Gluing or Glueing – What’s the Difference?

Some words have more than one correct spelling. Spelling differences between American and British English lead to multiple ways to spell the same words, and sometimes words are spelled differently in different contexts or fixed phrases.

Still, most words can only be spelled one way. Should the present participle of the verb to glue be spelled glueing or gluing?

Since at least 1800, writers have used both of these versions, but only one is technically correct. Continue reading to find out which spelling you should use.

What is the Difference Between Gluing and Glueing?

In this article, I will compare gluing vs. glueing. I will outline which of these is the correct spelling and use it in a few example sentences, so you can see it in its proper context.

Plus, I will include a mnemonic device that you can use to help yourself remember whether to use gluing or glueing in your own writing.

When to Use Gluing

Define glueing and define gluingWhat does gluing mean? Gluing is a verb. It is the present participle of the verb to glue, meaning to stick things together with a certain type of adhesive or to put this type of adhesive on something.

Here are a few example sentences,

  • Mancheski’s fourth-graders are gluing their portraits to construction paper and hanging them on the wall.
  • You will never succeed in carpentry if you are not properly gluing your scarf joints.
  • “Why are you gluing your sister’s hair to the back of her chair?” asked Tom’s father.
  • In a sign of the times, officials in Hong Kong are gluing down bricks ahead of a visit by a top Chinese official, a move reportedly aimed at stopping protesters from turning pieces of pavement into projectiles. –The Washington Post

When to Use Glueing

What does glueing mean? Glueing is a spelling variant of the same word, but it is an incorrect variant. Glueing is not the accepted spelling of this word in either American or British English.

For reference, here is a graph that shows the relative usage glueing vs. gluing across all English language communities since 1800,

Gluing versus glueing

Some writers have used glueing since 1800, but not many, because it is wrong.

As a point of interest, the American and British English graphs, individually, show similar patterns, meaning neither the Americans nor the English approve of the spelling glueing.

how do you spell gluing

Definition of gluing definition of glueing definition

The above charts show American and British English, respectively, books since 1800. In American English, gluing has been the predominate spelling for much longer than England, where gluing began to seriously diverge from glueing in the last half of the 20th century.

Trick to Remember the Difference

glueing versus gluing grammarYou should always use gluing because it is the only accepted spelling. Glueing is always an error.

Since glueing contains the letter E, which is the same letter that appears at the beginning of the word error, the letter that these words share is a powerful hook to remind yourself that glueing is an error.

Summary

Is it gluing or glueing? If you are leaving directions for a spouse for a household chore, spare yourself the embarrassment of a typo. There is only one spelling for the present participle of glue.

  • Gluing is the correct spelling of the word.
  • Glueing is a misspelling.

Don’t forget—you can always check back with this article any time you need a quick refresher. And for any other confusing words, you can see our main confusing words page.