Spelled Or Spelt? Which One To Use?

The spelled or spelt controversy concerns the past tense and past participle of the verb spell. Spelt also refers to an ancient grain related to wheat, barley, and rye.

Outside of American English, spelled is the regular spelling for both forms. This includes British English, which allows spelt for irregular verbs like learnt and burnt.

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Both spelled and spelt are used to spell words in English, and they can be interchangeable in some situations. However, they are different forms of the past tense and the past participle of the verb “to spell.” Spelt is commonly used in British English and other non-North American varieties of English. Spelled is more common in the United States and some other English-speaking countries. In addition to spelling, spelled and spelt can also be used as nouns to refer to an ancient grain related to wheat, barley, and rye.

Spelled and spelt are both valid, but which one you choose depends on where you live and who you’re writing for. If you’re writing for an American audience, then spelled is the most appropriate choice. But if you’re writing for an audience in the UK, Canada, Australia, or other places that use British spellings, then spelt is the best option.

The frequency of spelled is increasing around the world, while spelt is decreasing in popularity. This trend is probably due to the rise of American culture and influence, as spelled is considered the correct form in most English-speaking countries. In fact, many Brits consider spelled to be archaic, and prefer the more modern spelled. It remains to be seen whether spelled will replace spelt as the preferred spelling worldwide, but for now, both are acceptable and can be used interchangeably.


The verb to spell usually means to name or write the letters that make up a word in correct order. However, the word can also be used as a noun to mean a period of time or a specific type of weather. Spell is derived from the Middle English word spelta, which in turn is derived from the Latin word spelte, or sphere. Like other words with multiple etymological branches, it has a variety of synonyms that share the same root and related meanings.

While spelled and spelt are both correct forms of the past tense of the verb to spell, they are not interchangeable in all English-speaking countries. In British English, spelt and spelled are both acceptable, while in American English, only spelled is considered to be the proper spelling.

Both spelled and spelt are acceptable in a variety of other English-speaking countries as well, including Australia and Canada. However, if you’re writing for an audience that is mostly American, spelled should be the preferred spelling.

This Ngram shows that spelled is on the rise, while spelt has been steadily declining since the 1940s. Whether or not this trend will continue remains to be seen, but for now it’s best to stick with spelled in most cases. Otherwise, you’ll just annoy a fair portion of your audience.


Both spelled and spelt are acceptable forms of the past tense and past participle of the verb spell. However, they are used and preferred differently in different regions of the English language.

In North America and most of the modern world, spelled is the preferred spelling of this word. But spelt is still commonly used in the UK and other parts of the English-speaking world, especially in Australia and New Zealand. So, if you are writing for an audience that is located in the UK or other parts of the world where spelt is still in use, then it would be appropriate to use spelled.

One interesting aspect of the use of this word is that it can also be used as a noun in some contexts. For instance, spelt can refer to a type of wheat grain that is grown in Europe. This is because the word can be pronounced the same in both British and American English.

The difference between spelled and spelt is similar to the variation in some of the irregular verbs in the English language. Irregular verbs are words that don’t follow the typical pattern of changing a present form into the past by adding an “ed” to the end. Examples of these include the verbs to talk and to spell. While these verbs are not considered to be terribly difficult, they do tend to be a bit confusing for some people.


There are some verbs in English that have both a regular and an irregular form for their past tense. These include learn, burn, and spell. Irregular forms have non-standard spellings for their past tense and past participle, and they usually end in –ed or –ing. These words are not interchangeable, and you should always use the correct spelling for the verb in a given context.

Generally speaking, spelled is the preferred form in the United States and Canada for the past tense of the verb to spell. However, spelt is still used in Britain and in some parts of Australia and New Zealand. Both forms are considered acceptable in most other English-speaking areas, and it really depends on personal preference and regional dialect which one you choose to use.

As for the noun spelt, it is an old-fashioned word for a hardy kind of wheat that can be grown in certain climates. In modern times, it can also be used to refer to an informal way of writing a word or letter. It can be used for the past tense and the present participle, but it is not a substitute for write. Using the word spelled in place of write will annoy a lot of people, especially Americans, so if you are writing for an American audience, stick with spelled and avoid spelt at all costs.

Mr. Greg

An English teacher from Scotland who made a website to share resources for free with the whole world! Currently based in Hong Kong, teaching in an International Kindergarten and tutoring Primary students.

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