Is the past tense of learn, learned or learnt?
Reader’s question: What is the difference between learned and learnt as the past tense of the verb ‘to learn’?
Answer: Both are acceptable and mean the same thing.
Learnt is more common in British, Australian and New Zealand English, and learned is more common in US English.
English has many irregular verbs that change their form in the past tense. Some of our most common verbs are irregular (e.g. to be, to have)
Some verbs become more regular over time, or both forms exist side-by-side.
Irregular: I learn, I learnt, I have learnt
Regular: I learn, I learned, I have learned
Learned also exists an adjective, but learnt doesn’t.
I learnt he was a learned man.
Learn more about styles and usage with my online course, Grammar, Punctuation and Usage.
Subscribe to my monthly e-newsletter to receive writing and grammar tips.