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When helping my son with the homework in (non-native) English, I got stuck by sentence.

What is correct: "You are spoilt!" or "You are spoiled!" or both alternatives?


  • If it matters, this part of the book treats British English
  • I do not wish to influence any answer, hence I keep my thoughts and the text for my self (for now)

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    Both are acceptable. Spoilt is an older form, less frequently used nowadays. – WS2 Apr 7 '16 at 15:58
  • Look up 'spoil' in a decent online dictionary and see what the allowable form/s past participle is/are. – Edwin Ashworth Apr 7 '16 at 16:29
  • @WS2 Thank you, I guess I stick to the one I am used to. Also, judging from your comment, I guess this is not a geographical issue. – AD. Apr 7 '16 at 17:23
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    Who knows, maybe there is a distinction. If that kid is a real brat, I may say he is spoiled, but if the milk has turned sour I may say it is spoilt. Try to find that with Ngram.... – GEdgar Apr 7 '16 at 21:19
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    @GEdgar: Children can be spoilt, but food is spoiled. See Ngram. – Peter Shor Apr 8 '16 at 1:00
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Irregular past tenses ending in -t have become less popular over the years, and are consistently less popular than their -ed forms. The only international English exception I can find being "knelt", though in BrEng,"leapt" has gained currency in recent times, and "burnt" has only very recently fallen out of favor.

Google Ngram

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The following chart demonstrates the marginal difference between spoilt child and spoiled child in recent years.

enter image description here

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    How about sweep, swept; creep, crept; weep, wept; sleep, slept; mean, meant; feel, felt? – Peter Shor Apr 7 '16 at 21:21
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    So what's your actual answer to the question? Spoilt, spoiled, or either? Looks like either, but you don't say, I'm just interpreting. – DCShannon Apr 8 '16 at 2:16
  • Converted to community wiki, since edits significantly improved the answer. – Dewi Morgan Apr 8 '16 at 15:44

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