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Why do British people use the T form of certain verbs?

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Flora Louise:
Learnt instead of learned.  Smelt rather than smelled. Is this common pronunciation and how did it evolve?

Tilt Fairy:
oh yeah!...I never realised we did that. I hear it and do it all the time. In fact after your post I second guessed myself for a second and was alarmed that I had been saying something grammatically incorrect and that they weren't real words but I just typed in 'learnt' and 'smelt' into the dictionary and it says they are valid words in British English. Phew! After learnt and smelt in the dictionary it says (Brit English) in brackets. I wonder how it evolved like that though..... hmmmm

You might as well ask why Americans, or whoever, don't use that form. Languages just evolve differently in different places, don't they?

Yes it is very common, in both pronunciation and spelling.

I have seen it picked up on a lot - I was called "illiterate" by a US-based poster on another site  ::)

It's  common in both spelling and pronunciation.

I've been googling lots of interesting links on the subject. The one that interested me most was one with graphs though.



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