is seen as a typo and complete mistake, and they don’t recognize it as an official word.
However, if we look at this graph, showing us the usage in British English, you’ll notice that the words are much more even. Both are recognized as official words in British English and are interchangeable.
In British English, the original spelling was “authorisation.” Over time, that spelling has adapted to pick up the more Americanized spelling with the “Z” in place of the “S.”
Do Australians Use “Authorisation” Or “Authorization”?
Australians (and most other countries that speak English) follow similar rules to British English rules. That means that they also use “authorisation” as the main spelling but recognize both spelling variants.
Both spellings are acceptable in Australian English, and it’s up to you which one you prefer to use.
If I Am Not From An English-Speaking Country, Should I Use “Authorisation” Or “Authorization”?
If you’re not from an English-speaking country and still plan on using the two words, it’s up to you which one looks best.
Generally, non-English-speaking countries adopt British English spelling practices to keep standardization with the rest of the world. This means that both forms are correct, just like in British English.
While “authorisation” is considered the more correct spelling of the two, “authorization” is an Americanism that’s slowly taking over the other spelling in popularity. It’s up to you which one you prefer to use when you’re talking to native speakers.
Generally, most speakers will accept either spelling. However, if you’re speaking to Americans, then you best stick to using “authorization” as they don’t recognize the other spelling.
Examples Of How To Use “Authorisation” And “Authorization”
Let’s go through some examples of the two words being used, as well as ways that the spelling variations come up if we change the form slightly.
- I need to give you authorization before you go through.
- I need your authorisation code.
- I can authorize your card to let you in the building.
- You should authorise this with your manager.
- I’d like this authorized when you get the chance, please.
- This should be authorised as soon as it’s given.
As you can see, all of these examples show the two different spelling variations across multiple forms. In all cases, the “S” and “Z” are interchangeable for British English, while the “Z” is the only option in American English.
What Is The Difference Between “Authentication” And “Authorization”?
We use the words “authentication” and “authorization” to a similar degree. However, they don’t mean the same thing, and it’s important to understand the difference before you accidentally use the wrong form while you’re writing.
Authentication means the process of verifying who somebody is (by identifying them with documents or other means). Authorization means the process of verifying what a person has access to (like using codes or scan cards to get into private rooms or buildings).
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.