Grammar Dreamed vs. Dreamt |
The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation

Dreamed vs. Dreamt

Suppose you wake with the strange sensation that you have just been in a desert made of brown sugar in a room where it was raining toasted marshmallows. Was all that sugar something you had dreamed, or had you dreamt of something sweet?

If you’re someone who focuses on improving your mastery of American English through practice, we have the information you need in today’s post.

The Difference Between Dreamed and Dreamt

The first thing to know is that both dreamed and dreamt are correct as a past tense form of the word dream.

So why are there two versions? Dreamed is the regular verb, meaning that it ends with the conventional -ed to convey that something happened in the past. Dreamt, on the other hand, is an irregular verb, meaning that it has an unconventional spelling and ending. Nonetheless, it is a real word that is perfectly acceptable to use.

Dreamed or Dreamt: Which Should You Use in Your Writing?

Because either is correct, there are no definitive rules about using one word instead of the other. It’s simply a matter of style and preference.

For some writers, dreamt may have a certain flair to it as other irregular verbs also might. To those writers, dreamt may carry a subtle accent or mood in look and sound that wouldn’t otherwise be there if dreamed was used instead.

Compare the following sentences:

I have always dreamed of visiting faraway places with exotic foods.

I have always dreamt of visiting faraway places with exotic foods.

Which one looks and sounds better to you? Preferences will vary. Many writers and editors might agree that dreamed is a more utilitarian word than dreamt. In other words, you might use dreamed when you are trying to explain something with clarity or even to sound more contemporary. Dreamt, on the other hand, might add a touch of eloquence to make an idea feel more profound.

These are simply stylistic guidelines for you to consider, so it’s worth reiterating that there isn’t any “right” answer in deciding which word to choose. Perhaps the best approach is to avoid being repetitive with either. Use whichever word seems proper in a particular sentence, and look for ways you might alternate the two within a longer work if the context favors such flexibility.

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