"Spelled" Versus "Spelt"

Sometimes verbs have two proper past-tense forms, which is the case with the verb spell. Which form you should use depends on where you live.

Mignon Fogarty
1-minute read


Robbie on Twitter said he and his colleagues at work had an argument about the past tense of the word spell yesterday. Is it spelt or spelled?

No need to argue; they're both allowed!

Spelled is by far the most common past tense form in America, and spelt used to be the most common past tense form in Britain and still gives spelled a run for its money. (See how the use of spelled and spelt has changed over time in British books.)

Spelt British English

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About the Author

Mignon Fogarty

Mignon Fogarty is the founder of Quick and Dirty Tips and the author of seven books on language, including the New York Times bestseller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing." She is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame, and the show is a five-time winner of Best Education Podcast in the Podcast Awards. She has appeared as a guest expert on the Oprah Winfrey Show and the Today Show. Her popular LinkedIn Learning courses help people write better to communicate better.