It's Good to Know About Tough Grammar: Past-Tense Endings

The toast. Was it "burned" or "burnt"? And the milk. Did you cry over it when it "spilled" or "spilt"?

In American English, the "ed" ending is the more common. But some verbs require a "t" ending – more often in England.

A short list of "t" words would include "crept," "dealt," "felt," "kept," "lost," "meant," "slept," "swept," and "wept."

Some verbs can form the past tense with either "ed" or "t", but there are preferences. Just because it's good to know, here they are:

"Ed" endings are preferred for "bereave," dream," "lean," "learn," "smell," and "spoil."

"T" endings are better for "dwell" and "leap."

[The above article, "It's Good to Know About Tough Grammar," is an excerpt from Michael Masterson's daily e-mail service, Early to Rise. For a FREE 2-week trial membership, simply visit Early to Rise.]

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Published: September 23, 2002

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