We Are in America, Yes? Then Spell and Punctuate Like It.

At times, I am a grammar snob.  You can't always tell from this blog.  Honestly, I spend most of my day doing the lawyer thing, so I am writing for you at night or on the weekends and my editing skills and my keen eye for the fine art of crafting prose are sometimes left at the office.  

Lately, I keep running into the same problem and it is turning me into a judgmental bitch.  Note, not a judgemental bitch.  Not a bitch who renders judgements.  You see, judgement is NOT the proper spelling of the word judgment.  They do this with DWTS and it annoys the shit out of me.  But that's because they are British.  

Judgment is a very commonly used legal word.  If I handed my boss a paper in which the word was spelled with the extra "e," he would make fun of me.  The red pen would come out.  I would be ashamed.  

Whether or not "judgement" was an acceptable spelling variation was a recent topic of discussion in our household. (Yes, this stuff comes up when two word-dork lawyers are married.)  I REFUSED to accept that the "e" was okay. While my husband slept, I did what any self-respecting grammar book whore would do.  I pulled out a Bryan Garner Book
and tabbed the page regarding judgment and left it on my husband's bedside table.

Mr. Garner (emperor of legal prose) pointed out that judgment is American and judgement is British.

We. Are. Not. British.

I've had enough of people spelling like we are.  Look up the past tense for the verb cancel.  It is canceled, not cancelled.  On Perez Hilton, they constantly use cancelled.  What's the difference?  American v. British.  

We. Are. Not. British.  

On Jeopardy!, they insist on putting their periods outside of quotation marks, which upsets me every time. Again, British.  

I am begging you, America, please start spelling and punctuating like AMERICANS.  Spell check puts squiggly lines under cancelled and judgement for a reason.  Please stop it.  Let me be a judgmental bitch about other things, like your shoes.

Comments Closed


  1. daftkitty says:

    You are judge-MENTAL! Emphasis on the mental. (Bwahahah, see what I did there! So funny. You miss me.)
    But I agree, and the punctuation outside of the quotation marks thing makes me want to beat my head on my desk… especially when I’m preparing documents for professional printing.

  2. I had to chuckle about “judgement.” It is only with the advent of spellcheck and the Internet that I’ve discovered that most of the words I learned how to spell in school are not the United States’ spelling. It used to drive me crazy that people would leave out the “e” until I looked it up in my Merriam-Webster.

    • Danielle says:

      I can’t say that I noticed it until I started practicing. Then I noticed it everywhere. Sometimes, people convinced me that it was okay in some circumstances and I believed them. Then, my distrust set in and I pulled out one of my trusted Bryan Garner books. Nope, British. Now, I realize that I drive everyone nuts because I am constantly switching back and forth from one to two spaces after periods. It’s two at work and one on the internet. It’s hard to keep track. But I am not British and I will not pretend I am through spelling.

  3. I am a grammar snob too! But being from Canada, we use British spelling. It drives me nuts when spell check puts squiggly lines under words like colour and neighbour – we are Canadian – the “u” belongs there!