CS Sealey

New Zealand-based sub-editor, writer and author

The difference between ageing and aging

If I recall correctly, I was taught in primary school to drop the ‘e’ and add ‘ing’. This works for words like bake (baking), file (filing) and slide (sliding). However, just as the English language is prone to do, there are exceptions. How does one spell the past participle and gerund of age? Is it ageing or aging?

Like many instances in the English language where there are two conflicting spellings of the same word, it’s often down to location or nationality.

Aging is the spelling most used in Canada and the United States.

Ageing is the spelling commonly accepted everywhere else.

However, it’s not uncommon to find aging used in Australia. That just goes to show how globalised the world is getting!

While I personally use British English, depending on where you live, that might not be acceptable. If you live somewhere in North America, stick with your national spelling guidelines and use aging. However, if you live in another English-speaking country, British English is the more commonly accepted form of spelling, therefore, use ageing.

But remember—above all else, be consistent! Choose one spelling and stick with it.

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