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! :)

About Kim Siever

I am a copy­writer and copy­ed­i­tor. I blog on writ­ing tips most­ly, but I some­times throw in my thoughts about run­ning a small busi­ness.

Fol­low me on Twit­ter at @hotpepper.

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