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  1. #1
    pmckenna Guest

    Default Wrong/wrongly; Spelled/spelt

    "Paul kindly pointed out to me that I spelt your surname wrong in my e-mail yesterday."

    Are spelled and spelt interchangeable? Are wrong and wrongly?

    I would have constructed the above sentence

    " ... I spelled your name wrongly ..."

    using "spelled" in the Simple Past tense. Is "spelt" equally at home here, or is it used as the Past Participle?

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default

    Spelt & spelled are correct. The -ed ending is more common in American English, I believe.

    Wrong & wrongly are both correct- wrong can be used as an adverb is this sentence. However, if you used incorrectly, the form incorrect would not be acceptable.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Wrong/wrongly; Spelled/spelt

    I was a little surprised to see the advice that both 'wrong' and 'wrongly' are correct here, but on reflection it is possibly now true in the US. The use of wrong here is certainly not correct in standard English and certainly grates on ear.

    Regards,
    ITteacher

  4. #4
    justinwschang is offline Member
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    Default Re: Wrong/wrongly; Spelled/spelt

    Quote Originally Posted by pmckenna View Post
    "Paul kindly pointed out to me that I spelt your surname wrong [describes the name] in my e-mail yesterday."

    Are spelled and spelt interchangeable? Are wrong and wrongly?

    I would have constructed the above sentence

    " ... I spelled your name wrongly [describes the action]..."

    using "spelled" in the Simple Past tense. Is "spelt" equally at home here, or is it used as the Past Participle?
    I think both are OK; in the one case, it's an adjective, in the other it's an adverb. It depends on how "causative" the verb is.

    You spelt it right.
    You spelt it wrong.

    You spelt it correctly.
    You spelt it wrongly.

    You got me right.
    You got me wrong.

    You have it right.
    You have it wrong.

    You made it right.
    You made it wrong.
    You make me happy.
    You make me sad.
    You made it hard.
    You made it easy.

    You painted it red.
    You painted it blue.

    Make it earlier.
    Make it later.
    Come earlier.
    Come later.

    Turn it right.
    Turn it left.

    Packed it right (???)
    Packed it wrong (???)
    Packed it correctly.
    Packed it wrongly.

    Different meanings:
    He took it hard.
    He took it easy.
    He took it badly.
    He took it easily.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Wrong/wrongly; Spelled/spelt

    Spelt is a grain, specifically a type of wheat.

    "Spelled" is the more common spelling of the past tense of "spell" (particularly in American English, as Tdol said), but "spelt" is acknowledged as an alternate spelling and appears to be the more common spelling in British English.

  6. #6
    Barb_D's Avatar
    Barb_D is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Wrong/wrongly; Spelled/spelt

    Hi zeegs,
    Welcome to the forums. Just a quick point: the post you responded to is from 2007. I know there are dozens that are only a few days old that you can probably have a bigger impact working on those.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    Default Re: Wrong/wrongly; Spelled/spelt

    Hi Barb_D,

    "Hi zeegs . . .the post you responded to is from 2007. . . . dozens that are only a few days old that you can probably have a bigger impact on"

    I don't agree with you, I'm afraid. The discussion is there for keeps and people like me and zeegs may come across the discussion and want to add to it. Indeed, issues such as common usage may in time change and bring the 'old' discussion back into relevance.

    To prove my point, the test match (cricket) text-commentary on the BBC today is straying into a spelling debate:

    (You'll find the text commentary if you Google "bbc Live text commentary - South Africa v England")

    From Eric Wandner, TMS inbox: "It is spelt 'debut'. Not very good for a BBC supported site."

    From Mr Fox, Pelaw, TMS inbox: "Dear Mr Wandner. It is spelled 'spelled'. Yours in irony."

    From Carl Legge, TMS inbox: "Dear Mr Fox. Either 'spelled' or 'spelt' are acceptable past participles. Yours in pedantry..."

    From Clive, TMS inbox: "As a working teacher, I was intrigued by the great spelling debate, but then got to wondering how many other teachers out there are watching commentary on their class whiteboards whilst their kids 'tidy their drawers out' or do Santa colouring. PS I'm Head of Sixth form. "


    Jamie
    Isle of Man

  8. #8
    xxGrey is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Wrong/wrongly; Spelled/spelt

    Hi,
    rather than using "wrongly" perhaps use "incorrectly"?
    "Wrongly" just sounds, well, wrong to me.

    - Grey
    Student, not Teacher.

  9. #9
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Wrong/wrongly; Spelled/spelt

    Quote Originally Posted by pmckenna View Post
    "Paul kindly pointed out to me that I spelt your surname wrong in my e-mail yesterday."

    Are spelled and spelt interchangeable? Are wrong and wrongly?

    I would have constructed the above sentence

    " ... I spelled your name wrongly ..."

    using "spelled" in the Simple Past tense. Is "spelt" equally at home here, or is it used as the Past Participle?
    (NOT a teacher) The great Henry Fowler says that "did his sum wrong" and "guessed wrong" are "better than with 'wrongly.' " (Of course, "wrongly" must precede a verb.) And Bryan A. Garner (whom some people style as the American Fowler) asserts that "wrongly" is "proper" but "less common."

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