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In the following sentence, should I say spelled or spelt:

You spelt/spelled "Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis" wrong.

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Something about reading "Spelt" makes me shudder. –  Stimul8d Feb 7 '11 at 16:29
I would say "spelt" but write "spelled" - may just be me. –  neil May 21 '11 at 22:10
+1 for pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis. –  Hugo Jul 1 '11 at 23:09
-1 for... drat, I've been spelling it wrong my whole life. –  krs013 Mar 19 '14 at 16:29
It's not usual to introduce non-sentential / non-sentence fragment quotes with a capital. –  Edwin Ashworth Apr 8 at 18:51

4 Answers 4

up vote 12 down vote accepted

From Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary:

spell (FORM WORDS) /spel/ verb [I or T] spelled or UK AND AUSTRALIAN ENGLISH ALSO spelt, spelled or UK AND AUSTRALIAN ENGLISH ALSO spelt

This means that you should say "spelled" in US English and you can use both "spelt" and "spelled" in UK/Australian English.

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Yes, although "spelled" exists in UK/Australian English as well. –  ShreevatsaR Nov 27 '10 at 10:17
@ShreevatsaR Thank you. I've corrected the post. –  fiktor Nov 27 '10 at 10:37
It's funny how people say US but almost always mean North America, since they need to include Canadians in most of these things, and although Canadians are quite easy-going, they don't much cater to being called American. –  tchrist Aug 19 '13 at 4:35
@tchrist we also spell defence and colour differently ^.^ –  Cruncher Nov 15 '13 at 16:09
'You should say [sic] "spelled" in US English'. But is there a rule saying which English you should be using? –  Edwin Ashworth Apr 7 at 21:36

According to WordReference.com and the Concise oxford English Dictionary, both forms are correct.

spell: verb (past and past participle spelled or chiefly British spelt)

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h2g2 Writing Guidelines say

Please use the word spelled rather than spelt. There was a long-running discussion about it and 'spelled' won 10 votes to 8. Besides, loads of people thought that 'spelt' was a type of wheat. Schpelled and spellted were among the other suggestions. But no, you can't use them

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Whose votes? Not mine! I was brought up in both England and Australia and during my schooling years it was 'spelt' and should remain as such ie I'm not about to change. Other such modern variances should remain. –  user49993 Aug 19 '13 at 4:11
I thought of the grain too. –  starsplusplus Jan 21 '14 at 16:04
Who on Earth are h2g2? –  Edwin Ashworth Apr 7 at 21:37
Link added, @EdwinAshworth. –  TRiG Apr 8 at 8:52
I hope you realize 10 votes to 8 cannot be called a decisive victory. –  Peter Shor Apr 8 at 16:56

Neither. You spelt/spelled it correctly. :-) As an aside, the final word should be "wrongly", not "wrong", since it is an adverb describing the verb "to spell". I would never normally be this pedantic, but if there was ever an appropriate forum... :-)

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The word wrong is a perfectly good adverb, and "spelled it wrong" is much more common than "spelled it wrongly". See Google Ngrams and the Oxford Dictionary Online. I mainly hear wrongly only in constructions like wrongly accused, where you can't use wrong. –  Peter Shor Sep 24 '13 at 13:24
Don't really care to sign up, but I believe the conversation about whether or not "wrong" or "wrongly" are appropriate words to put at the end is also incorrect. If I'm not mistaken, the correct word to place at the end of that sentence is "incorrectly". –  user62943 Jan 21 '14 at 15:59
@user62943 You're mistaken. –  Edwin Ashworth Apr 7 at 21:38

protected by RegDwigнt Jan 22 '14 at 13:44

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