Specialise vs. Specialize: What's the Difference?
"Specialise" and "specialize" are the same in meaning, referring to focusing on a specific area, but "specialise" is British English, while "specialize" is American English.
"Specialise" and "specialize" both mean to concentrate on and become expert in a particular subject or skill. The primary difference lies in their usage across different forms of English. "Specialise" is commonly used in British English, while "specialize" is the preferred spelling in American English.
In terms of pronunciation, "specialise" and "specialize" sound the same. Both words are derived from the Latin word "specialis," meaning "particular" or "distinct." This etymological root is a common factor in both spellings.
Both "specialise" and "specialize" are verbs. Their usage in sentences is interchangeable, with the only distinction being the regional preference for spelling. For example, academic and professional texts in the UK will predominantly use "specialise."
The suffixes "-ise" and "-ize" in "specialise" and "specialize" respectively represent a common divergence in British and American English spellings. This pattern is seen in other words like "realise/realize" and "organise/organize."
Despite their spelling differences, "specialise" and "specialize" have the same grammatical applications. They can be used in various tenses and forms without any difference in their meaning or function in a sentence.
British English spelling
American English spelling
Commonly used in the UK and Commonwealth
Predominantly used in the United States
Uses the suffix "-ise"
Uses the suffix "-ize"
Pronounced the same as "specialize"
Pronounced the same as "specialise"
Same as "specialize" in all grammatical forms
Same as "specialise" in all grammatical forms
Specialise and Specialize Definitions
To focus on a specific subject or skill.
She decided to specialise in pediatric medicine.
To gain expertise in a specific field or subject.
He specialized in 18th-century English literature.
To become increasingly proficient in a particular area.
He chose to specialise in maritime law.
To focus on a specific area of study or work.
She chose to specialize in neurology.
To tailor services or products to a particular customer or need.
The firm decided to specialise in bespoke furniture.
To cater specifically to a certain market or demographic.
The company specializes in high-end audio equipment.
To adapt or evolve for a specific function or environment.
This species has specialised to survive in arid conditions.
To develop unique features or skills for a particular role or environment.
The plant has specialized leaves for capturing sunlight efficiently.
To restrict oneself to providing a particular product or service.
The bakery started to specialise in vegan pastries.
To limit one's business or activity to a particular area of expertise.
After years of expansion, the restaurant decided to specialize in Italian cuisine.
Standard spelling of specialize
To pursue a special activity, occupation, or field of study
A doctor who specializes in cardiology.
Devote oneself to a special area of work;
She specializes in honey bees
This plumber specialized in jacuzzis
To provide something in particular or have something as a focus
The shop specializes in mountain-climbing gear.
Be specific about;
Could you please specify your criticism of my paper?
(Biology) To become adapted to a specific function or environment; undergo specialization.
Suit to a special purpose;
Specialize one's research
Become more special;
We specialize in dried flowers
Evolve so as to lead to a new species or develop in a way most suited to the environment
Do "specialise" and "specialize" have the same pronunciation?
Yes, both words are pronounced identically.
Do "specialise" and "specialize" have the same grammatical usage?
Yes, their grammatical usage is identical.
Are there any spelling variations of "specialise/specialize" in different English-speaking countries?
Yes, "specialise" is preferred in the UK and Commonwealth countries, while "specialize" is preferred in the US.
What is the origin of "specialise/specialize"?
Both come from the Latin "specialis," meaning "specific" or "distinct."
Can "specialise" and "specialize" be part of compound words?
Yes, they can form compound words like "specialised/specialized training."
Can both "specialise" and "specialize" be used in various tenses?
Yes, both can be used in different tenses without any change in meaning.
Are there other words similar to "specialise/specialize" with regional spelling differences?
Yes, words like "realise/realize" and "organise/organize" follow similar patterns.
In academic writing, should I use "specialise" or "specialize"?
It depends on the preferred English form of the institution or publication.
Are "specialise" and "specialize" interchangeable?
Yes, they are interchangeable but used in different forms of English.
Is "specialize" acceptable in British English?
"Specialize" is less common in British English but is still correct.
Is the meaning of "specialise" and "specialize" different in professional contexts?
No, they have the same meaning in all contexts.
Can "specialise" be used in American English?
While not standard, it can be understood in American English.
Can "specialise" and "specialize" be used as nouns?
No, they are strictly verbs; the noun forms are "specialisation" and "specialization."
Are there any exceptions to the rule of using "specialise" in British English and "specialize" in American English?
Generally, no; these are the standard forms in their respective versions of English.
Are there any synonyms for "specialise/specialize"?
Yes, words like "focus," "concentrate," and "expertise" can be similar in meaning.
Can "specialise" and "specialize" be used in informal contexts?
Yes, they are appropriate for both formal and informal contexts.
Do "specialise" and "specialize" have any different connotations?
No, they carry the same connotations in all contexts.
Is it common to see "specialise" and "specialize" in business language?
Yes, both are commonly used in business and professional language.
How do I know whether to use "specialise" or "specialize"?
Consider the regional English you are writing in; use "specialise" for British English and "specialize" for American English.
Is it incorrect to use "specialize" in a British English document?
It's not incorrect, but "specialise" is the preferred form in British English.
Written bySara Rehman
Sara Rehman is a seasoned writer and editor with extensive experience at Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Information Technology, she combines her academic prowess with her passion for writing to deliver insightful and well-researched content.
Edited bySawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.