Why we’re not amused about the King’s English

A few weeks after taking office, His Majesty King Charles III wrote to Victorian Premier Emeritus Linda Dessau. Of course it’s about the flood. The state was in chaos. His tone was empathetic. heartfelt. Include the opening line for paragraph 3: “While I realize this emergency is not over…”

One reader didn’t find it funny. Last month, Samantha Chandler blew the whistle and reported the violation to my inbox. “Realized?! I had to read the letter more than once,” she wrote. “I’m interested in what you think about it, but I realize some people don’t think it’s a big deal.”

An outlier

An outlier “realization” in King Charles III’s letter to Victoria’s premier has been disheartening.Credit:Associated Press

“To zee, or not to zee?” As another restless prince once said. (Yes, zee is not King’s English, although apparently realizes that – with zed – it is.) “whilest” is used there, a more advanced version of while, which only the Monarch and Transport for NSW seem to prefer. Sydney bus passengers have long been warned: “Please do not speak to the driver while the bus is in motion.”

Going back to the King’s Letter, few realize that realize was a common spelling in Elizabethan England. Despite its French origins, “realiser” required only minor tweaks to create its English spelling, but the z option has been favored for more than a century. William Shakespeare, alas, missed the bus, and his plays and sonnets had no verbs, no matter how they were spelled.

Nathan Bailey was more helpful.a sublime word snoop, Bailey’s Common Etymology English Dictionary Appeared in 1721, where “realize” is defined as “to make real, to admit as reality”.Thirty years on, Dr. Samuel Johnson’s dictionary Builds on Bailey, although his vocabulary favors the s spelling.


I take this with a grain of salt, because Johnson uses realize passim, but somehow neglects to give the same verb an entry billing. Ironically, when you browse his dictionary, the chance between reaffirmation and reality is unrealized. That said, Johnson’s spelling is reminiscent of the French template that continues to skew the s-scales among British scribes and classrooms.

Not universally, as King Charles attests.Between Dr. Johnson and Boris Johnson, the realization lurks in such disparate sources as methodist temperance journal (1868) and Oxford’s serve the king (1882) and many other sources.

Jie did not die. At least in the UK, maybe it’s groggy. Across the ocean, however, Noah Webster combined his blue pencil with vim in the 1780s, turning gaol into jail, plow into plow, and every imported – The ise item became -ize. The Declaration of Independence (1776) provided a complete list of measures to achieve a “civilized state.” Didn’t realize, you know, but -ize won an American award.

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