While editing a document for a client last week, I noticed the word gage. This is a valid word, but given the context of the sentence, I was confident the client meant gauge. This sounded like a topic for another difference between post.
Gage is a real word, which is why spellcheckers won’t flag it.
In the United States, “gage” seems to be a commonly accepted spelling of the word, but elsewhere, “gauge” is the most common. Since I’m in Canada, I prefer the “gauge” spelling for everyday usage.
Gauge can be a noun to mean something that measures (fuel gauge, for example). It can also be a verb that means to measure (I gauge there is a pound of hot peppers there).
Gage on the other hand — outside of the United States — is an archaic spelling and usually referred to a pledge of some kind. A knight throwing down his gauntlet to challenge another knight was an example of a gage.
Whatever you do, don’t spell it guage! :)
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