Tag Archives: learned or learnt

Learned or learnt?

By Mary Morel

Reader’s question: What is the difference between learned and learnt as the past tense of the verb ‘to learn’?

Both are acceptable and mean the same thing.

Learnt is more common in British, Australian and New Zealand English, and learned is more common in US English.

English has many irregular verbs that change their form in the past tense. Some of our most common verbs are irregular (e.g. to be, to have)

Some verbs become more regular over time, or both forms exist side-by-side.

Irregular: I learn, I learnt, I have learnt
Regular: I learn, I learned, I have learned

Learned also exists an adjective, but learnt doesn’t.

I learnt he was a learned man.

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