“Judgement” (sic) is Not Over Yet …

Yes, we at J. Walcher Communications are the people who will let a restaurant know when a word is misspelled on the menu. We will exclaim in horror at random apostrophes (used for no reason!!!). And we cannot stand a person using the wrong “their” or “they’re.” We are beholden to the AP Stylebook and have a deep affection for spell check (although we cannot understand why it refuses to recognize the term “triathlete”).

So when Judgment Day (May 21, 2011) arrived, The Huffington Post contacted us — not to discuss the end of the world, but why our spelling shouldn’t go to hell in the process (see last two paragraphs):


Rapture 2011: Apocalypse Now… No, Now! (LIVE BLOG) – Huffington Post

by David Moye, Posted on May 21, 2011

Today’s rapture is supposed to herald the coming of Judgment Day.

Passing judgment is supposed to be God’s job, but a lot of word experts, spelling sticklers and — though they hate the term “grammar Nazis” — are passing judgment on the millions of internet postings that are adding an extra “e” between the “g” and “m” in “judgment.”

Seriously, do a Google search. We can wait….

OK, see what I mean?

Although the Good Book says, “Judge not, lest ye be judged,” surely, that didn’t refer to incorrect spelling, right?

Steven Murray, who is the Communications Director at the First Baptist Church in Houston, is praying that’s not the case.

“I try to express grace more than judgment, but spelling it with the extra ‘e’ is a pet peeve of mine,” Murray said. “It’s right up there with people who use the term ‘irregardless.’”

Murray personally cringes when he sees judgment spelled “judgement,” but suspects that the correct spelling is a casualty of a world where Twitter and Facebook influence people to “let spelling slide in the interest of speed.”

Although the Lord works in strange and mysterious ways, he’s not sure if the spelling of “judgment” without the “e” between the “g” and the “m” is his doing.

“It’s more one of the mysterious ways of the people who founded the English language,” he said.

But San Diego-based copy editor Phyllis de Blanche is a little more merciful to those who dare besmirch the proper spelling of “judgment.”

“There are two accepted spellings,” she insisted. “Although that extra ‘e’ is not standard, it is acceptable. I think the reason it’s the standard with journalists is because Associated Press prefers to use the shorter version. For instance, they allow ‘OK’ to be spelled with just two capital letters instead of ‘o-k-a-y.’”

Meanwhile, Los Angeles-based copy editor Karen Spiegelman has strong words for people who add that extra “e.”

“Spelling it that way makes it easier to make fun of you,” she said. “Seriously, it’s not big a deal, but if you, like some people, try and justify after the fact by pointing out the alternate spelling, you just look silly.

“However, being able to spell ‘judgment’ correctly is like a secret handshake.”

To be fair, “judgment” is spelled with the offending “e” in England — except when referring to a legal judgment. But like many things that are different in the United Kingdom than the United States — such as warm beer — this distinction is illogical to editors like Jill Kuraitis in Boise, Idaho.

“It drives me crazy!” she said. “Yeah, there are English variations, but this one makes no sense. It jumps off the page when I see it spelled with that ‘e.’ It’s one of the words on my 50 most annoying word screw-ups list.

“However, it’s not as bad as when people screw up the difference between ‘less’ and ‘fewer.’”

If the judgment day scheduled for Saturday fails to pass, Kuraitis thinks her fellow word nerds should band together to make sure that people start spelling ‘judgment’ correctly by the next scheduled apocalypse on December 21, 2012.

“We could probably get Bill Gates to fund us,” she said.

Passing judgment over the spelling of a word sounds a little extreme, but manuscript editor Stephanie Thompson sees it differently.

“To me, correct spelling is the difference between taking a story seriously or not at all,” she said. “If you can’t figure out the spelling of a word, what else might be wrong in the story?”

As for the final word on this issue, Public Relations executive Sandra Fong Young, who frequently blogs about AP style and word usage, looks to a higher power.

“Just now, I checked the King James Bible and judgment is spelled without the ‘e’ there,” she said.


Luckily, we now all have until 2012 to work on our spelling.