Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 12
  1. #1
    Unregistered Guest

    Default Spilled or Spilt?

    There is the famous idiom, "Dont cry over spilled/spilt milk."

    My question is, which is correct? Spilled or spilt?

    I was told by an English teacher that 'spilled' was the correct usage of the word. Is this true?

  2. #2
    beascarpetta's Avatar
    beascarpetta is offline Key Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Great Britain
      • Current Location:
      • Austria
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    2,331
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Spilled or Spilt?

    Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
    There is the famous idiom, "Dont cry over spilled/spilt milk."

    My question is, which is correct? Spilled or spilt?

    I was told by an English teacher that 'spilled' was the correct usage of the word. Is this true?
    in the UK you might find spilt as well as spilled

    so actually both forms would be correct I guess
    Last edited by beascarpetta; 22-Aug-2008 at 08:09.

  3. #3
    colloquium is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    812
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Spilled or Spilt?

    Quote Originally Posted by beascarpetta View Post
    in the UK you might find spilt along spilled

    so actually both forms would be correct.
    Yes, it's similar to the verb spell. I had a discussion with an American about whether it should be (as she insisted) "it is spelled incorrectly" or (as I insisted) "it is spelt incorrectly". We agreed to disagree.

    The "ed" form seems more common in the US.

    Here in the UK, I would definately say "spilt milk".

  4. #4
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is online now Harmless drudge
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    15,590
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Spilled or Spilt?

    Quote Originally Posted by beascarpetta View Post
    in the UK you might find spilt as well as spilled

    so actually both forms would be correct I guess
    But as colloquium says, some collocations work better with one form. Here are the first few BNC hits for 'spilled' followed by a noun:

    1 WINE 4
    2 MILK 4
    3 COFFEE 3
    4 WATER 3
    5 PAINT 2
    6 WHISKY 1
    And here are the first few for 'spilt':

    1 MILK 12
    2 BLOOD 6
    3 BEER 6
    4 COFFEE 5
    5 WINE 3
    6 DRINK 2
    7 TEA 2
    8 PINS 2
    9 OIL 2
    10 YOLK 1
    More here: [Davies/BYU] BYU-BNC: British National Corpus

    So they both exist, but collocation is important.

    (Note - some course-books are not very helpful about this. For example, Cutting Edge Upper-Int describes only one, and then gives examples of the other.

    b
    Last edited by BobK; 22-Aug-2008 at 16:43.

  5. #5
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Australia
      • Current Location:
      • Australia
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    19,667
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Spilled or Spilt?

    Quote Originally Posted by colloquium View Post
    Yes, it's similar to the verb spell.
    And "learned/learnt"
    Maybe someone has a list of these variant spellings.

  6. #6
    susiedqq is offline Key Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    2,944
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Spilled or Spilt?

    I'd say most Americans would say "spilt" because we recognize this as a British idiom.

  7. #7
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is online now Harmless drudge
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    15,590
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Spilled or Spilt?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    And "learned/learnt"
    Maybe someone has a list of these variant spellings.
    I'm sure there's one somewhere on the web. Soup?

    My favourite is "proven/proved", which demonstrates strongly the importance of context. 'Proven' is chiefly* used in pharmaceutical adverts! ("Brand X - clinically proven to reduce cholesterol.")

    * Perhaps I'm exaggerating a little.

    b

  8. #8
    bhaisahab's Avatar
    bhaisahab is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    22,563
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Spilled or Spilt?

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    I'm sure there's one somewhere on the web. Soup?

    My favourite is "proven/proved", which demonstrates strongly the importance of context. 'Proven' is chiefly* used in pharmaceutical adverts! ("Brand X - clinically proven to reduce cholesterol.")

    * Perhaps I'm exaggerating a little.

    b
    I believe that in Scottish law courts there is a verdict of "Not Proven" possible as an alternative to innocent or guilty.

  9. #9
    RonBee's Avatar
    RonBee is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Posts
    16,571
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Spilled or Spilt?

    Quote Originally Posted by susiedqq View Post
    I'd say most Americans would say "spilt" because we recognize this as a British idiom.
    I think it's because the expression "Don't cry over spilt milk" has been around for so long. I think the expression was in use before the American colonies were formed.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    1
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Spilled or Spilt?

    Quote Originally Posted by colloquium View Post
    Yes, it's similar to the verb spell. I had a discussion with an American about whether it should be (as she insisted) "it is spelled incorrectly" or (as I insisted) "it is spelt incorrectly". We agreed to disagree.

    The "ed" form seems more common in the US.

    Here in the UK, I would definately say "spilt milk".
    And I would definitely say "definitely".

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Spilt Infinitive
    By MsNyree in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 07-Oct-2007, 09:43

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •