• 2-minute read
  • 11th March 2020

Spelling Tips: Judgement or Judgment?

At Proofed, we’re often asked whether to use ‘judgement’ or ‘judgment’ in writing. But there isn’t a simple answer! It depends on preference, context, and dialect. So to help you avoid errors in your writing, we’ve prepared a short explainer of the spellings ‘judgement’ and ‘judgment’.

What Does Judgement Mean?

The noun ‘judgement’ usually means ‘decision’:

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

It can also refer to the capacity to make decisions:

She always demonstrated good judgement over her career choices.

This spelling is standard spelling for most contexts in Australian English. As such, we suggest including the extra ‘e’ as a default. However, ‘judgment’ is also accepted in Australian English. Some style guides even prefer ‘judgment’, so remember to check yours if you have one!

When to Use Judgment in Australian English

There is one exception to the rule above in Australian English: legal writing.

If you’re referring to an official legal decision (e.g. the ruling of a judge), then, the standard spelling is ‘judgment’. For example:

The court passed down the judgment shortly after midday.

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Some people even use both spellings in a single document to distinguish between a legal decision (i.e. a judgment) and a non-legal decision or the capacity to make a decision (i.e. judgement). However, be very careful if you are going to do this, as it could easily become confusing for your reader!

Judgment in American English

In American English, the standard spelling of this word is always ‘judgment’:

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

She always demonstrated good judgment over her career choices.

The court passed down the judgment shortly after midday.

This applies in both legal and non-legal writing. Consequently, ‘judgement’ would usually be deemed an error in the US and you should avoid this spelling if writing for a North American audience.

Summary: Judgement or Judgment?

‘Judgement’ is correct most of the time in Australian English. But remember:

  • Judgement is the standard spelling in Australian English.
  • In legal writing or when discussing the law, judgment is more common.
  • In American English, the standard spelling is always judgment.

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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