Spoiled or Spoilt?
The Quick AnswerIf you're unsure whether to use spoiled or spoilt, use spoiled.
In North America, spoilt is considered a spelling mistake. In the UK, however, spoilt is sometimes used as the adjective and past participle. Of note, Brits will also use spoiled as the adjective and the past participle. So, if you're unsure, use spoiled.
Spoiled and SpoiltThe verb to spoil means to diminish or destroy the value or quality of something.
In US and UK writing conventions, the simple past tense of to spoil is spoiled. Of note, however, Brits will sometimes use spoilt for the adjective and the past participle. For example:
- She spoiled the pie. () () (Here, spoiled is the simple past tense.)
- The pie is spoilt. () () (Here, spoilt is an adjective. Brits accept this. Americans don't.)
- The pie is spoiled. () () (Here, spoiled is an adjective. Brits and Americans accept this.)
Americans Demand SpoiledIn America, spoiled dominates. The use of spoilt as the past tense or past participle of to spoil is widely regarded as a spelling mistake.
Brits Prefer Spoiled but Will Accept SpoiltOutside America, spoiled is the most common of the two, but spoilt is generally accepted for the adjective or the past participle.
Verbs with Irregular and Regular FormsTo spoil is one of those verbs with both an irregular form and a regular form. The following verbs (like to spoil) can be regular or irregular:
|Verb||Past Simple||Past Participle|
|burn||burned OR burnt||burned OR burnt|
|dream||dreamed OR dreamt||dreamed OR dreamt|
|learn||learned OR learnt||learned OR learnt|
|smell||smelled OR smelt||smelled OR smelt|
|spell||spelled OR spelt||spelled OR spelt|
Usually, the second form (e.g., learnt, spelt) is acceptable in British English only.
Interactive ExerciseHere are three randomly selected questions from a larger exercise, which can be edited and printed to create exercise worksheets.
See Alsoadverse or averse? affect or effect? appraise or apprise? avenge or revenge? bare or bear? complement or compliment? dependant or dependent? discreet or discrete? disinterested or uninterested? dived and dove e.g. or i.e.? envy or jealousy? hanged and hung imply or infer? its or it's? learned and learnt material or materiel? poisonous or venomous? practice or practise? principal or principle? tenant or tenet? who's or whose?
What are verbs? What are regular verbs? What are regular verbs? What is the past tense? What are past participles? What are nouns? List of easily confused words