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Gage vs. Gauge

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  Angbeen Chaudhary  —  Grammar Tips
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English has a lot of confusing words in it. Words that are spelled the same but pronounced differently; words that are spelled differently but pronounced the same; and you can’t forget those words that have such similar meanings it’s difficult to tell them apart. Today’s two words have the same pronunciations, but they have different meanings and functions in a sentence.

In today’s post, I will highlight the differences between gage vs. gauge. I will define each word, use it in an example sentence, and provide examples from outside authorities like newspapers and magazines.


The word gage originated from Middle English: from Old French gage (noun), gager (verb), of Germanic origin; related to wage and wed. The word gauge originated from Middle English (denoting a standard measure): from Old French gauge (noun), gauger (verb), variant of Old Northern French jauge (noun), jauger (verb), of unknown origin.

Gage as noun:

Gage is used as a noun which means a valued object deposited as a guarantee of good faith.

Bring a sufficient gage or don’t bother coming along.

Gage as verb:

Gage is also used as a verb where it means to offer (an object or one's life) as a guarantee of good faith.

A guide sent to them by the headman of this place gaged his life as a forfeit if he failed.

Gauge as noun:

Gauge is a noun which represents an instrument that measures and gives a visual display of the amount, level, or contents of something.

He brought in a fuel gauge.

Gauge as verb:

Gauge is also used as a verb which means to estimate or determine the amount, level, or volume of.

Gage vs. Gauge

Astronomers can gauge the star's intrinsic brightness.

To measure the dimensions of (an object) with a gauge is also known as gauge.

When dry the assemblies can be gauged exactly.


With comparative gages like the one in question, a lot can be done to ensure that parts go into the gage the same way every time. [MMS Online]

Mardian’s rain gage holds 5 inches and was overflowing Sunday morning. [Aberdeen News]

Labour MP Lucy Powell said she would be tabling a series of parliamentary questions to gauge the true extent to which private nurseries were opting not to offer free places to two-year-olds from deprived backgrounds. [The Guardian]

The benchmark equity gauge climbed 1.5 percent last week for the best gain since June. [BNN Canada]

People who are obsessed with getting the largest stretch possible are known in the business as a “gauge queen” or “gauge king”, according to Fox. [BBC]

Ace photographer Gregg Porteous caught Manly front-rower Josh Starling appearing to gouge Souths forward Dave Tyrrell in Friday night’s match at the SCG. [Daily Telegraph]

Gauge or gage:

Is it gauge or gage? If you were to choose based purely on probability, gauge would win every time. Gage is the spelling of an obsolescent word meaning a pledge, a challenge, etc. Gauge is the spelling to use when you measure measurement, estimate, or standard.


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