How the Heck Do You Spell “Ton”?

Syllabus Translation MontrealEditing Canadian English has its perils. In particular, the heavy influence of American English is hard to ignore. I recently stumbled across the word “ton” in a Canadian text and thought—how the heck do I spell that?

I investigated and found that, as always, context is everything. Here’s the breakdown:

In Canadian English, this three-letter word gets tossed around in all kinds of texts. And that’s usually okay. “Ton,” used colloquially, simply means a large extent, amount, or number . So it’s safe to say “I have a ton of work to do” or “I have tons of tomatoes in my garden.”

In Canada, “tonne” (also known as a “metric ton”) is a unit of measurement that equals 1,000 kilograms. So if you’re planning on selling your bumper crop of tomatoes at your local farmers market, opt for the double “n” plus “e” spelling.

Noticed any quirky Canadian spellings recently? We’d love to know!

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