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'Weight' or 'Weigh'? What Is the Difference? | Mastering Grammar

(Last Updated: 22 March 2024)


Weight vs Weigh: Understanding the Difference

Have you ever been confused about when to use weight and when to use weigh? Don't worry! This blog post will help you get it right.

Weight

Weight can be either a noun or a verb. As a noun, it refers to how heavy someone or something is, often expressed in units such as pounds or kilograms:

✅ The weight of the package was almost ten pounds.

✅ The doctor advised her to keep track of her weight.

✅ There's a weight limit for baggage on most commercial flights.

✅ The weight of the snow caused the tree branch to snap suddenly.

As a verb, weight means: (1) 'to attach a heavy object to something', or (2) 'to give greater or lesser values to things to show how important each of them is compared with the others':

The fisherman weighted his line with a small lead sinker to ensure it would drop quickly into the water. (sense 1)

The jockey needed to be weighted down with lead to meet the minimum weight requirement for the race. (sense 1)

The tailor weighted the hem of the curtain with small metal chains to ensure it hung straight. (sense 1)

In scientific studies, certain data points are often weighted more heavily depending on their relevance. (sense 2)

Weigh

Weigh is a verb. In the context of measuring mass, it means: (1) 'to have a certain weight', or (2) 'to measure how heavy someone or something is':

✅ The newborn baby weighs eight pounds. (sense 1)

✅ How much do you weigh? (sense 1)

✅ Please weigh the vegetables before you buy them. (sense 2)

✅ The suitcase is too heavy; I need to weigh it before we go to the airport. (sense 2)

In a different context, the verb weigh can also mean 'to consider something carefully before making a decision':

✅ Before accepting the job offer, she took time to weigh the benefits against the long commute.

✅ The jury weighed up all the evidence before reaching a unanimous verdict.

✅ The committee weighed the pros and cons of each proposal before making their final recommendation.

✅ Parents often weigh the impact of their career choices on family life.

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Examples from the Media

Between 1995 and 2011-12, the average weight for men increased 3.9kg to 85.9kg; for women 4.1kg to 71.1kg. —The Sydney Morning Herald (2018)

American Airlines allows, on international routes, two pieces of checked baggage, each with a maximum dimension of 62 inches and a weight of 50 pounds. —The New York Times (2007)

Finland's national airline, Finnair, plans to weigh its passengers – and their carry-on luggage – in a move the company says will improve flight safety. Toronto Sun (2024)

Dr Mert Erogul, a bariatric physician specializing in obesity in New York City, and Dr Neil Floch, a bariatric surgeon in Connecticut, both said it is best to weigh yourself first thing in the morning after you've gone to the bathroom and before you've had anything to eat or drink. —Daily Mail (2024)

Practice

Choose the correct word to complete each sentence.

1. The average male Bengal tiger weights/weighs around 220 kg.

2. Can you weight/weigh this box for me?

3. The production team weighted/weighed the base of the set backdrop to prevent it from tipping over during the play.

4. Losing weight/weigh was his New Year's resolution.

5. He weighted/weighed the option of going back to school against the stable job he currently had.

6. The bridge collapsed under the weight/weigh of the heavy trucks.

7. The package weighted/weighed a ton.

8. To correct the imbalance, the technician weighted/weighed one side of the spinning rotor.

9. When planning her trip, she had to weight/weigh the desire for adventure against her budget constraints.

Answer Key

1. weighs    2. weigh    3. weighted    4. weight    5. weighed    6. weight    7. weighed    8. weighted    9. weigh

Real-World Examples of Misuse

The verb weighs is required.

The verb weighs is required.

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