Spelled or spelt?

09 Jun

I was asked to differentiate this one by a friend who sent me a lovely long list of troublesome pairs.  But this is a simple one: either will do!

“Spelt” is the past tense / past participle of “spell”.  So is “spelled”. Apparently, “spelt” is more usually found in British English.

So there you go!

For more troublesome pairs, click to the right in the category cloud or click here.


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4 responses to “Spelled or spelt?

  1. eliza keating

    June 9, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    Here in the UK definetly spelt would be our spelling..young kids tend to say spelled and would be corrected…good post ..ELiza Keating


    • Liz at Libro

      June 9, 2011 at 10:09 pm

      Hi there, thanks for the reply – I’m in the UK too. I use either but I like to have the rule written down and know what it is!


  2. Gill Rose

    June 10, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    Well, in my British English it’s definitely spelled. Spelt is wheat.

    I suppose it’s learnt and not learned; earnt and not earned;leapt and not leaped. I think it must have evolved from the pronunciation.What next – jumpt, watcht, laught, washt, crasht…?


    • Liz at Libro

      June 10, 2011 at 5:59 pm

      Thanks for your comment, Gill. As I say, it’s not that we have to have the -lt ending ourselves, it’s that it’s a British English phenomenon not particularly found in American English. But we can (and do) use either. I think it’s quite an old construction, rather than some awful creeping thing – I’ll do some digging around and find out.



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