The Verb "Spell" in English

by Craig Shrives

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Conjugation of "To Spell"

The verb "spell" is an irregular verb. (This means that "spell" does not form its simple past tense or its past participle by adding "-ed" or "-d" to the base form.)

The Five Forms of "To Spell"

FormspellAlternative Name
Base FormspellInfinitive Form
The -S FormspellsThird Person Singular Form
Past Formspelt (also spelled)Simple Past Tense
The -ING FormspellingPresent Participle Form
The Past Participle Formspelt (also spelled)[no alternative name]

"To Spell" in All the Tenses

The tables below show how "spell" conjugates in the past, present, and future tenses.

Past Tenses

PersonSimple PastPast Progressive TensePast Perfect TensePast Perfect Progressive Tense
  • I
  • you
  • he/she/it
  • we
  • you
  • they
  • spelt (also spelled)
  • spelt (also spelled)
  • spelt (also spelled)
  • spelt (also spelled)
  • spelt (also spelled)
  • spelt (also spelled)
The simple past tense is for a completed activity that happened in the past.
  • was spelling
  • were spelling
  • was spelling
  • were spelling
  • were spelling
  • were spelling
The past progressive tense is for an ongoing activity in the past. Often, it is used to set the scene for another action.
  • had spelt (also spelled)
  • had spelt (also spelled)
  • had spelt (also spelled)
  • had spelt (also spelled)
  • had spelt (also spelled)
  • had spelt (also spelled)
The past perfect tense is for emphasizing that an action was completed before another took place.
  • had been spelling
  • had been spelling
  • had been spelling
  • had been spelling
  • had been spelling
  • had been spelling
The past perfect progressive tense is for showing that an ongoing action in the past has ended.

Present Tenses

PersonSimple PresentPresent Progressive TensePresent Perfect TensePresent Perfect Progressive Tense
  • I
  • you
  • he/she/it
  • we
  • you
  • they
  • spell
  • spell
  • spells
  • spell
  • spell
  • spell
The simple present tense is mostly for a fact or a habit.
  • am spelling
  • are spelling
  • is spelling
  • are spelling
  • are spelling
  • are spelling
The present progressive tense is for an ongoing action in the present.
  • have spelt (also spelled)
  • have spelt (also spelled)
  • has spelt (also spelled)
  • have spelt (also spelled)
  • have spelt (also spelled)
  • have spelt (also spelled)
The present perfect tense is for an action that began in the past. (Often, the action continues into the present.)
  • have been spelling
  • have been spelling
  • has been spelling
  • have been spelling
  • have been spelling
  • have been spelling
The present perfect progressive tense is for a continuous activity that began in the past and continues into the present (or finished very recently).

Future Tenses

PersonSimple FutureFuture Progressive TenseFuture Perfect TenseFuture Perfect Progressive Tense
  • I
  • you
  • he/she/it
  • we
  • you
  • they
  • will spell
  • will spell
  • will spell
  • will spell
  • will spell
  • will spell
The simple future tense is for an action that will occur in the future.
  • will be spelling
  • will be spelling
  • will be spelling
  • will be spelling
  • will be spelling
  • will be spelling
The future progressive tense is for an ongoing action that will occur in the future.
  • will have spelt (also spelled)
  • will have spelt (also spelled)
  • will have spelt (also spelled)
  • will have spelt (also spelled)
  • will have spelt (also spelled)
  • will have spelt (also spelled)
The future perfect tense is for an action that will have been completed at some point in the future.
  • will have been spelling
  • will have been spelling
  • will have been spelling
  • will have been spelling
  • will have been spelling
  • will have been spelling
The future perfect progressive tense is for an ongoing action that will be completed at some specified time in the future.

Most Common Irregular Verbs

The two most common irregular verbs in English are "be" and "have." These pages give more details about these two verbs: Here are the next 10 most common irregular verbs in English:

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See Also

How to improve your spelling The most commonly misspelled words in English Top 10 spelling rules in English Parts of Speech Lists 200 Important Irregular Verbs Role-Play Scenarios for English Learners

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