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The British spelling invasion

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Whether you ventured to Times Square on New Year’s Eve, or stayed home to watch the rockin’ 2016 event on your big screen, you may have noticed the sea of purple top hats, courtesy of Planet Fitness, with the slogan “Judgement Free New Year’s Eve.”

Whoa! Grammarians and those who are self-described wordsmiths and language nitpickers, probably set down their stemware of bubbly, spat out a shrimp and hyperventilated: Judgment was misspelled!

Well, not so fast. Yes, your spell-checker will stop on it and wait for you to fix it, but let’s jump into Webster’s New World Dictionary. And there under the entry of judgment, after it’s keenly and thoroughly defined, is the final say: Also sp. judgement. Ouch!

In the U.K., judgement is the preferred spelling, along with colour and grey (the shade between black and white is spelled gray on this side of the pond).

Over here, you would thumb through a catalog. If you want to lean British, you can spell it catalogue—Webster accepts that spelling, too. Webster, however, prefers dialogue and monologue.

British spellings also run with the “our” spellings in words such has honour and favour. Webster does not honor honour or even mention favour, but those are rarely spelled that way in the U.S.

But, since the American English language is full of wonder and exceptions, here’s the curve ball: it’s spelled glamour in the U.S. (on this one we want the “our” British spelling). Webster also says glamor is OK, too. It gets more complicated. When it comes to glamorous, Webster takes out the “u” between the “o” and the “r” as the preferred spelling. But it will accept glamourous also.

Keep your dictionary handy.

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