Victory of the Inner Victor

victorOh Lord! I am turning into Victor Meldrew!

I was reading The Times the other day.  Next to an article by Lynne Truss on the use of language (I like Lynne Truss, and cited her book “Eats, Shoots and Leaves” in the Northern Territory Supreme Court once in an argument about a bit of statutory construction) was a piece by Daniel Finkelstein in which a word was, in my humble opinion, mispelled.

Obviously, that is not a big deal. So what? Baron Finkelstein is a peer of the realm, and should be allowed to spell how he likes. But it rankled, and I succumbed to the temptation to comment. And then to comment again. And again:

Robert Fenwick Elliott 3 days ago


Is it part of a new drive for irony that this piece appears next to Lynne Truss’ “A language policeman’s lot is not a happy one”.

When Daniel Finkelstein repeatedly writes “judgment” he presumably means “judgement”?

Anthony Bonnici moderator3 days ago


@Robert Fenwick Elliott Hello sir, “judgment” is house style and is correct. So too for that matter is “judgement”.

Robert Fenwick Elliott 3 days ago


@Anthony Bonnici @Robert Fenwick Elliott Both are perfectly good words, but they mean different things, do they not? A “judgment” being a determination of a dispute by a court of law, whereas “judgement” has a non-legal meaning?

Unless, of course, there is an EU directive on the topic?

Anthony Bonnici moderator3 days ago


@Robert Fenwick Elliott I’ve checked a couple of sources online and it is the subject of debate. This is from

Though judgement has risen and fallen in popularity in British English, judgment remains the preferred spelling in British legal proceedings and appears more frequently in written work. Today, judgement is an accepted spelling in British English, but if you stick to judgment, you won’t be judged in the UK or the US.

Or perhaps we will…

Lesley 1 day ago


@Robert Fenwick Elliott

Actually I think ‘Judgment’  is correct.

I enjoyed the article.  I am, of course, still perplexed but now I feel that I’m in good company;   well, at least, in the majority – ie none of us know what it all adds up to!  (see?   – maths now) 

Robert Fenwick Elliott


@Lesley@Robert Fenwick Elliott As you like. Happily, there is no equivalent of the Académie française to prevent us spelling words how we like, as any fule knos. But I think you will find that pretty much everyone who is aware of the difference between the two words will observe it. Thus, an court might consider whether a driver’s judgement had been impaired by drugs, and will follow the prededent of any previous judgment on point. Conversely, those who spell the words the other way around are, I suspect, typically unaware of this distinction.

Could someone please shoot me?

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