What is the difference between “packing” and packaging”?

I think this is a simple question, but it confuses me when I am creating sentences. I make a few searches on Google and find out that the words are not synonymous.

But in what context I will use “packing” and “packaging” in the correct way?

Answer

You’ll often see P&P as an additional costed item on commercial websites, but they don’t always say what it stands for. I’m an eBay user, and I can assure you that they show no consistency whatsoever about whether it’s Post or Postage, and Packing or Packaging.

Also note that Google Books claims 31K instances of post and packing, and 17K post and packaging (plus 125K/11K for postage and packing/packaging). They’re all in common use, and it’s inconceivable they mean different things.

So for that context, at least, I think it’s fair to say packing, packaging are indeed synonyms. It’s pointless trying to disambiguate by saying packing is the process, and packaging is the material. Most people are like eBay, and don’t really make a distinction; some people would make precisely the opposite distinction.


For other contexts there are a wide range of distinctions. Software application packaging, for example, is never called application packing, and software packing alignment is never packaging alignment.

In short, the two words are sometimes synonyms, and sometimes not. Within the confines of an ELL answer it would be impossible to summarise all the different contexts where only one term is “correct”. The best advice I could give is…

always use the simpler packing (whether it’s as a gerund/noun, or a “continuous aspect” verb) unless in your specific context you’ve already noticed that most other people are using packaging.

Attribution
Source : Link , Question Author : humungs , Answer Author : FumbleFingers

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