“Burned” Versus “Burnt”

What’s the best way to describe the state of a ruined turkey?

Mignon Fogarty,
November 23, 2012
Episode #344

I’m a terrible cook, so my turkey never comes out right. Should I say it is burned or should I say it is burnt?burned

The Verb: “Burned” Versus “Burnt”

“Burned” and “burnt” are both acceptable past-tense forms of the verb “burn,” but which one you use depends on where you live because the verb “burned" is the most common form in the United States, and the verb "burnt" is the most common form in Britain.

  1. Mom burned the muffins.
  2. Mum burnt the crumpets.

The Adjective: “Burned” Versus “Burnt”

When you're using the words as adjectives, then "burnt" is also used in the United States, although "burned" is still an option.

  1. My favorite dessert is burnt cream.
  2. What happened to my burnt umber crayon?
  3. My husband looked at the burnt turkey and suggested we order pizza.

That’s the story: “Burned” and “burnt” are both OK. If you’re in the United States, you’ll sound more natural if you stick with “burned” as the verb and save “burnt” to use as an adjective.

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