March 16, 2024 Eliza Arcudia 0Comment

When you type the word “beginning,” do you ever stop and wonder if it’s spelt “begining” instead? You’re not by yourself! As a U.S. native English speaker, I find it hard to tell the difference between “beginning” and “begin.”

Don’t worry, though; this piece will make things clear. The background of “beginning” is fun to learn about. We’ll look at where it came from when to use it instead of “begin,” and why “beginning” became the official spelling in American English dictionaries.

If you’re a writer, a language geek, or just want to get rid of that little doubt once and for all, stay with me and we’ll figure out the difference between “beginning” and “beginning”!

Following the Roots of “Beginning” and “Beginning”

“begining” comes from older languages, like many other English words. The oldest word is “beginning,” which comes from Old English and means to begin or start something. This turned into “biginnan” and then “begining” around the year 1000 AD. Before it became “beginning” in modern English, the word was written as “beginnynge” a lot in Middle English from the 12th century to the 15th. During this change, the word form ending in “-ing” came into being, which is used to describe starting something.

Because this is not the same as the word “begin,” the spelling had to be changed. To sum up, the model for our current “beginning” has been around for more than a thousand years!

On the other hand, “beginning” seems to be a much newer form that first appeared in American English works in the early 1800s. Language experts aren’t sure where it came from, but it might have started as a mistake that spread on its own. Or maybe a planned spelling mistake made by a creative person who wanted to match the way it was spoken.

When Should You Use “Beginning” in American English?

These days, “beginning” is the usual way to spell words in American English. All of the big dictionaries, including Merriam-Webster, American Heritage, and Cambridge, say that “beginning” is not correct and “beginning” is correct.

As an example:

“A spaceship showed up at the start of the movie.” “God made the heavens and the earth in the beginning.” These trustworthy dictionaries and style guides say that “beginning” is the only correct spelling for official writing.

  • The Stylebook of the Associated Press.
  • How to Write in Chicago Style.
  • There is an American Psychological Association (APA Style).

To follow the rules, you should always use “beginning” instead of “begin” when writing for school, work, or publication. You can be more creative with your writing in less formal places like social media, but keep in mind that “beginning” might confuse your readers and be seen as wrong by some. The best thing to do is to use the standard “beginning” to make things clear.

Why does “beginning” have to be the only correct answer?

So, one thing is that English spelling and speech don’t always match up in a predictable way. Just look at how often we mispronounce things like ‘half’ and ‘queue’ because of the way they are spelled. It’s not always accurate to match letters to sounds because the language came from many places, such as Germanic languages and French.

Another problem is that the ending “-ing” shows that this is a word form that is different from the verb “begin.” Changing it to “beginning” changes the meaning of the word in a basic way. The English language has a long-standing habit of changing verbs to words with “-ing,” so we can’t just switch between “beginning” and “begin.”

Reasons Not to Use “Begining”

The non-standard form “beginning” may be used on purpose in poems and lyrical writing to fit a rhyme scheme or rhythm. When it comes to music and poems, words tend to be more flexible. In the past, English writing wasn’t so set in stone. There are texts from hundreds of years ago that use all kinds of different spellings.

So, “begin” does show up in older works, but it looks like “beginning” was still the most common choice. Some creative writers like to make up their own ways to spell words. If you’re writing an experimental story and want to make things interesting, spell it “begining.” Just remember that “beginning” is still the normal spelling for anything formal in 21st-century English, from a work memo to a dissertation. Don’t change the old!

Some examples of how to use “beginning” in a casual way

  • “Wow, I can’t believe summer is already over!” “Can’t wait for beach trips!”
  • Welcome to a fresh start in 2023! This year, what do you want to achieve?”
  • “I quit that awful job at last.” Having a new start makes me feel so free!”
  • “To my dear James, We are still in the beginning of our love story. I’m excited to see where this trip takes us.

Here are some official ways to use “beginning”

  • The business looks at its sales data and sets new goals at the start of each fiscal year.
  • Genesis says that God made the heavens and the world in the beginning.
  • Research and development will be the main focus of the early stages of the project.
  • The first chapters of the book introduce the setting and important characters.
  • In my beginning Spanish class, we learn basic grammar and words.

In conclusion

To sum up, “beginning” and “begining” may look like they can be spelt the same at first glance, but “beginning” has been the standard spelling in American English for a long time. In formal writing in the U.S., “beginning” is always seen as the only right form and “begin” is always seen as wrong.

Understanding where this difference comes from and why it exists helps us learn when and how to use it. I hope this explanation has cleared up any confusion about these two hard spellings! Now you’re ready to write, and you should always start at the “beginning.”