EnglishWords

Difference Between Burned and Burnt

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Main Difference

The main difference between Burned and Burnt is that the word Burned is older, whereas the word burnt is a new form of the word.

Burned vs. Burnt

Burned is the old past form of the burn; whereas burnt is its new form, burnt is more common as the past participle of burn.

The word burned is common worldwide as compared to its counterpart burnt, whereas the word burnt is common outside North America. Burned ends in –ed containing a total of six letters; on the other hand, burnt ends in –t, and it contains five letters having one less than its counterpart. The use of burned is more common in American English; on the flip side, the use of burnt is more common in British English.

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Burned was the only existing form before the trend of replacing -ed extensions with –t in the sixteenth century. The North Americans supported the traditional -ed forms for the handful of verbs, whereas the British writers favor the new -t forms.

The use of ‘burned’ is more common among American and Canadian writers. They use ‘burnt’ in adjectival phrases, and these adjectival phrases are “burnt out burnt orange.”

Comparison Chart

BurnedBurnt
Burned is the past form of burn.Burnt is the past participle of ‘burn.’
Form
OldNew
Letters
SixFive
Usage
Less CommonMore Common
Regional Use
American EnglishBritish English

What is Burned?

The word burned is an adjective, as well as verbs. Burned in the past and past participle of “burn.” In the English language, ‘burn’ is a regular verb. It is conjugated in the past tense by the addition of the suffix –ed forming “burned.” The meaning of burned is “anything that was set on fire.” However, the word burned is an old form used in old English. Its new form is “burnt.” The word burned is common worldwide as compared to its counterpart burnt. Burned ends in –ed. The letters in the word burned are six.

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The use of burned is more common in American English. In American English, it is usual and more common past tense. Burned was the only existing form before the trend of replacing -ed extensions with –t in the sixteenth century. The North Americans supported the traditional -ed forms for the handful of verbs. The British writers favor the new -t forms. The use of ‘burned’ is more common among American and Canadian writers.

Hence the word burned has been preferred in the United States for over a century. But recently, this word burned gained the edge in British writing also. This trend of using burned as a past participle of burn is common inside North America, and outside it, the writers use both the forms burned and burnt interchangeably.

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Examples

  • They were found burned at the house.
  • The fire burned for 10 hours before the fire crew could subdue it.

What is Burnt?

Burnt is an adjective as well as a verb. Burnt is the past participle of the regular English verb “burn.”It is a new form as compared to its counterpart, “burned.” It is not only new but also the most common past participle of burn. The word burnt is common outside North America. It has a –t ending. The British writers favor the new -t forms. Burnt contains five letters having one less than its counterpart burned.

The use of burnt is more common in British English. The user also prefers ‘burnt’ as the past tense form of burn, i.e., burnt toast, burnt sugar. The use of burn is common in modern English. The American and Canadian writers use burnt in adjectival phrases. These adjectival phrases are “burnt orange, burnt out.” This spelling with the suffix -t become more common in British English and outside North America.

In American English, the word “burnt” is considered an adjective is referring to something that has been burned in the past. The British favored this newer version of “burned” with time. But the North Americans followed the traditional form, i.e., burned.

Examples

  • “I was deeply distraught to see the whole forest burnt.”
  • “Do you know the reason wherefore the house burnt?”
  • “The priest helped with burnt.”

Key Differences

  1. The word burned is an old form as the past form of ‘burn,’ whereas the word burnt is a new form as the past participle of ‘burn.’
  2. Burned is a less common variant; on the other side, burnt is more common.
  3. The word burned is common worldwide; on the other hand, the word burnt is common outside North America.
  4. Burned ends in –ed; conversely, burnt ends in –t.
  5. Burned contains a total of six letters; on the flip side, burn contains five letters having one less than its counterpart.
  6. The use of burn is more common in American English. Inversely the use of burnt is more common in British English.
  7. The North Americans supported the traditional -ed forms; on the contrary, the British writers favor the new -t.
  8. The use of ‘burned’ is more common among American and Canadian writers. On the contrary, both forms are used interchangeably outside North America.

Conclusion

Burned and burnt are the past forms of burn. These are the two different forms having the same meaning.

Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson

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