“Just as a matter of interest, may I enquire about the reasons for amending words such as characterised to characterized and emphasise to emphasize?”Naturally, being aware of the leading role played by Oxford University Press in the maintenance of the highest standards of written English, he had taken great care to make sure that, in his spelling of verbs, the English "-ise" form was deployed rather than the American "-ize". Why then had his spellings been changed?
I asked this very question of the same publisher in 2003, when the same words – and others – were changed in the same manner. The response I received was that "-ize", rather than "-ise" was the Oxford University Press house style. When I objected that OUP was an English publisher but that this was an American style, I was curtly informed that it had been the OUP house style before the United States existed and that the publisher saw no reason to change it.