past tense of dream

Discussion in 'English Only' started by voonli24, Apr 9, 2008.

  1. voonli24 Member

    What is the past tense of dream?
    Last night I dreamt or dreamed about ....
  2. TimLA

    TimLA Senior Member

    Los Angeles
    English - US
    Or BOTH - perhaps "dreamt" is more poetic...perhaps.
  3. Gwan Senior Member

    Indre et Loire, France
    New Zealand, English
    Yes, both. Dreamt does have a certain literary ring, although I would still use it in everyday speech.
    "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderlay again" is, incidentally, one of the most famous first lines in English literature (from Rebecca, by Daphne DuMaurier).
  4. Joelline

    Joelline Senior Member

    USA (W. Pennsylvania)
    American English
    I tend to agree with TimLA: both are correct, but I think "dreamed" is more commonly used in ordinary conversation, but "dreamt" is considered to be a bit more poetic.
  5. voonli24 Member

    thanks !!!!!!
  6. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Personally, I always use "dreamt" - in all contexts.

    To me, "dreamed" sounds like "meaned" (instead of "meant"). :D
  7. cycloneviv

    cycloneviv Senior Member

    Perth, Western Australia
    English - Australia
    I would also tend to use "dreamt"; I can't think of any circumstances in which I would prefer "dreamed". Apart from anything, I like the sound of it better! Also, I helped my table win at a quiz night once by miraculously pulling from the ether the fact that dreamt is the one English word that ends in "mt", so I have extra affection for the word. ;)
  8. gaer

    gaer Senior Member

    Fort Lauderdale
    I use both, but always use "leapt" rather than "leaped".

    I agree with others who say that both forms are correct, and it is simply a matter of style/habit as to which we use. :)
  9. nzfauna

    nzfauna Senior Member

    Wellington, New Zealand
    New Zealand, English
    I use dreamt.

    The difference is probably regional.

    Similar examples are:

  10. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    Another Country
    English English
    Yep, both are correct. But I'm another voter in favour of dreamt (leapt, spelt, knelt etc.)
  11. gaer

    gaer Senior Member

    Fort Lauderdale
    I believe dreamed/dreamt is simply regional within the US. On the other hand, I associate learnt and spilts solely with BE.
  12. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southwest France
    English - England
    Two points:

    1. Are we clear that they are pronounced differently? My view is that they are, as the spelling suggests.

    2. I don't think that dreamt is necessarily more poetic and literary. After Anthony dies, Shakespeare gives Cleopatra a great speech which starts:

    I dream'd there was an Emperor Antony:--
    O, such another sleep, that I might see
    But such another man!

    It may be that I'm just used to it like that, but it wouldn't be the same at all for me with dreamt for dream'd - the apostrophe is just to stop anyone being tempted to give the word two syllables.
  13. DougSimmons New Member

    Not to be pedantic but dreamed is literal and dreamt is figurative. Meaning if you dreamed something, it was some sort of perceived manifestation of mental activity that occurred in your sleep, whereas if you dreamt, though without sleeping, you had a desire that children of all races would live in harmony together or whatever.
  14. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    Another Country
    English English
    Thankyou for your opinion, Doug.

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