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Word comparisons

Note 82 – Comparing ton and tonne

For the background to my writing challenge, please read my first blog by clicking the following link – If you would prefer to dive straight into note 82, then please read on…

Whilst typing the sentence ‘a tonne of ironing’ in my book today, I thought that I’d better check the spelling. The Collins English Dictionary & Thesaurus (my big copy) confirms that ‘tonne’ is the right spelling, or so I thought.  It defines ‘tonne’ as:

“a unit of mass equal to 1000 kilograms or 2206.6 pounds.  Also called (not in technical use use): metric tonne” (I’d say that’s probably slightly bigger than the average pile of ironing!)

If you are now wondering what ‘ton’ means (which I also thought earlier), it has two meanings according to The Collins English Dictionary & Thesaurus:


1. a unit of weight equal to 2240 pounds or 1016.046909 kilograms (British) – also called long ton
2. a unit of weight equal to  2000 pounds or 907.184 kilograms (US & Canada) – also called short ton, net ton

then it confused me by saying…

3. a unit of weight equal to 1000 kilograms (see metrix ton, tonne)

To me, this appeared very similar to the meaning of ‘tonne’ above, so I stopped this section and read the next meaning of ton which is slightly different…


  • a score or achievement of a hundred esp. a hundred miles per hour, as on a motorcycle (chiefly British)

My thoughts:  I’ve decided to spell it as ‘tonne’ in my book, but would also like your thoughts on which one you would use.  This is the first time in my writing challenge that I have had to put the question out there, much like the forums that I have also stumbled upon today.  None of those seemed to come up with any better conclusions either.  Can anyone help with this?   For a start, is a ‘ton’ and a ‘tonne’ equal in weight and can you use either spelling in your writing?

That’s all for today.  As always, I am happy to take requests on the subject of grammar/punctuation/writing tips or similar.  

Until tomorrow…


This blog:

My other blog:

My website: (includes the introduction to my book)

Twitter: @madeirasandra and @tipsandluxuries

Reference list:

The Collins English Dictionary & Thesaurus


About Sandra Madeira

I am a full-time working mum with a passion for writing and inspiring others. Subjects I tend to blog about are life skills, parenting, decluttering, worklife balance, etc. At the moment I am on a decluttering mission creating space in my house, garden and mind. I have challenged myself to do at least ten minutes a day and write about it. Have a good day! Sandra Freelance Writer


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