The difference between “Lightening” and “Lightning”

Lightening vs. Lightning? One would soothe you, and the other would scare you. Here’s why.

Valentina Dordevic
Valentina Dordevic

Imagine reading Frankenstein by the pale candlelight. You don’t see the letters well, and the atmosphere starts being uncomfortable. Lightening your room would help. Lightning, on the other hand, might give you chills.

The short answer to the question in the title is: both are correct. But it doesn’t mean that you can use them interchangeably. The words with and without the letter “e” have totally different meanings.

Lightening vs. Lightning? One would soothe you, and the other would scare you. Here’s why.

Spelling lightening — meanings and examples

Lightening means illuminating, brightening, lighting up, or making bright. Other meanings include cheering up and reducing weight. Regardless of different meanings, the word “lightening” is always a verb.

Examples of Lightening in a Sentence

In the sentences below, the word lightening means brightening, illuminating, lighting up.

It’s too dark over here; let’s lighten the room.
Lightening the space is an important aspect of interior design.
She used bleach to lighten a pair of jeans.

In the next sentence, lightening means cheering up.

Her sense of humor lightened the atmosphere.

Another meaning of lightening is reducing weight or load (making something more lightweight).

Manufacturers of newer generation mobile phones did a great job lightening the weight of batteries while preserving their capacity.

Spelling lightning — meanings and examples

In its basic meaning, the word lightning is a noun that refers to an electric phenomenon: the bolt of light during a storm. Other meanings are derived from it. Lightning as an adjective can be used to describe something related to lightning (such as a lightning storm). Also, we use the adjective lightning to describe speed or pace that’s as fast as lightning.

Examples of Lightning in a Sentence

Let’s begin with some examples of the basic meaning of lightning (noun).

The night was stormy, and the flashes of lightning were terrifying.
The baby couldn’t fall asleep because of the lightning in the sky.

As we’ve seen, the word lightning can be an adjective. Here are examples:

They ate the chocolate at lightning speed.
A lightning storm is approaching our city.

Lightening vs. Lightning

We’ve seen that both spellings are correct as these are different words. One is a verb, and the other can be a noun or adjective. The meanings are different as well.

To make the right word choices in the future, remember that lightning is fast, and it won’t bother with an extra letter.

EnglishWhich is correct

Valentina Dordevic

Hello! My name is Valentina. Book digesting is my specialty. I transform book ideas into easy-to-follow summaries, articles, study guides, reviews, essays, analyses, slides, or e-books.


Cecilia Gigliotti

I have extensive experience writing in a variety of genres, from literary novels to music reviews to academic articles. I appreciate the power of words.

Milena Lazova

I'm an ESL teacher with over 7 years of experience in providing original content. I really like writing educational articles which may help others learn some aspects of English.

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