Organisation vs. Organization: What’s the Difference?

There was a time in history when the Americans and the British saw the world very differently. At one point, Americans decided they wanted a distinctly American form of English, with more sensible spelling conventions and a more practical vocabulary.

Whether or not that has actually happened is still a matter of debate. Either way, this linguistic movement generated an abundance of words which are spelled differently in British and American English, but which nevertheless carry identical meanings.

Organisation and organization are two such words. One is used in British English, and the other is used in American English. Continue reading to learn which is which.

What is the Difference Between Organisation and Organization?

In this article, I’ll compare organization vs. organization. I’ll use each one in a sentence. Then, I’ll give you a helpful trick to remember whether to use organisation or organization in your writing.

When to Use Organisation

Define organization and organisation mucousWhat does organization mean? Organisation is the British English spelling of this word. As a noun, it usually means a group of people with a common purpose.

There are many types of organisations, as you can see from the examples below.

  • I am being fined by the homeowner’s organisation for not mowing my lawn.
  • Kelly is part of a political organisation that reaches out to citizens who don’t regularly vote.
  • Abernathy was part of many student organisations in college, but he never attended any meetings.
  • The US nuclear base at Incirlik is a key part of western defences; were Turkey to leave the organisation its loss would be a serious blow. –The Telegraph

However, in a more general sense it can mean the quality of being neatly or sensibly arranged.

Here are even more examples,

  • Alicia’s desk reflected an internal need for organisation.
  • Blake’s CD collection could use some organisation.

When to Use Organization

Definition of organization definition What does organization mean? Organization is the American English spelling of this word. It can be used in all the same contexts as organization.

You should stick to organization when writing for a primarily American audience.

  • The news organization was known for its objective reporting.
  • The average member of the public may have little idea that any of this is going on, but the Francophonie organization takes the issue so seriously that no sooner does one Olympics end than it starts negotiating the terms of the next one. –The New York Times

Trick to Remember the Difference

Definition of organisation versus organizationIf you don’t think you can keep this straight, here is a helpful trick for remembering organization vs. organisation.

Organization is used in American English communities.

Organisation is used in British English communities.

You can remember that organisation should be used in the U.K. since it shares an S with the towns Salisbury, Sandwich, and Sheffield, all of which are located in the U.K. By thinking about all the U.K. cities with names that start with S, you can remember to always use organisation in the U.K.

Summary

Is it organisation or organization? Organisation and organization mean the same thing.

They are alternate spellings of the same word, used primarily in British and American English, respectively.

  • Organisation is the correct spelling in British English.
  • Organization is the correct spelling in American English.

You can remember which is which by keeping in mind all the U.K. cities that start with S. If the above list isn’t memorable enough, it could also include the towns Saxmundham, Sawbridgeworth, Stratford upon Avon, and Skelmersdale, all of which are located in the U.K.

If you’re still having trouble remembering whether to use organization or organisation, you could always default to organization as well. It is common in both communities. Between these two strategies, you should never have to worry about misspelling this word in your writing.