"If the doctor told me I had six minutes to live, I'd type a little faster." --Isaac Asimov

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Pet peeves: dropping an E

I'm currently reading By the Sea by Henry Gee (yes, that rhymes). It's a hugely entertaining novel that is something you'd expect if Dickens were alive today and decided to write a Gothic whodunit.

One of the minor points about the book that adds to my reading pleasure is that Henry spells acknowledgement and judgement with an "e" after the "g", the way they should be. This is one of my pet peeves...the e denotes that the g is a "soft" g and also avoids the ugliness of having three consonants in a row (dgm) were it dropped.

I grew up with the Queen's English, so perhaps this fixation of mine is not entirely surprising. I adjusted to American English well enough when I moved here many years ago (except for another pet peeve: the American pronunciation of "been". There are two Es there for a reason, people.). However, in the past couple of years, I've seen many British publishers dropping the essential E, even that last bastion of civilization, Nature Publishing Group. Clearly, the infection has spread across the pond.

What's next? Why stop at the noun--why not "acknowledg" or ”judg"? Thank you, Noah Webster.


Richard Wintle said...

I am with you, believe me. :)

Good to hear a positive review of Dr. Gee's Magnum Opus. On my list of things to buy, right after his Jacob's Ladder.

cromercrox said...

You are too kind. I do find though that my spelling is becoming somewhat mid-Atlantic in my old age. For example I still use 'colour' over 'color' even though it irritates me. It seems very archaic, like Spenserian 'errour' for 'error'.

kdoyle said...

For the most part, I'm okay with American spelling--there's a tidy economy about it that’s gratifying. These few instances, though, continue to rankle.

Stratoz said...

and also, I dig going to the theatre

kdoyle said...

That one seems to have made a comeback :)

Richard Wintle said...



I've finally gotten to the point where I don't correct these when proofreading (ok, I mean I don't correct theater, meter, color, and labor) documents written on this side of the US:Canada border, except when they're inconsistent in the same document. Believe me, that's an accomplishment for me. I still spell them the British/Canadian way myself, though.

digillette said...

As someone whose last name is frequently butchered because the "soft G" is such a difficult concept for the average person, I'm with you. Maybe that makes me un-American, but it just makes sense to include the "e".

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