The English words lightening and lightning are only one letter apart in spelling and pronunciation, but worlds apart in meaning. The lightning bolt of comprehension you get after reading this lesson will start lightening your confusion.
Lightening is the present participle of the verb "to lighten," and refers to the process of making something lighter in color. Lightening is the opposite of darkening, or making something darker.
Lightening also refers to the process of making something lighter in weight. Lightening is the opposite of making something heavier.
Lightning is a noun – it refers to the meteorological phenomenon that is followed by thunder.
The Bottom Line
The confusion between lightening and lightning is due to their similar spelling and pronunciation. Just remember that to be quick like lightning, you need to lighten your load by leaving out the e.