• 3-minute read
  • 11th March 2020

Spelling Tips: Judgement or Judgment?

At Proofed, we’re often asked whether “judgment” or “judgement” is the correct spelling. The simple answer is that you should always use “judgment” in American English. But this isn’t the case outside North America.

To find out the difference between these spellings, and when you may want to use “judgement” instead, check out our guide below.

What Does Judgment Mean?

The noun “judgment” usually means “decision”:

After some thought, he came to a judgment about what he should study.

It can also refer to the capacity to make decisions:

She always demonstrated good judgment over her career choices.

Finally, it can refer to an official legal decision (e.g., the ruling of a judge):

The court passed down the judgment shortly after midday.

As you can see in the examples above, “judgment” is the correct spelling in American English regardless of context. This makes it easy to spell! Unfortunately, things get a bit more confusing outside the USA.

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“Judgement” in Other English Dialects

While “judgment” is a variant spelling in British and Australian English, it is less common than “judgement” (with the extra “e”) for the everyday senses of this word (i.e., a decision or the capacity to make one). As such, if we were writing for a UK or Australian audience, we would usually write:

After some thought, he came to a judgement about what he should study.

She always demonstrated good judgement over her career choices.

The exception to this rule is legal writing, where “judgment” is standard. If you’re referring to the law in the UK or Australia, then, you would write:

The court passed down the judgment shortly after midday.

This is exactly the same as in American English, which makes things easier! But remember that this only applies to legal decisions. In other situations, the standard spelling outside North America is “judgement.”

Summary: Judgement or Judgment?

In American English, “judgment” is the standard spelling in all contexts. However, if you’re writing for an audience outside North America, remember:

  • Judgement (with an extra “e”) is the standard spelling for everyday senses of this term (i.e., a decision or the capacity to make one) outside North America, including in British and Australian English.
  • Judgment (no extra “e”) is usually considered a variant spelling outside the USA, but it is standard in legal writing or when discussing the law.

And if you’d like any more help with spelling, or any element of your writing, why not submit a document for proofreading today?

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