Tag Archives: should it be learnt or learned

Learnt or Learned?

This question comes up from time to time: which is the correct past tense of the verb learn? Should it be learnt or learned?
The answer is that both are correct, but that learnt is more common in Britain, whereas learned is more popular in the USA.
Learned can also be pronounced learn-ed and the meaning is then entirely different. There is a world of difference between a learnt text and a learned or learned (learn-ed) text. The former means that the text has been absorbed by the student, whereas the latter could mean the same, or it could equally mean that the text is scholarly, cultured or erudite. To avoid confusion, it would be best to use learnt in this case, but, whatever you do, try to be consistent in your use throughout a document.

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