Learnt vs. Learned: Quick Lesson on the Difference

, Staff Writer
Updated February 22, 2021
learnt versus learned
    learnt versus learned
    UK: Sam Edwards / Collection: OJO Images / Getty , USA: RichVintage / E+ / Getty
    Used under Getty Images license

Learn how to use learnt vs. learned in a sentence. Get a clear definition of these two words, their parts of speech and where each word is used. Find out why location matters when it comes to understanding learnt vs. learned.

Exploring the Difference Between Learnt vs. Learned

English can get tricky sometimes. Why? Because there are lots of different variations of words you can use to mean the same thing. Learned vs. learnt is just that. The only difference between whether you should use learned vs. learnt is where you are from. Learned is the preferred spelling in American English, and learnt is the preferred word of a British speaker. But both are perfectly correct. Since there are a few other minor differences, check out these two words in more depth.


Understanding the Word Learnt

Since you know the basics of learnt, it’s time to look at it in more depth. The word learnt is a verb used as the past tense and past participle of the word learn. Learnt is used by British English speakers when they are trying to show that some type of information was learnt in the past. For example, "He learnt his ABCs when he was in kindergarten." Therefore, learnt is perfectly acceptable to use in the place of learned in a sentence when you are writing something in British English. Just remember, you need to stick to one form.

Learnt in a Sentence

Check out the word learnt in sentence examples to bring the word to life.

  • I learnt to speak Spanish four years ago.
  • I learnt a lot today in class.
  • He still hasn’t learnt his lesson.
  • They learnt the song by heart.
  • We learnt about the train crash during physics class.
  • I learnt so many new things from that show.
  • She learnt how to play the piano from a master teacher.
  • He learnt his lesson about getting too close to the fire the hard way.
  • It’s about time he learnt that would happen if he didn’t stop.

Learned Explained and Defined

Like its best friend learnt, the verb learned is the past tense and past participle of learn. American English speakers prefer this version. However, learned also has another unique use. Learned can be used as an adjective to show a scholarly person or object. For example:

  • He was a learned and respected scientist.
  • The learned journal was full of scientific reports by professors and doctors in the field.
  • Angela is the most learned doctor I’ve ever met.

The pronunciation of learned as a verb and an adjective are also slightly different. As a verb, learned is said as one syllable (lernd), while as an adjective, it’s said with two (lern-ed).

Learned in a Sentence

Take a look at a few different examples of using the word learned as a verb and an adjective.

  • The learned teacher broke down the routine into easy steps.
  • He learned how to cook quicker than they thought he would.
  • She learned her grade at the end of the day.
  • He definitely learned his mistake this time.
  • I hope he learned his mistake.
  • I thought she had learned the material, but I was wrong.
  • They learned the lesson quickly.
  • We learned how to dance from a master instructor.
  • It’s about time he learned his lesson.

Learnt vs. Learned Difference Table

Since these words are so similar, having a quick table to reference can make your life a bit easier.




acquire information or knowledge

acquire information or knowledge

Part of Speech:


verb or adjective

Association to Learn:

past participle/past tense

past participle/past tense


British English

American and Canadian English


He learnt several new facts in the case.

He learned several new facts in the case.

Learned vs. Learnt: It's a Matter of Location

The English language can vary based on where you live. Color and colour mean the same thing but are only used in specific parts of the world. The same is true about learned and learnt. These two words have the same meaning and usage, but it depends on whether you speak British or American English, whether you use learned or learnt. Ready to explore more English language variations based on location? Check out the difference between grey and gray.