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Aluminium vs. Aluminum

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2:35 min read
  Angbeen Chaudhary  —  Grammar Tips
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English is a complicated language and it may confuse its learners and native speakers alike due to some very similar words or words that have more than one spellings. Aluminium and aluminum are an example of such words and many people confuse themselves in trying to understand the difference between the two words. Consider the examples below:

Next to aluminum, tin was found to be the most effective of the metals enumerated above.

Owing to the great weight of stones, their cost and their liability of being fractured in the press, zinc plates, and more recently aluminium plates, have largely taken the place of stone.

Which of these sentences carry the right spellings of the word? This article will throw light on both the words and what are the (if any) differences between them.


Aluminium originated in early 19th century: from alumina + -ium. Neither term is superior to the other, nor both are etymologically and logically justifiable. Aluminum is older, while aluminium is more consistent with other element names such as helium, lithium, magnesium, and so on (though let’s not forget there are other -um elements—molybdenum, tantalum, and platinum).

Aluminium as noun:

Alumiunium is used as a noun in English language where it is the chemical element of atomic number 13, a light silvery-grey metal.

Use of Alumiunium:

Aluminium is the preferred spelling outside North America. When you are using the term for English or Australian audience, these are the spellings that you should use.


This sleek duo are both constructed from aluminium. [Financial Times (U.K.)]

It feels disloyal to English to point out that it is an alien thread, a strand of aluminium running through the tapestry of our national consciousness. [Irish Times]

Aluminium vs. Aluminum

Mr Howes said the contract was for 80 tonnes of aluminium extrusions. [Sydney Morning Herald]

The Airport police on Tuesday arrested three people for stealing aluminium parts worth Rs 3.60 lakh. [Times of India]

Use of Aluminum:

Aluminum is the American and Canadian spelling for the silver-white metallic element (number 13 on the periodic table) abundant in the earth’s crust. When you are using the term for American or Canadian audience, these are the spellings that you should use.


Aluminum has replaced steel in roof panels, saving another 15 pounds. [New York Times]

Aluminum shields fashioned from the remains of the Twin Towers have been on Mars with the rovers Spirit and Opportunity since 2004. []

The exterior is covered entirely in aluminum foil. [USA Today]

Also of importance for the north, the value of aluminum exports to China increased by 176 per cent. [Vancouver Sun (article now offline)]

Aluminium or aluminum:

Aluminium and aluminum are both the spellings for the same word that are interchangeable depending on the region of world you are living in. If you belong you UK, New Zealand or Australia, you should use aluminium. Whereas is you belong to America or Canada, your preferred spellings will be aluminum. The important this is that both the spellings are acceptable and whichever you choose, you should stick to that in your whole article. 

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