Here’s a quick question for y’all: is guaranty a legit variant of guarantee these days? One of my Famous Blogging Brothers used the old spelling in today’s column and it brought me up short. Dictionaries appear to be OK with it, more or less, although it’s a bit démodé. The phrase “there’s no guaranty” currently has 24 KGhits to 6,680 KGhits for “there’s no guarantee”; the numbers are of course wildly inaccurate but clearly the one with a y is much less common. The n-grams tell a similar story.

What do you think—if you were editing that column, would you have insisted on the double-e?


One Response to “Guaranty/Guarantee”

  1. Jessica Bernstein

    As stated by the legal website, “ANSWER: Guarantee, the broader and more common term, is both a verb and a noun. The narrower term, guaranty, today appears mostly in banking and other financial contexts; it seldom appears in nonlegal writing.”
    Therefore. if your brother used guaranty as a verb, he was incorrect. If he used it as a noun in a general sense, he was merely awkward. However, if he used it as a noun in its legal sense, he was spot on.
    Of course, I was already familiar with this particular spelling quirk, thanks to the two years I spent working as a public affairs specialist for the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.


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