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elt vs. elled - wordlove

About elt vs. elled

Previous Entry elt vs. elled Jun. 29th, 2005 @ 06:04 pm Next Entry
I find words too wonderful to be butchered by tenses - as follows:

smell: when we want to say we sniffed something yesterday, do we say we "smelt it yesterday" or "smelled it yesterday"?

"smelt" just sounds like you are boiling down tin in a large vat in some rundown factory.

spell: when we want to say we arranged the letters of a word in the wrong order, as according to a dictionary, do you we say we "spelt the word wrong" or "spelled the word wrong"?

"spelt" sounds like you just spilled your letters on your lap.

which brings me to "spill"...
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Date:October 15th, 2005 02:41 am (UTC)
The difference is dialectical:
- "smelled" and "spelled" are generally American English
- "smelt" and "spelt" are generally British English

From what you said about the tenses the sound better to you, I'd assume you speak American English.

--Karla (I just now found this community)
Date:November 22nd, 2005 11:07 pm (UTC)
Actually, if I'm not mistaken, the "t" past tense ending, preserved in some words such as 'swept', is a more archaic past tense. I'm not entirely sure of the phonological specifics, although it might have something to do with bilabials such as in 'swept' and 'dreamt' because I don't remember there being a word 'spellt'. Of course, I could be wrong.
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