What is the past tense of learn? Is it learned or learnt?

I've seen people use "learnt" in articles I've read on the internet and I didn't or haven't seen crazy words like this when I was in jr high or high school (which was a while ago). Is "learnt" a real word or is this like people mis-using the word "loose" when they mean "lose"?

  • 2
    Questions of this nature are considered off-topic because you could look this up in any dictionary, and there are quite a few online. Jul 6 '18 at 18:07
  • Both words are correct. Many other words follow the same pattern like 'kneeled or knelt,' 'dreamed or dreamt.' This link might help: google.co.in/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://… Jul 6 '18 at 18:14

Here is a list of some common verbs that have alternative participles ending with -t and -ed, although I am unsure about clapt, stript, vext, and sweeped. The first three are very archaic and I have never heard or seen the last one. The other -t versions are normal in modern British English.


Both are acceptable in the UK and most Commonwealth countries, but 'learnt' is less commonly heard in the US and Canada.

When used as an adjective, (e.g. a learned gentleman), you must use 'learned', 'learnt' is never acceptable in this case. When used as an adjective 'learned is pronounced 'LER ned' or 'LER nid', or in some places what sounds to me like 'LUR nid'. In all cases this is pronounced with two distinct syllables, and with the stress on the first syllable.

  • Note that the adjective is pronounced differently. Jul 6 '18 at 21:58
  • @Acccumulation Thank you. I have edited my answer to include this information.
    – James
    Jul 7 '18 at 1:58

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