Judgement vs. Judgment: The Verdict on the Difference

Judgement and judgment are variant spellings of the same word. Whether you spell it with an "e" depends on where you live or what style guide you are following. Although judgment is ultimately the more popular spelling no matter where you are, you'll have to use your best judgment to decide which spelling is best for you.

Judgement vs Judgment definition- Judge hitting gavel on desk Judgement vs Judgment definition- Judge hitting gavel on desk
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Difference Between Judgement and Judgment

While judgement and judgment have both been used steadily over the centuries, it is not so clear-cut which should be used and when or where. Overall, it can be concluded that judgement is the standard British English spelling and judgment is the standard American English spelling. Judgment is the only acceptable spelling in American English, while British English may use either depending on the context.

  • judgement (British English) - decision of a judge or legal court; to make up one’s mind about something or someone; punishment or condemnation

  • judgment (American English) - decision of a judge or legal court; to make up one’s mind about something or someone; punishment or condemnation

Let the Style Guides Be the Judges

The question of whether you should use the spelling judgement or judgment comes down to where you live, but also which style guide you are following. Oxford English Dictionary prefers judgement. Merriam-Webster, however, favors judgment and lists judgement as a variant. According to Bryan Garner's Modern American Usage, judgment is preferable in American English.

Use Judgment in Legal Contexts

Judgment is preferred in legal contexts in both American and British English. This distinction has seeped across numerous fields. Official jurisdiction and lawyers favor the judgment spelling, while other professions are known to use the judgement variant more widely.

Using Judgement and Judgment in a Sentence

Now that you know when to use judgement or judgment, review how you can use these words in a sentence.

  • The jury passed judgement/judgment on the defendant.

  • I’ve been told I have good judgement/judgment

  • I acted against my better judgement/judgment.

Exceptions to the Rule

Remembering which spelling to use can be confusing. Judgment can be used anywhere, while judgement is used solely in British English. Therefore, the “e” in judgement can be associated with England.

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Use Your Best Judg(e)ment

Beyond judgement and judgment, many words have alternate spellings in American vs. British English. These include practice and practise and offense and offence, as well as many others.