Judgement or Judgment?

By Maeve Maddox

Reader John Moss wonders about the spellings judgement and judgment. His Word application flags judgement as an incorrect spelling, but when he searches the word online,

both judgement and judgment occur with seeming equal frequency. Is one English and the other American? What a bother! If both are OK, I guess I could update my dictionary by adding the ‘judgement’ spelling – but doing so might lend assistance to spelling inconsistencies. You’re probably going to tell me this is a ‘judgment call’, but I’m still wondering why the two spellings.

Yes, I’d have to say that judgement is British spelling and judgment American, but in the early twentieth century when H. W. Fowler was writing his influential book on usage, the spelling judgment was evidently being used by a lot of British writers. According to Fowler “modern usage” favored judgment.

Nevertheless, Fowler and the OED preferred judgement:

judgement is the form sanctioned in the Revised Version of the Bible, & the OED prefers the older & more reasonable spelling. Judgement is therefore here recommended… –Fowler p. 310.

Wanting to see how Shakespeare spelled it, I looked up that line in The Merchant of Venice in which Shylock praises Portia, thinking she is ruling in his favor. I found it online at the Literature Network:

A Daniel come to judgment! yea, a Daniel!

Not wanting to rely solely on an online source, I also looked it up in the First Folio:

A Daniel come to iudgement, yea, a Daniel.

Yes, that’s a letter i.

The OED still prefers judgement, but acknowledges judgment as a variant spelling.

That venerable pronouncing dictionary by Daniel Jones covers both bases by printing the entry word as judg(e)ment.

Merriam-Webster prefers judgment and lists judgement as a variant.

The words abridgement/abridgment and acknowledgement/acknowledgment follow the same British/American dichotomy as judgement/judgment.

Fowler offers a rule and an exception to the rule for dealing with words ending with a Mute e:

RULE: When a suffix is added to a word ending in mute e, the mute e is dropped before a vowel, but not before a consonant.

EXCEPTION TO THE RULE: The e is kept even before a vowel if it is needed to preserve or emphasize the soft sound of a preceding g or c.

I suppose it’s because I’m an American, but I can’t see any reason to keep the e before a consonant if it’s not needed to soften the g.

Still, these are useful guidelines for spelling the many words that end in silent/mute e.

For example, reader Suresh was wondering about adding a suffix to the word cache:

I would like to know whether, I can use the term: “cacheing.” Example: Google is cacheing my website/page.

The word cache follows the rule and drops the e to give caching.

Click here to get access to 800+ interactive grammar exercises!


51 Responses to “Judgement or Judgment?”

  • sherry roth

    Funny, to look at the word “caching,” it seems as if it might be pronounced like “catching,” or even “ka-CHING!”
    I always preferred to keep the “e” in “judgement,” because seeing all those consonants in a row in the middle there (“dgm”) was kind of overwhelming to me…I think I just needed the “e” in there for a break…but my spellchecker kept hounding me, so I switched to “judgment.” I don’t like it.
    I am also kind of a stickler about “bingeing,” “impingeing” and “cringeing,” but my spellchecker snags me and prefers to drop the “e”; it prefers “impinging,” (I do a lot of medical transcription and that’s a fairly common word in Orthopedics and Neurosurgery). According to your rule, it would seem that those “e”s need to be in there (not dropped before a vowel), so I’m sticking with doing it my way. And maybe I’ll go back to putting the “e” in judgement!

  • Maeve

    I agree that judgement looks better with the e. I just don’t agree with Fowler that it’s more “reasonable” than judgment.

    As for dropping the e from bingeing and cringeing, the speller checker is definitely wrong. Dropping the e in those words calls forth a hard g pronunciation.

    I think that in context the spelling caching works.

  • Pulkit

    “Judgment” is more prone to mispronunciation: the d-g-m may be sounded as “duggum,” “dugm,” “gum” or simply “dum,” depending on the reader. To ensure the d-g are combined together and sounded “j,” we required a separater in the form of an “e.” Therefore: “judgement.”

    About “bingeing,” “impingeing,” droping the e won’t convert the soft g into hard. From what I understand, g remains soft when followed by both e as well as i. It only turns into a hard g in cases of a, o or u.

  • Nils

    I find that judgment (without ‘e’) is the preferred spelling in the admittedly somewhat conservative context of the law. Indeed, I was once instructed to differentiate between general good judgement and judgment as given by the court, where appropriate.

  • sherry roth

    To #3 (pulkit): A “g” in front of an “i” does not automatically make it a soft “g.” Namely: Give, gift, girl, giddy, gig, giggle, gimp, girdle…; pinging (as in a URL). What about singing vs singeing? Dropping the “e” in this case, specifically, will definitely change the soft “g” to a hard “g” and of course change the word completely. I believe the “e” has a definite place and should not be dropped, spellchecker be damned!

  • cmdweb

    I haven’t seen many uses of judgment at all. Probably because I’m in the UK and judgement seems to be the much more accepted form in general here.

  • Don Nicholls (UK)

    I once knew a chap called Hodgson, a grotesque, bow legged fellow, a tail end charlie on Lancasters during the war. I had trouble with his name for ages, wondering if it was pronounced Hodson or Hogson. As he was a rotten swine I settled for the latter.

  • bargainph

    Actually, in the Philippines, the reason judgment is preferred over judgement is that teachers teach that judgement is wrong. Even my browser auto-spellchecker says it’s wrong.

  • Margaret Walker

    Thank you, everyone, for contributing! I was taught (in the 1950s or 1960s in the Southeast of the USA) that it was spelled “judgment.” I never understood (and possibly I was never told) why at that time. I’m glad to see from the discussion that maybe the correct spelling isn’t as “cut and dried” as I was led to believe way back then.

  • Evan Price

    British lawyers use judgment to refer to the decisions of judges and judgement to refer to the decisions taken by others – so, for example, ‘in my judgement, the judgment of Mr Justice X is mistaken’ …

    I suspect that this relates to modern spelling in the UK and the fact that our judicial decisions go back to a time before such standardised spelling.

  • Jennifer

    I’m a firm holdout for “judgement”.

    The reason being that the silent “e” is there for the purpose of giving a phonetic cue to the sound of the “g”. To see why it should be considered the more correct spelling, consider the following:

    “lug” vs. “luge”

    “log” vs. “loge”

    “sag” vs. “sage”

    “wag” vs. “wage”

    There isn’t a single instance in English that I can think of with a root word ending in “g” where “g” has the “j” sound. The final “e” is used to cue in the reader to the correct pronunciation of the soft “g” sound. Therefore, “judgment” according to the rules of English phonics would be “jud-GUH-ment”. Clearly WRONG!!

    Add to that the fact that we don’t drop the silent “e” from anything else when forming a compound word with the “ment” ending – atonement, abasement, bereavement, management, etc. – and there seems to be no case whatsoever for “judgment”, aside from the fact that most Americans spell it that way. As our parents taught us, just because “everyone else is doing it” it doesn’t make it right. So I’ll continue to engage in pointless arguments with those who quibble with my CORRECT spelling of the word.

  • Dallas

    Sorry to all you “e” lovers, but just because you like it and you “think it looks better,” does not make it correct. If you learn a word correctly, then it looks wrong when it IS wrong. It looks wrong with an “e” in it because it IS wrong. For people to change how a word is spelled just because others don’t like how it really IS spelled is ridiculous in my opinion.

  • thebluebird11

    @Dallas: Grrrrrrr.

  • Kirk Bryde

    The beauty of the evolution of the English language, be it British or American English, is that in the long run majority rules. The correct spelling is determined by the frequency of the way a word is spelt (or spelled). Now let’s not get started on how to spell “spelt”. 🙂

  • John Clark

    Having represented myself in California courts a lot the last decade, I always came across the “judgments” of the court, as the court always wrote it in their orders. But outside of the court, in non-judicial everyday matters, I always see “judgement” with an “e”. A distinction with a useful purpose.

  • Jeremy

    I agree with Fowler’s rule “when a suffix is added to a word ending in mute e, the mute e is dropped before a vowel, but not before a consonant,” except I would extend to say e is only dropped before ‘e’ and ‘i’.
    “Judgement” because ‘m’ is a consonant.
    However, “judging” because of ‘i’.
    Impingement/impinging, enragement/enraging…

    “Courageous” and other words ending in ‘e’ with the suffix ‘ous’ (or any suffix starting with ‘a’, ‘o’ or ‘u’ would keep the ‘e’ since these letters cause a hard ‘g’ sound. “Couragous” would be pronounced “kur-ay-gus.”

  • thebluebird11

    @John Clark: I like that distinction. If I adopt your stance, it would allow me to keep the “e” for the most part, since I don’t much dabble in legal matters relating to judgments. I more often discuss someone’s poor judgement.
    @Jeremy: I understand your desire to draw a parallel between impinging and enraging because they both end in “e”, but there is something about the former that makes me want to keep the “e” in it. Maybe it’s just for easier readability. We don’t want our eyes to be tempted to draw parallels between bringing, singing, pinging and impinging. Except perhaps in esperanto, any time you have a rule, you have exceptions to it. So I don’t mind if there are certain words that aren’t treated like others. Also, there is a difference between singing and singeing, and to keep the soft “g” sound (ie, make it sound like a “j”), we need to keep the “e” in there. IMHO, we would be better served by keeping uniformity for these similar words, by which I mean binge, singe, impinge, even lunge and sponge (and any others I can’t think of right now). I am thinking that I would also make a distinction between feeling grungy (dirty, smelly) and music that is “grunge-y” (which I hesitate to write as “grungey”), even though when I see the word “grungy,” I am at first tempted to pronounce it with a hard “g.” Sigh. Like Outback restaurants, no rules, just right 🙂

  • Katy

    Well, “judgment” is more widely accepted than “judgement”. In the US, “judgement” is always wrong, although I guess you could say it’s a British spelling if you like the “e”. However, I think that English speakers should just use “judgment”, regardless of what it should be (soft/hard g) because that’s the actual spelling. English is a language of exceptions and contradictions, so there’s no point in insisting on spelling other words wrong just to fit the rule.

  • Joline

    Thanks for all that interesting information. This particular issue arose on a Cambridge Proficiency exam so the above discussion was very helpful in shedding some light on the matter.

  • Kevin

    I was searching the spelling due to Judgment Day, which is tomorrow, I hope I’m not too late to learn the true spelling… From what I read, it seems “judgment” is widely accepted over “judgement.” I personally prefer judgement with the “e.” English is not my first language and it took me a while to realize “judgment” is pronounced “judgement.”

  • Robert

    Dallas: ‘If you learn a word correctly, then it looks wrong when it IS wrong. It looks wrong with an “e” in it because it IS wrong. For people to change how a word is spelled just because others don’t like how it really IS spelled is ridiculous in my opinion.’

    I’d just like to point out that this discussion is about the correct spelling not just the most favoured spelling, and as it stands there is no CORRECT spelling. Judgment may be favoured in America, and it is used in England too. However, just because you were taught that ‘judgment’ is the CORRECT way to spell it, doesn’t mean it is. I don’t think people spelling it as ‘judgement’ means that they are trying to change how it is spelt, they are simply applying a different linguistic rule to the word.

  • William D’Onofrio

    I usually would agree with Maeve Maddox’s thinking, paraphrasing: “why have something if it has no evident purpose…being an american… “. But, the problem with this type of thinking is that each person has their/his/her (?) own definition or vision of “purpose”.
    I say instead: if the root is “judge” and the “e” causes no problem then keep it in “judgement”. As one said it feels and looks better with the “e” breaking the heaviness of all those consonants…but then, that might also be a judgement call affected by the fact that I’m of Italian origin in Canada since 1959 (52.5 years!!) and I’ve gone through a very beneficial “renaissance” in latter years.

    Those people, like Katy, that say “IT IS WRONG BECAUSE THAT’S THE ACTUAL SPELLING” need to soften up a bit since they do not have the answer to what is ACTUAL…unless they have some direct link to the CREATOR. In answer to Robert: let”s change the rule!

  • Lenoxus

    Even if all the mathematicians in the world said 2+2=5 and had always said so, they would be wrong.

    Likewise, the correct spelling is JUDJEMENT, with a J in the middle. I know this because I have actually dissected samples of judjement in a laboratory environment and looked under a microscope; they all contain a central J.

    Clearly, the two situations are exactly parallel.

  • Ian

    I like judgement for general use and judgment in a legal sense; reminds me of disks for computers but discs for music (although I think the former is short for diskette)

    My train of thought has just been through these stations:
    Badging, Dredging, Bridging, Dodging, Judging
    Banging, Singing, Longing, Bunging
    Bingeing, Singeing
    Bagging, Wagging
    Aging, Raging, Waging

  • Thamur

    Rules are all and good. But it’s true that English has many contradictions and exceptions to how spelling and phonetics are handled. Purely on observation of day to day English, you can see that in many words the soft “g” sound is prevalent in the middle of the words in syllables containing “i” or “e” (imagine, logistics, etc.), never as the first letter. So, for example, there can be no confusion between the sound of “impinging” and the sound of “give”. The other observation is on verbs ending in a hard “g” such as “to sing”. If you add “…ing”, that does not modify the pronunciation of the root word in the form of “singing”. This same characteristic applies to many similarly ending verbs. So it’s clear that, where the sound of the root word calls for a soft “g” (j sound), then an accompanying “i” or “e” should be present. Otherwise it may lead to misunderstandings and confusion (such as the hard “g” in cognizant). English is not my first language, but this much I can gather on observation alone. Please leave the “e” in judgement 🙂

  • Jamie

    Thamur, i think you have a few mistakes in your observatios. First, there are many words that begin with the letter G and sound like “j”
    gem, giant, generous, generic, (i think most GE or GI words sound like J). Whereas Gut, gone, goo, good, god, gorgeous, glad, gloom, groom, grove, grave, grumpy, ghost, give (though give is odd, since it has a short i sound), gave, graze, grim, great, etc. they sounds like “GUH”.

    ING is not in any way, shape, or form a “hard” g sound. In fact, “ng”, as a pair of letters, is its own phonetic sound.

    I like judgement. It looks like management (which oddly, appears normal in MicrosftWord, and doesn’t piss off Autocorrect!! hehe) But Managment is flagged as wrong.

  • Don James

    One of the first things they teach you when you study linguistics is that all usage is correct (actually referring to different ways of speaking).

    I think it is perfectly acceptable for organisations/bodies/people/etc. to prefer one spelling or to provide a distinction between both spellings (as in this case in the UK courts). But it is unacceptable to apply one’s own rules to the usage of others.

    Personally, I have always prefered ‘judgement’ and have never been told it is wrong.

    One final thought is that words define rules, not the other way around.

  • Jamea Watkins

    Right is write and wrong is rong.

    The correct spelling of the word is judgment. We don’t get to make up the rules just because something looks awkward in our language. We don’t have to like it, but we should follow it.

    By some of your reasoning, I should have changed a few things in my prior paragraph because it is too difficult to remember the proper form of “to” to use in my second sentence. An apostrophe would have been too difficult to type, so I should have made the second word in the second sentence dont instead of don’t. If we made our own rules as we saw fit, our language would be in chaos.

  • Maeve

    I admire your certainty in an uncertain world.

    If your standard is American English, then by all means, go with judgment. The Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary gives judgment as the first spelling and judgement as a variant.

    The Oxford English Dictionary, on the other hand, gives judgement as the preferred spelling and judgment as the variant.

    Your argument that a preference for judgement will lead to writing rong for wrong puts me in mind of the Pool Hall song in the Music Man.

  • Jamea Watkins

    Maeve, I don’t admire your snide comment. You’re born, you live, then you die. I don’t see any uncertainty here.

    Yes, in the USA, my standard is American English.

  • Maeve

    You’re right. My comment was snide. For that I apologize.

    I do think that equating an acceptable spelling variant like “judgement” with an inarguably incorrect spelling like “rong” for “wrong”is a tad extreme.

    But perhaps I misunderstood your original comment. Perhaps when you wrote “The correct spelling of the word is judgment.” you were speaking in terms of American English only.

  • Les

    My goodness. I tried using judgment in a report and it didn’t look right. Now look what I’ve googled upon. If I have one thing to add to this long running discussion is that the rule to use the silent e to soften the g is probably optional due to the dg combination. Almost all cases of words with dg have the soft g with a silent e and the e is optional when adding a suffix starting with a consanant. Although I’m American I’m going to use judgement with the e in because it looks better to me which is likely due to my British heritage.
    I worked with a guy that always spelled wrong worng.
    I found 573 examples of dg words

  • JoeBob

    I use “judgement.” While we can go back and forth about “American” versus “English” (I’ve lived in both countries), and the constant dumbing-down of language rules versus teaching proper use, I believe I can distill this argument down to a simple case of laziness and lack of will: “basement.”

    Is “basment”acceptable? I think not. Nor is “easment,” or “casment.” Somehow, it’s rationalized (or -ised) that constructing a triple-consonant combination by dropping the silent e is not just acceptable but desirable?

    Besides, if it was good enough for Gerald Ford, it should be good enough for everyone!

  • Gerry Keating

    Byron’s “Vision of Judgment” was a riposte to Southy’s Vision of Judgement”. So were both versions used at the time, or was Byron the first to omit the “e”? I always include the “e, and, though I do not sit at the celestial gate, note that the “e” is usefully and usably dropped before consonants, but not vowels, but that this rule may be moveable.

  • Dale A. Wood

    The expression “bow legged fellow” is incorrect because the word “bowlegged” is spelled BOWLEGGED. In other words, it is a compound word, and it has been for centuries.

    I live in North America, and I cannot grasp why foreigners who live elsewhere cannot keep it straight about compound words. Take the word “miniskirt” which was written this way from its birth in the 1960s because “mini” is a prefix, as in “minicomputer” and “minivan”.
    Now why on the face of the Earth would someone want to write “mini skirt”, “bow legged”, or “egg head” ?


  • Dale A. Wood

    The abbreviations U.S.A., D.O.D., I.B.M., N.S.W. (New South Wales), W.Va. (West Virginia), P.E.I., U.K., R.C.A., and E.S.A. are spelled with periods, no matter what such oddities that the British might think of.

    Some exceptions to this come when the initialisms are pronounced as words, such as NATO, NASA, and NORAD. Also, quite long initialisms have had their periods dropped, such as in ICBM, BMEWS, and USAFA (United States Air Force Academy).

    The word “radar” used to be an initialism, but it has been a common noun for along time now (ever since about 1943).

  • Bob Jones

    I disagree with your statement in your newsletter that there is no moral superiority attached to one usage or the other.

    I believe in the rule of logic and reasoned arguments – where the weight of arguments and premises are carefully evaluated.

    To me, just because a lot of other people are doing something does not make it acceptable nor right.

    We see examples of stupidity on a daily basis where people are lulled into doing idiotic things on Facebook and Twitter and Infogram simply because somebody has made it seem normal due to repetition without anybody bothering to object.

    Take a look at the language used in certain popular songs which people now feel emboldened to use at awards ceremonies like the Grammies. The “F-word” has a place, but it should not be on public broadcasts in primetime – and we will all pay the price eventually for the ways in which our values are continuously stretched by those who profit from crossing boundaries.

    According to Maeve’s logic, there are not too many people who would mispronounce the “g” sound in judgment in the absence of an “e.”

    That is not sufficient justification for changing the rule.

    There are not too many people who would mispronounce “easment” either, but it is not correct to drop the “e” simply for convenience or conformity.

    I believe that suffixes like “ment” are meant to be added to verbs in a logical, consistent manner.

    I believe that there are logical reasons to keep the spelling of the root verb intact, in order to avoid problems such as what happens when there is an “infringement” versus an “infringment.”

    We do not accept “managment” for good reason, even though most people would know what was intended by that spelling.

    We already have analogies with “singing” and “singeing.”
    Binging is using the search engine Bing, bingeing is what you do excessively.

    Just because some Legal types several hundred years ago wanted to drop the “e” from their judgements does not mean that it should be commonly accepted.

    Maeve’s assertion that no native speaker would mispronounce “judgment” points to the subjectivity which people tend to get trapped in when you adopt notions that nobody is “right” and that nobody should be certain about anything.

    Just because I understand what you are trying to say does not entitle you to say it the way you are saying it. To me, there is a moral justification for trying to ensure that communication is clear and effective.

    What she is really saying is that things seem simple to people who already understand them. Spend some time talking to people immersed in the world of computer “coding” and you will see that they cannot see why “newbies” would not understand various concepts.

    The reality is that there are a lot of “native speakers” who are not familiar with all of the vagaries of English and who are not skilled readers and writers. I see some in my classes who would indeed stumble if asked to read out loud and they tried to break down the word phonetically.

    We do them a disservice when we abandon logical linguistic frameworks and patterns in favor of being too lazy to apply the rules consistently.

    I really do not see how dropping the “e” from words like judgment contributes benefits which outweigh the benefits of logically consistent application and extension of meaningful patterns of word construction.

    Those who insist that a spelling is correct simply because that is the way we do things here risk confusing ethnocentric arrogance with logical justification.

  • Ledrias

    Another important thing to note for the rule, this dropping of the e does not apply to words whose dropping of the e would phonetically change the word. e.g., noticeable and changeable. Otherwise they would be pronounced Notickable and chang-able.

  • Kara Taylor

    For me, there’s an E in judge and there’s an E in judgement. I had no idea that people spelled that word so differently. I was reading a friend’s school paper and saw the word judgment. I assumed it was wrong but then looked it up and came across this page. After reading all the comments, I’m still not sure which spelling is correct but I like the E in there.

  • Colin Edwards

    Did nobody think to check wikipedia?

    “In a non-legal context, spelling differs between countries. The spelling judgement (with e added) is common in the United Kingdom in a non-legal context. In British English, the spelling judgment is correct when referring to a court’s or judge’s formal ruling, whereas the spelling judgement is used for other meanings. The spelling judgment is also found in the Authorised King James Version of the Bible.

    In American English, judgment prevails in all contexts. In Canada and Australia, in a non-legal context both forms are equally acceptable, although judgment is more common in Canada and judgement in Australia. However, in a legal and theological context, judgment is the only correct form.[citation needed] In New Zealand the form judgement is the preferred spelling in dictionaries, newspapers and legislation, although the variant judgment can also be found in all three categories. Usage in South Africa is similar to that in Australia and New Zealand.”

  • Stephen

    I’m responding to what was written two years ago but here goes:

    Jamea: “The correct spelling of the word is judgment. We don’t get to make up the rules just because something looks awkward in our language. We don’t have to like it, but we should follow it.”

    What you’ve somehow failed to grasp is that this particular “correct” spelling only came about because someone decided to “make up the rules” and omit the “e”.

    Maeve: Thank you for writing this article. Your snide comment was obviously not mean-spirited. You needn’t have apologized. Jamea, on the other hand, was quite rude and condescending. Furthermore, she was being condescending without taking the time to try to understand the complexities of the issue. Perhaps in the last two years she has discovered that linguists use a couple of interesting terms: descriptive and prescriptive. Hmmm… food for thought, people. Perhaps she has looked at Chaucer and reflected on how the English language has evolved over time. But mostly I would hope she doesn’t go around being rude towards people on the internet then calling others out for impoliteness simply because they employed a witticism to make an innocent, playful jab at her.

  • Stephen

    P.S. God forbid we ever debate how words should be spelled. Language should never change. In fact, the problem is much worse than anyone here seems to realize. The very existence of this word is due to those meddling Normans in 1066. They introduced all kinds of horrible Frenchified vocabulary into our language: unacceptable mutations of English such as beef and pork. We should be calling pork swineflesh, the way our Germanic ancestors would have wanted it. And whether we were in the United States or anywhere else, it wouldn’t be a question of judgement or judgment! If it weren’t for William the Conqueror, we could be using a word similar to the German Urteil.

    To lose the sarcasm, the prescriptivists ARE going to lose the battle. It’s simply not how language has ever worked. Standardization HAS increased since the advent of the printing press, but things like the internet WILL change how people utilize language. Only a descriptivist stance makes sense unless we are to live our lives as hopeless luddites, pulling our hair out every time someone says “LOL” or shortens “your” to “ur” in a text to save money on their cell phone bill.

    And as much as you may want to talk about logic, Bob Jones, while other languages may have spelling that adheres to consistent rules, English spelling is absolutely horrendous in that regard. When I lived in Germany as a child, I discovered that they DON’T HAVE a special class to teach spelling in elementary school because they simply don’t have to. They don’t have to explain that it’s OK for a language to apply one set of rules to “bough” and another to “trough”. You will never be able to apply logic to English and argue for prescriptivist spelling according to that standard.

    Again, thank you for the article and the lively debate, Maeve.

  • Jared

    Why in the world would you refer to Shakespeare as an authority on spelling? English spelling wasn’t standardized in the 1600’s, and in fact, Shaekspeare spelled his own name a couple of different ways in his will.

  • John Ritter

    I came here because I was blogging just now and someone else wrote the word as “judgement.” I thought that was wrong and of course it is. That is, it is wrong according to standard English spelling.

    But the comments here helped me to realize that “judgment” should not have become the standard spelling. It is not consistent with what we do with other words that end in e and are followed by suffixes like “ment.” Management is a great example.

    So I suggest that we all begin spelling the word judgement, as it should be. Then it will become the standard American spelling!

  • Kieran Saighir

    I never understood why a few scholars from Great Britain and the US couldn’t get together and make one consistent spelling for each word. Although I was taught ‘judgment’, I wholeheartedly agree judgement makes much more sense. I would hope that our cousins would agree that our maneuver look’s much better than manoeuvre. Of course there are thousands of differences, but I think agreement could be gotten without too much hassle. I believe such an endeavor (that’s our spelling) would be worth the effort.

  • Tim Lyons

    It is the d – the D – before the g that affects the soft g sound. Keeping or dropping the silent e is of no consequence in this case. Other words like management, estrangement, etc., need the e, since it could be read as a hard g (managment, estrangment) because the vowel or n before g would not force a soft sound.

    All this “impinge-ing’ stuff is nonsense. When necessary to differentiate meaning, then OK (bingeing vs. binging [as in, “to make a bing sound” — OK perhaps marginally a word, but it could be]). But dropping the “e” before “ing” is the norm: bridging, staging, raging, bulging, divulging, changing … need we go on?

    Also someone wrote “fledgeling,” which is wrong, by the way. It’s fledgling. (See the D there before the g?)

  • Larry

    I certainly understand that the English language has many rules and maybe just as many exceptions to those rules because of the influx of words fron other languages and other reasons, say lawyers deciding to change the spelling just because they feel they can.

    I only noticed one correct spelling for acknowledgement and dislodgement. Perhaps some of you would like to drop the e from these words as well. These examples seem much closer than others I read for obvious reasons. Are we still in a grey ( gray) area ?

    My judgement has been made. Go USA

  • Larry

    Upon further inspection I see that both of my prior examples have alternate spelings. I think I’ll go vacuum.

  • AnWulf

    @Tim Lyons … Thank you! I can hardy believ that this blog was here for five years before someone explain’d that simple rule.

    The ‘dg’ is a ‘j’ sound in English thus the ‘e’ is unneeded: judgment, lodgment, acknowledgment, abridgment.

  • David

    As a rebellious act of consistency, I hereby pledge to henceforth prefer judgements to judgments. I would be horrified if lodgement, acknowledgement in particular were abandoned. Abridgment is an abridgement of my freedom to be consistent in my usage of silent e’s.

  • Samuel Mansfield

    In response to his comment about not seeing a reason to ever keep a mute “e” after adding a suffix, the reason is parsing the word for pronunciation. For example, if I have the word “humble,” it parses into two sections: “hum” and “ble.” Now, if I add the suffix “ness” to make the world “humbleness,” I need to keep the “e.” If I don’t, the word becomes “humblness,” and this word has four consonants without any vowels in between them. While the word is still easy to pronounce, this breaks a basic rule of the English language, and must therefore be remedied.

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