Spelt or Spelled

Tomee Cseh

The words spelt and spelled are both past tense and past participle forms of the verb spell, which means to write or name the letters of a word in the correct order. However, there are some differences in how and where they are used. In this article, we will explain the main differences between spelt and spelled, and provide some tips on how to use them correctly.

Spelled: The American English Form

Spelled is the standard form of the past tense and past participle of spell in American English.

For Example,

  • She spelled her name wrong on the form.
  • He spelled out the instructions clearly.
  • They had spelled disaster for their opponents.

Spelled is also used in some common phrases, such as:

  • That spells trouble for us.
  • It spelled the end of his career.
  • She spelled it with a C, not a K.

Spelled is the preferred form in American English, and using spelt may be considered a mistake or a Britishism.

Spelt: The British English Form

Spelt is the alternative form of the past tense and past participle of spell in British English.

For Example,

  • He spelt his name wrong on the form.
  • She spelt out the instructions clearly.
  • They had spelt disaster for their opponents.

Spelt is also used in some common phrases, such as:

  • That spelt trouble for us.
  • It spelt the end of his career.
  • He spelt it with a C, not a K.

Spelt is more common in British English than in American English, but it is not the only form. Spelled is also widely used and accepted in British English, and some British writers may prefer it over spelt. According to the Grammarly blog, spelled has grown in popularity in Britain in recent years, possibly due to the influence of American English.

Spelt: The Wheat

Spelt is also a noun that refers to a type of wheat that was widely cultivated in ancient times. Spelt is still grown in some parts of Europe and used to make bread, pasta, and beer. For Example,

  • Spelt is a good source of fiber and protein.
  • She baked a loaf of spelt bread.
  • He drank a glass of spelt beer.

When used as a noun, spelt has nothing to do with the verb spell, and it is not interchangeable with spelled.

Spelt or Spelled: Which one should you use?

Spelled is the standard in American English, while spelt is more common in British English. Remember, “Spelled” ends with ED and is used in America, while “Spelt” ends with LT and is used in Britain or refers to a type of wheat.

How to Remember the Difference?

A simple way to remember the difference between spelt and spelled is to use this mnemonic:

  • Spelled is spelled with ED in the end, and it is used in American English.
  • Spelt is spelt with LT in the end, and it is used in British English or as a type of wheat.

You can also use the following table to summarize the main differences between spelt and spelled:

SpeltSpelled
Irregular verb formRegular verb form
More common in British EnglishMore common in American English
Also a noun meaning a type of wheatNo other meaning

Conclusion

Spelt and spelled are both valid forms of the past tense and past participle of spell, but they have different usage and meaning. Spelled is the standard form in American English, and spelt is more common in British English or as a noun referring to a type of wheat. To avoid confusion, it is important to be consistent and aware of your audience when choosing between spelt and spelled.