aging vs ageing

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  • Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Ageing (British and Australian English) and aging (American and Canadian English)
    Mmmm ... I don't think so - I'm much more likely to write aging than ageing:D.

    That said, insertion of a not-really-necessary-'e' between a 'c'/'g' and an 'i' has always intrigued me: I've found myself hesitating over it quite often (though not in the word aging;)).

    So now I'll have to go and see if I can find a rule, or at least some guidance.

    I may be some time....
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Situation report after 10 minutes' googling: the BBC English language site says that ageing is the more common form despite the fact that the norm is to drop the final 'e' when forming the participle - quote:
    Rage becomes raging as in: 'The storm was raging.'
    Stage becomes staging as in: 'They were staging 'Macbeth' in Stratford when I was there.'

    Pretty unhelpful, I think:mad:.

    I'll keep hunting....
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    It's to do with the shortness of the word: hence, ageing and likeable. No removal of the 'magic <e>' (as they say to preschoolers) for me either although they do break the rule about the magic <e>.
     

    boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    I remember someone trying to teach me a rule on the "magic E" through the years, but I see now how miserably she failed :)

    I remember most of the time it involved verbs ending in -nge, like cringe, hinge, whinge, impinge, where it is preferred to keep the "e", but not necessarily so. Or was it the other way round ? In essence, I think both forms are correct in such cases:
    hingeing - hinging :tick:
    whingeing - whinging :tick:
    cringeing - cringing :tick:
    impingeing - impinging :tick:

    However:
    singeing :tick: - singing :cross: because of the obvious confusion with sing-singing

    I think in the case of ageing-aging, unlike singeing-singing, nothing changes in either case, the pronunciation is the same, so both versions should be acceptable in all varieties of English. Keeping the "e" is probably a matter of preference. I would, others wouldn't.

    Then, again, EyesCrossing says it is a BE/AE thing. I was not aware of that :eek:
     

    boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    Unfortunately, they don't agree with you in Oxford.........

    Such an easy language to write rules for :D
    Oxford? :confused: Is that a place? :D

    Well, no dictionary would agree, I suppose. Besides, as I said, they obviously failed in teaching me a rule. :) But that does not change the fact that Google returns 5,000 results for "cringeing" and (only) 206 for "impingeing" from UK sites alone which, given the frequency of these words, should be more than just a coincidence.

    Maybe what I said reflected my observations on how some of these are actually spelt (by some). And, certainly, the "e" does make it easier to read the word properly.

    But by no means am I in the business of writing rules... :)
     

    Einstein

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    Interesting discussion. I grew up tending to write "ageing", but more recently I've dropped the "e".
    In general, in "ng" words the purpose of the "e" is to show that the "g" is not part of the "ng" combination, so logically "cringing", "impinging" and "binging" ought to have an "e" to show that they don't rhyme with "singing". In fact as particularly "binging" is not a word I often use (if ever), my first instinct on seeing it would be to make it rhyme with "singing" and wonder what it meant! But at the same time they look weird with the "e"!
    So no conclusive contribution from me, I'm afraid:(.
     

    Istriano

    Senior Member
    Croatian
    You seem to have missed the point made previously. There is no consistent rule and "ageing" is the preferred form in BE.
    ''International English selection:
    Aging is the spelling for communicating with a worldwide audience, because it is standard in the US, familiar enough in the UK, and underpinned by one of the fundamental rules of English spelling.''

    source:
    The Cambridge Guide to English Usage,
    Pam Peters, 2004.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    ''International English selection:
    Aging is the spelling for communicating with a worldwide audience, because it is standard in the US, familiar enough in the UK, and underpinned by one of the fundamental rules of English spelling.''

    source:
    The Cambridge Guide to English Usage,
    Pam Peters, 2004.
    I am not clear as to the point you are making. All you are doing is to quote one writer's opinion in a style guide without your own thought or comment. There is no such thing as "International English". A writer suggests that one spelling should be used, but that does not make it correct or in some way better. I use British English. In common with many other users of British English, I spell the word "ageing". My usage is supported by the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, which puts "ageing" before "aging". The COED is not a style guide, but a record of how the language is used.

    If I write "ageing" it seems highly unlikely that an American, Bulgarian, Chinese or Afghani who has a reasonable grasp of English will fail to understand me - an American might think me "a quaint Brit" but that is not a reason to change my language.

    The concept of "International English" is ridiculous. How does Pam Peters suggest that I should spell "colour"?
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Pam Peters was Professor in Macquarie University. Obviously, there is no authority for English in the world. I will probably continue to write ageing.
     

    Istriano

    Senior Member
    Croatian
    Those who prefer ageing would say
    that age needs to keep its e because two letters are
    insufficient to maintain its identity. The argument is
    somewhat undermined by the existence of words like
    axing and icing. Aging itself is not new, but has been
    in print for well over a century, according to the
    Oxford Dictionary. It seems high time to affirm the
    regular spelling for all applications of the word.
    source:
    The Cambridge Guide to English Usage,
    Pam Peters, 2004.
    Cambridge University Press
     
    Last edited:

    mplsray

    Senior Member
    source:
    The linguistic arguments for aging are clear.
    The Cambridge Guide to English Usage,
    Pam Peters, 2004.
    Cambridge University Press
    The linguistic argument for ageing is, in my opinion, even clearer: It is used by those intending to write standard English. Usage is king.

    From The Columbia Guide to Standard American English by Kenneth G. Wilson:

    aging, ageing
    Americans spell the word either way.
     

    Istriano

    Senior Member
    Croatian
    Ageing is not very nice to look at, just like colourise (for which even the Oxford Dictionary recommends colorize instead).

    As for the Oxford Dictionary spelling of aging, it gives these:

    aging in age…the length of time that a person has lived or a thing has existed…

    aging in ageing (also aging)

    …the process of growing old…
    The examples are from the British Oxford, and not from the Canadian or American versions.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Ageing is not very nice to look at,
    May the good Lord preserve me from an argument like this! Nobody would describe fart, fuck, shit or cunt as good-looking or even nice-sounding but they are all perfectly proper English words. From my perspective, ageing is a particularly nice-looking word with the "e" balancing the "g" and providing a smoothly curved bridge to the "i". Far prettier than "aging" - that "gi" combination is so harsh. But that hardly justifies the way I spell it.

    Yes, of course the Oxford gives "ageing (also aging)". That is because it is a dictionary and reflects the way the language is used. Ageing comes first because in British English that is the commoner spelling. Aging is also a correct spelling and probably more common in non-British English.

    You keep quoting Pam Peters as an authority. She is not, she is a distinguished scholar and the owner of an opinion. I believe that she speaks Australian English. I am a speaker of British English and I disagree with her about the spelling of ageing. natkretep and mplsray also appear to disagree with her. Why are we wrong and she right?
     
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