Speaking and writing English is easy, isn’t it? Not always, English is a tough language to learn for many, and not just because of its structure. American and British English may sound the same (barring accents), but how words are spelled causes a lot of confusion.
Ageing vs. aging is a perfect example, and if spell check underlines one over the other, or you are second-guessing yourself, you aren’t alone. Luckily, both spellings are correct, but one is much more acceptable to American English use than the other. Let’s discover how to use it correctly.
Is it Ageing or Aging?
Aging and ageing are the same word spelled in two different ways. The UK keeps the “e” when adding a suffix, while North Americans drop the “e”. Use aging when writing American English; use ageing in The UK, New Zealand, and Australia.
Rules of Suffixes
Suffixes are the letters added after a word to help designate tense. For example, when you add a suffix to a verb, you will use -ed, -er, -es, -end, or -ing to provide whether the action took place in the past, present, or future.
The word aging, derived from age, drops the “e” according to English language rules of suffixes. These rules are used within North America (Canada included), but overseas spelling is influenced by British English and leaves the “e” when suffixes are added.
Even though ageing has been the correct spelling in the UK, aging is becoming more popular.
When to Use Aging
Aging can be an adjective, a verb, or a gerund, depending on its use. It is the preferred spelling in American English.
Aging as an adjective describes the noun that is aging. For example, The aging gentleman enjoyed telling stories of his youth to his grandchildren.
Aging as a verb takes on the present participle form of “to age”. For example, He was aging before our eyes.
Aging as a gerund means it functions as a noun. For example, Aging isn’t a bad thing because it means you have had more time to live.
When to Use Ageing
Ageing means the same as aging, but is the preferred spelling in The UK, Australia, and New Zealand. Grammatically, it is also the same.
How to Remember the Difference
Struggling to remember which drops the “e” and which doesn’t?
Aging is for American readers. Ageing is for British readers and includes the letter “e”, as in England.
Ways to Use Aging and Ageing Sentences
For example, these major publications use the preferred American and Canadian spelling of aging:
We need promotional campaigns to make aging seem more appealing to young people. [Los Angeles Times]
Moncton officials say the city’s underground maze of aging water pipes were a factor in this week’s water main break that forced a boil order on roughly 30,000 residents. [CBC]
Like any aging starlet, Hollywood’s annual festival of self-congratulatory excess keeps getting nipped and tucked in an attempt to remain relevant. [USA Today]
And these British and Australian publications prefer ageing:
A doctor who gave her sister a massive dose of an experimental anti-ageing drug which triggered a fatal allergic reaction has been struck off. [Daily Mail]
The ageing of the population will increasingly shift the balance of power towards all employees. [Sydney Morning Herald]
The ageing American space shuttle Discovery has arrived back on earth after its last mission to the international space station. [BBC News]
Ageing and aging are different spellings for the same word. Aging is a popular American use, while ageing is used in the UK. Both are acceptable, but aging is more popular overall and is seeing more use overseas.