Spelt or spelled – which form is correct?
Spelt or spelled? Yet another article about the correct spelling of two words! “Spelling” is a word that you will see a lot when you visit our website and you certainly know that this noun comes from the verb to spell. But are you absolutely sure that you know everything about this widely used verb? Do you know the correct spelling of the past tense of spell? This text will once and for all remove any doubts about how it is spelt… or perhaps we should write spelled?
Spelt or spelled? The meaning
Spell is a word that has various meanings, for example as a noun it can mean a period of time for which something lasts or a verbal formula believed to have magical force. Spell as a verb most commonly refers to saying or writing the letters of a word in the correct order and this is the meaning we will focus on here. To be precise, we will investigate the correct form of past tense and past participle of spell to find out whether it is spelt or spelled?
Spelt or spelled? Which form is correct?
The shortest answer is that it depends on where you live! Spelt and spelled can be both correct, but you will have to read the following section to find out all the details.
Spelt or spelled? What is the difference?
The only difference whether you should use spelt or spelled is where you are from. The American English past tense form is spelled and that is the only acceptable spelling in the US. In British and other varieties of English both spelt and spelled are perfectly correct.
Spelt or spelled? More on the correct form
So as you can see spelt and spelled are used interchangeably in the UK, but not in the US. This is because in British English spell has both an irregular and a regular form of the past tense. Over the 19th and 20th centuries, it was spelt that was dominating in British writing, however, today most British speakers do not make a distinction between the two variants, which is probably a result of American influence spreading.
Spelt or spelled? Examples from the literature and press
Our last names are actually spelled differently. But who knows, we might be! I do love singing!
Kelly J. Baptist, Isaiah Dunn Is My Hero
I don’t point out that he’s spelled it wrong.
Jennifer Gennari, Muffled
Some carried giant cutouts with likenesses of Eisenhower’s head; others had “I like Ike” signs spelled out in Chinese and English or waved U.S. flags.
“Washington Post”, Aug 3, 2022