- For Teachers
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?
The "ed" form seems more common in the US.
Here in the UK, I would definately say "spilt milk".
And here are the first few for 'spilt':1 WINE 4
2 MILK 4
3 COFFEE 3
4 WATER 3
5 PAINT 2
6 WHISKY 1
More here: [Davies/BYU] BYU-BNC: British National Corpus1 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
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.
Last edited by BobK; 22-Aug-2008 at 16:43.
I'd say most Americans would say "spilt" because we recognize this as a British idiom.
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.