Programing Or Programming? Learn The Correct Spelling (All Countries)

When adding the suffix “-ing” to the end of words to form the present participle, we must follow certain rules. Two-syllable words like “program” take the final consonant (M) twice before “-ing.” However, both “programing” and “programming” are correct, and this article will explain that.

“Programing” Or “Programming”: Which Is Correct?

“Programming” is the correct spelling variation of the word that is most common to use. “Programing” is a spelling variation, though it’s rare that anyone will use that spelling form. Both words mean to partake in the activity of writing computer programs.

"Programing" Or "Programming": Which Is Correct?

You can refer to the following list to see what the most common spelling variation for each of these languages is:

  • US: Programming
  • UK: Programming
  • Canada: Programming
  • Australia: Programming

“Programing” is rarely (if ever) used in any of these countries.

The definition of “programming,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “the activity or job of writing computer programs.”

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What Is the difference between programing and programming?

It might help you to learn a little more about the words individually, but this only applies when the two words are different. In the case of “programing” and “programming,” they both mean the same thing.

The difference between the two words is only based on spelling. Otherwise, they mean the same thing, and it’s more likely that people will use “programming” with two “M”s as the spelling variation.

What’s interesting is that when we refer to the meaning of “programming,” we always come back to the word “program.” We can analyze the use of this word to find out why we use the “-ming” suffix.

Usually, with two-syllable words, we include the final consonant twice when we stress the second syllable. For example:

  • Occur
  • Occurring

However, in the case of “program,” we stress the first syllable (“pro”). That usually means that we won’t double up on the final consonant letter in the phrase; for example:

  • Harbor
  • Harboring

So, theoretically, the following is correct:

  • Program
  • Progaming

Of course, this isn’t the case because all English-speaking countries opt for the double “M” variation of the spelling. Part of the reason for this is that it looks better written down (since “programing” doesn’t look like a correctly spelled word).

Another reason might be related to how we use the spelling “programme” in a similar way. Since this spelling variation of “program” uses two “M”s in it, we might simply drop the “E” and add “-ing” to the end of it, which helps us explain the spelling.

Programing or programming in US

We can take a much closer look at the usage of the words by comparing multiple countries with each other. It’s possible to look at direct usage of the words between American and British English (and a few others too).

According to this graph, “programming” is the only form used in US English. There was a brief period between 1950 and 1980 where “programing” was also a substitute for the spelling, but after that, it hasn’t been seen again.

Programing or programming in US

According to The Macmillan Dictionary, the spelling is “programming” in US English.

Interestingly, the spelling “programme” doesn’t exist in American English. It’s a British English form, so they can’t say that they’re using that to create the double “M” spelling variation.

We can look at this graph to show that “program” is the only correct spelling variation in American English. There has hardly been a mention of “programme” in any form over the last two centuries.

Program or programme in US

From the above graph, it’s clear that US English utilizes the two-syllable word rule while getting the stress of the word round the wrong way. The reason for this might be related to them keeping it more in line with the rest of the world.

It’s much easier for people to understand your language and spelling variations when they are the same as other English variations. However, it’s not like American English to want to stick to the usual spellings, so this might not be the exact reason.

The reason that “program” is correct and “programme” is incorrect is that American English likes to streamline their spellings and make it much easier for natives to read and write.

“Programme” is a direct link to the origin of the word (which we’ll get to later). American English removed the redundant “-ME” at the end of the word and were left with “program,” which helped them to show how to spell the word.

They might have decided to keep the present participle spelling “programming” after this, though, since the double “M” makes it easier to follow on a page.

Programming or programming in UK

According to this graph, “programming” is the only form used in UK English. There have never been any instances in the past where “programing” was used, as they only stick to the present participle of the word “programme.”

Programming or programming in UK

According to Lexico UK, the spelling is “programming” in UK English.

The relationship between the British English word “programme” and the present participle “programming” is what’s most important here. There are no cases where “programing” with one “M” is correct in British English because of it.

We can look at the following graph to show you how “programme” is more popular in British English than “program.” While both words are used, “programme” is slightly more popular.

Program or programme in UK

The only reason that “program” is used in British English is because of the increasing popularity of using certain American English terms (like “program”). However, British English still likes to keep its spellings close to the root words (if possible).

Since “programme” comes from Greek and Latin roots, British English tries to keep the double “M” spelling to show this. That means they’ll always use the double “M” in the present participle spelling, making “programming” the only correct form to use.

Programming or programming in Canada

While Canada is its own country (north of the USA), it still uses its own language, known as Canadian English. However, a lot of Canadian English is traced right back to British English.

Canadian English very rarely diverts from British English, and there are no differences here when we’re looking at “programming” and “programing.”

In Canadian English, “programming” with two “M”s is the more popular choice. “Programme” is also slightly more popular, since they also use the British English rules for writing.

According to The Collins English Dictionary, the spelling is “programming” for Canadian English (since they use British English).

While American English likes to turn away from the original spellings of words in favor of streamlining and simplifying the language, Canadian English makes it a habit to keep the original spellings as close to the root words as possible.

Programming or programming in Australia

Finally, we’ll look at Australian English, though the results are much the same as British and Canadian English.

In Australian English, “programming” is the most popular spelling choice. “Programing” is never used.

According to the Macquarie Dictionary, the spelling is “programming” is Australian English.

Interestingly, while “programming” is more popular in Australian English, they spell “program” the same way as American English (by dropping the “-ME” at the end of the word).

Australian English also works to simplify their language for their speakers, which removes them slightly from the original spellings.

Which spelling should you choose if you are from a non-English speaking country?

If you’re not from an English-speaking country, we have an easy solution for you.

You should use “programming” no matter what country you’re from.

If you’re learning English and struggling with the two spellings, just remember that “Programing” with one “M” is never used. It’s rare you’ll ever come across it, and when you do, it’s most likely a spelling mistake or error on the writer’s part.

Programmed or programed?

We can also look at the rules if we removed the “-ing” suffix and added the “-ed” suffix. This turns it into the past participle, but the rules still apply.

Even though the tense has changed, “programmed” is still the most popular word here. The spelling “programed” is incorrect in all the languages we’ve mentioned in this article.

Again, even though American and Australian English use “program” with one “M,” they still add “-med” to the end of the word when writing in the past participle.

British and Canadian English doesn’t have to work as hard. Since they already use “programme” as the correct spelling, they add “-ed” to the end. There is already an “E” at the end of “Programme,” so they only need a “-d” suffix for the end of the word.

Etymology of the word “program” and how it relates to the preferred spelling today

Finally, let’s look at where the word came from, and perhaps that’ll explain why we have the preferred spelling of “programming” today.

“Program” comes from Greek. “Pro” (before) and “graphein” (write) were combined to become “prographein” and then “programma.” Here, the two “M”s are present in the spelling.

Since the etymology of the word is “programma,” it makes sense that we wanted to keep the spelling variation of “programming” with two “M”s as close to the original as possible.