In my younger years, I dedicated an undue amount of energy to opposing Microsoft.  Of course, being in my younger years at the time, this consisted of a series of appallingly immature and impotent oppositions, such as adding a disclaimer to the bottom of my first web site declaring that performance could not be guaranteed if it was viewed with “Micro$oft Internet Exploder”.  (I was particularly proud of myself for that pun; alas, I shortly encountered the cleverer pun “Internet Exploiter” and fell into a deep depression.)

As time wore on, I began to realize that I hadn’t really had a good reason to oppose Microsoft, aside from the fact that everyone else was doing it.  Since that realization, I’ve warmed significantly to Microsoft, but we still have our ups-and-downs.  Windows 95 and 98 charmed me, but then Clippit and Windows ME soured my goodwill like milk left out in the sun.  Spending a year in Redmond with all of my friends working at Microsoft gave me a much better opinion of the company; not because my friends painted a better picture of life at Microsoft, but rather because they gave me gifts of cheap software and free juice.

But the honeymoon’s over now; it turns out Microsoft is the domineering juggernaut that I had thought it was in the early 90s.  I typed “judgement” into Word, just like I always spell it, and it red-squiggly-underlined it, just like it always does.  “Man,” I asked myself (and the turtles swimming in the tank across the room), “why do I always put an ‘e’ in judgment if it’s not supposed to be there?”  The turtles seemed content to take the red-squiggly underline lying down, but not me.  It was time to find out why the e was verboten.  I headed over to the OED and MWDEU, and what to my wondering eyes should appear but a miniature e ‘mongst eight tiny other letters!  It turns out that, despite Microsoft’s crimson corrugated admonition, judgement is acceptable in American English. Sure, it’s less common than judgment, but that’s no reason to ban its use.

And so now the scales are off my eyes, the wolf in sheep’s clothing is exposed!  Microsoft is a bunch of scheming tricksters, sneakily excising excessive e‘s from the language for reasons incomprehensible!  Here I’ve been suffering under the delusion for years that there could be but one e in judgment and that my brain was broken for trying to greedily include another.  Needless to say, Microsoft, it will take a lot of cut-rate software and juice to woo me back.  Or at least the addition of judgement to the Word dictionary.  I eagerly await either action — but, if it can only be one, please make it the former.

[Unfortunately, it turns out that OpenOffice Writer suffers the same anti-e bigotry as Word.  Alas!  What am I to write in now?  Emacs?!  And Firefox doesn’t believe judgement is a word, either!  Looks like it’s back to Lynx for me.]

Summary: judgement can be spelled with or without the e, in both American and British English.  Judgment is apparently commoner in American English and judgement‘s commoner in British English.

Advertisements