I used the word ‘spelt’ in my last journal entry. Upon seeing my mother’s comment asking if spelt was a type of grain, I questioned whether ‘spelt’ was a real word at all.
According to Dictionary.com ‘spelt’ is, in fact, an acceptable past tense conjugation of the verb ‘to spell’ meaning ‘To constitute the letters of a word.’ However, “spelled” sounds like the better choice.
Upon further investigation I discovered the reason for my confusion. ‘Spelt’ is actually the British past tense of ‘to spell’ while ‘spelled’ is the American past tense. So, as surprising as it may seem, I was incorrect.
And to answer my mother’s question: Yes, spelt is also a hearty wheat grown in Europe.
26 thoughts on “spelt vs. spelled”
Mmmmm. Whole Grains. In honor of this entry you should make something with Spelt.
Spelt all the way, its proper english after all!
Is this the same Mike Didonato that I work with in Seeb, Oman? I was actually doing a google search to verify that I didn’t make a mistake by using the word “spelt” instead of “spelled”. After I read the entry, I noticed the banner at the top of the page with a familiar name. What a coincidence if this is indeed the same Mike I know.
Alas. Different Mike DiDonato.
There are a few of us in the world. It’s exciting to know that there is another man with my name in Seeb Oman. If that mike didonato ever finds this page, I greet him with a friendly hello.
Hi, I found you because I searched for the difference between spelt and spelled. Where did you find the information regarding the British/American explanation? Thanks! I hope that I spelled everything correctly in this note. If I spelt anything wrong, please let me know! Haysun, USA.
I always use “spelt” – being British. “Spelled” looks unfamiliar to us over here and to be honest looks like it’s spelt wrong. As regards pronunciation – I wondered if there was a difference. Do you guys say “speld” or “spelt”? In the UK “spelt” is pronounced as it is written.
My word; am I to become ashamed of the British here? It seems to me that the word ‘spelt’ may have derived from the more properly formed word (IMHO), ‘spelled’. I’m English and i don’t think ‘spelled’ looks unfamiliar at all! After all we don’t spell ‘jumped’, ‘jumpt’; or ‘danced’, ‘danct’. The English, at some wonderful point in history decided that spelling words as they are pronounced was not a good way to go. Or at the very least our pronunciation of much of the English language has changed over time.
The difficulty would arise when you make the distinction between when you have spelled something and how something is spelt. Maybe it ought to be ‘spelt’ when used in the declarative and ‘spelled’ when used as a past-tense verb.
Styl1n, you rock! Felicitations from the Grammar Goddess.
So, being that I am canadian (and our English is derived from British) i can say Spelt and be correct, but you cant say I spelled it wrong. ;)
HAHA bonus; shot down at sundown with the “it’s” rule. lol
I also was looking for the difference as I had seen it both ways. Now that this is clear is it burned or burnt? Are they alternative spellings or just rather similiar synonyms as the pronounciation also seems to be different unlike colour and color. Why is felt the past of feel and not fell which is fall, while call is called and not cell. Why, why, why…
I always used burned as a past tense verb, and used burnt as an adjective.
As for the others…just chalk it up to the oddities of the crazy English language.
hah thanks yea my mom just asked the same thing
It’s quite odd. I’m a Yorkshire man and as one we pronounce everything in it’s short way. Spelt is Spelled. Jumped as a previous poster mention is actually pronounced Jumpt etc. It to me feels like the word “spelt” is probably incorrect but at the same time correct as per pronunciation. somhow across the way It’s been pronounced wrongly but has become correct – If you get my meaning.
Because so many idiots use the spelling that over time it becomes acceptable or ignored then worms it’s way into the English language.
While we’re on the topic of incorrect spellings “worming” their way into the English languageâ€¦.
It’s “its” in the possessive form, not the contraction. Nobody writes “hi’s” (unless they want to be incorrect).
“idiots” does seem a bit harsh, after all.
Yes! Glad I found this entry. I have been wondering this and just avoid the past tense of “spell”. Well now I know, and how convenient that I am an American working on a document for a British company.
As an aspiring writer, I’m paranoid about spelling words incorrectly. About a week ago I wrote that something had been “spelled” wrong, and whether or not I used the proper version has been on my mind since! Your journal entry clarified it, and I’m glad I now know. Personally I agree with Styl1n in that “spelled” sounds and looks better, even though I am Canadian and more comfortable with British rather than American English.
Because so many idiots use the spelling that over time it becomes acceptable or ignored then worms itâ€™s way into the English language.
its way. No apostrophe for its in the possesive. “It’s” is a contraction of “it is”. But as you point out, language changes as certain people (mis)use it.
Spelling is ortografÃa in Spanish. Here’s an old one.. How do you spell “ca_Ã³n (the underscore marks the missing consonant; the word refers to a box or a dresser drawer)? Do you spell it with j or with g? Ask you Spanish speaking friends and they will howl with delight. As old as it is, they still fall for it. If you use it and don’t know spanish, you can pronounce the word as “cah HOAN” the first syllable is a broad a and the second accented syllable is a long o. Enjoy it.
Thank you! When i learn Ehglish i use Abbyy Lingvo. I found example with word “spelled” and was very confused. I most like Brit form. Thanx!
I’ve always thought “spelled” looked so strange. I always “spelt” (lol) it as “spelt”. Because throughout my life I’ve been thinking that for a past tense for a verb ending with an “L” should have a “T” after it (except the word “tell”. The past tense of it is “told”). I live in California, America, by the way.
This verb has both an irregular and regular form. You can use both and both are correct. Speakers in North America and Canada use spelled while the rest of the English-speaking world seems to prefer spelt but accept spelled as well.
But which is the most used one, spelt or spelled? Let´s look at Google Ngram Viewer tool which displays a graph showing how phrases have occurred in a corpus of books over the years. Spelled is more used than Spilt from 1890.