Ageing or Aging: Which is Correct?

Is it ageing or aging? To understand, you need to know the major native dialects of English and have a grasp of the formation of nouns and adjectives from verbs. There we can help!

The march of time is relentless, but have you been ageing or aging? Which is the correct form or preferred spelling? 

English spelling can be difficult for both natives and those just learning the language. Native dialects and linguistic differences rooted in history lead to words with the same meaning being spelled differently and words that sound the same having wildly different meanings.

When it comes to ageing vs. aging, both are correct and have the same definition. It just depends on whether you are writing in standard English or American English.

Age is just a number. Life and aging are the greatest gifts that we could possibly ever have.

Cicely Tyson

In this guide, we explore the origin of the word age, the rules by which we form nouns and adjectives from verbs with regard to ageing or aging, and the correct way to use both with examples.

Check out our homophones word list for examples of words that sound the same when spoken out loud but have very different meanings.

Ageing or Aging: What’s the Difference?

As it turns out, both forms are correct. The different spelling comes down to the major native dialects of English. In England and the United Kingdom, where British English or standard English is spoken, ageing is used, while aging is preferred in North America, where American English is used.

Ageing is also favored in New Zealand and by Australian speakers as well. So, the preferred spelling will depend on your target audience.

However, as often happens, non-native speakers may use a mixture of British and American spelling for words, depending on the way they learn English. When it comes to ageing vs. aging, the latter has lately enjoyed the upper hand. Aging is more widespread, perhaps due to the prevalence of U.S. movies and music.

While in the case of ageing and aging, the difference is a matter of dialect, the same cannot be said for other words. Many words can have different meanings despite being spelled similarly and pronounced the same, such as foreword or forward.

It is worth mentioning that “ageism” is the correct form in all English-speaking languages. 

What is the Meaning of Age and Aging?

Ageing or aging
The two words can also be used to describe an object or a group for example, “an aging car”

Ageing and aging are related to the concept of a lifespan and describe the aging process. It is a term often used to describe people who have reached middle age and beyond. 

The two words can also be used to describe an object or a group, such as:

  • An aging car
  • An aging structure
  • An aging population  

Origin and Pronunciation of the Word

The word ageing or aging come to us from Middle English (Old French), based on the Latin aevum meaning age or passage of time. Both ageing and aging are pronounced the same way, as “ay-jing.”

What Are Suffixes?

Suffixes are parts of words, or bound morphemes, that are added to a base word to modify its meaning. This includes suffixes that are added to indicate when an action takes place. Examples of suffixes include:

  • -ed
  • -er,
  • -es
  • -end
  • -tion
  • -ity

and of course

  • -ing

When a suffix is added, the form of the verb changes. In the U.S., adding -ing to age causes the e to drop, resulting in aging. In the U.K., the e remains, giving us ageing.

Suffixes also serve an essential role in forming past and present participles in other verbs.

Jerunds and Participles

Ageing and aging come about when we alter the base form of the verb age by adding the suffix -ing. The meaning of the word remains the same; however, it becomes a different part of speech. For example, it acts as a noun or adjective, rather than a verb.

This is not the same as conversion, which is a way that words become different parts of speech without a change in form.


A gerund (pronounced JER-und) is a verb which is acting as a noun. In other words, the verb that describes an action, such as age, becomes aging and is made the subject or object of the sentence.

For example:

  • Aging happens to all mortal creatures.
  • Racing has been Sharon’s passion since she was five years old.
  • Learning something new every day is beneficial.

Present Participle

Present participles make a verb act as an adjective or connect with auxiliary verbs to create different tenses.

For example, the verb age becomes an adjective, naming an attribute of the noun population by adding -ing.

  • An aging population poses a challenge to the economy.
  • The approaching deadline hung over the heads of all the people in the office.
  • The glowing embers provided enough light for the older people to see.

Or, the verb connects with an auxiliary verb like be, do, or have, to specify the tense.

  • Right now, the young people are running. (Present continuous)
  • He was teaching yesterday afternoon. (Past continuous)
  • Tomorrow she is going jogging. (Future continuous)

Past Participles

Past participle of the word age
The past participle of age is formed by adding -ed to the base form for example, “He had aged gracefully despite his premature graying”

The past participle is typically formed by adding -ed to the base form of regular verbs. Some examples are:

  • He had aged gracefully despite his premature graying. 
  • They had always loved to swim
  • We had waited for over an hour.

Verbs in the past participle also serve as adjectives, such as:

  • The aged wine was delivered.
  • The boiled potatoes were ready to be served.
  • The painted faces made the sports fans look terrifying. 

Participles are a challenging aspect of English grammar. You can read about them in detail in our article, What is the Past Participle?

Future Perfect Tense

The English language has present (touching, grabbing), past (touched, grabbed), and perfect participles (having touched, having grabbed). It does not have a future participle, so it refers to actions that will be completed at some point in the future in another way. 

Grammatical constructions that combine the auxiliary will have with a past participle can, in this way, form the future perfect tense, and avoid changing the form of the main verb. Examples are:

  • By 2040, the population of Western Europe will have aged considerably. 
  • I will have completed all my tasks by next Friday. 
  • By next year, she will have graduated with honors. 

What is Conversion in Linguistics

In linguistics, conversion is the process through which a word changes from one grammatical role to another while keeping the same form. Through conversion, a noun can become a verb, or the reverse, and so on. A flexible writer can use conversion in creative ways to convey ideas quickly and elegantly.

Some examples are:

  • Noun: Age and age-related issues are often on the minds of older adults.
  • Verb: If you age this type of cheese, it becomes a delicacy.
  • Verb: She couldn’t access the files on her computer.
  • Noun: Access was given to the visitors of the facility.
  • Adjective: The room was empty.
  • Verb: They had to empty the pot before using it again.

English grammar, while complex, is fascinating. If this article has whet your appetite check out our basic grammar rules.


  • Radu has been writing for a decade as a copywriter, journalist, and academic writer. He was nominated for the European Press Prize in 2019 and authored a book on campaign finance and corporate personhood in the United States. Books are Radu’s passion, particularly science fiction, fantasy, historical fiction, and nonfiction. Check out his YouTube channel.