Grammar check – past tenses of dream, learn, dive, loan and lend – what are they?

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Ever use the past tense of one of these words and wonder, “Did I get that right?” And have you wondered if there’s a difference between loan and lend?

The answer is technically no, with a couple explanations. Here’s a rundown of the past tenses of these words, plus a quick explanation of loan and lend.

Dreamed and dreamt – they’re both right, but dreamed is more common in both American and British English. It’s okay to use dreamt, though, especially if you’re a poet or songwriter and need something to rhyme with exempt. Check out the full explanation on

Learned and learnt – also both right, but most Americans and Canadians use learned and, according to Grammarly, the rest of the world uses learnt.

Dived and dove – both are correct. Dived is more traditional choice and dove is the more modern usage (from the 1800s though). This, all according to

Loan and loaned vs lend and lent – guess what? Loan and lend mean the same thing when they refer to supplying someone with something. Loaned is the past tense of loan and lent is the past tense of lend. So either word, in present or past is fine in this context. But the word lend has a lot of other definitions. Check out the explanation on

Me? I say dreamed, learned, dove and loaned. What do you say? Leave a comment and let me know!

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31 thoughts on “Grammar check – past tenses of dream, learn, dive, loan and lend – what are they?

  1. I don’t remember my dreams; however, I normally use dreamed unless I want to render a bit of atmosphere and then I use dreamt. I’ve learned throughout my life and when I was young, I dove into the pool. And I’ve both loaned and lent.

    1. Love this! I can see how using dreamt would give a certain feeling to the setting. I hear people using both. I’ve never used dived, though. Thanks for reading and commenting, Karen 🙂

  2. Yes, I say the past tenses the same way you and Jill do.

    Your post reminded me of the delicacy of teaching the difference between “lie/lay” to students.

    1. True – lots of people say they want to go lay down. That grates on my nerves, but it shouldn’t because I make plenty of other mistakes! 😉 Thanks for stopping by, Marian.

  3. Interesting post, Barbara. I am with you on dreamed, learned, loaned, and instead of dove, my inclination is dived. There is always a significant difference between Canadian and American spelling, another topic. Some readers feel strongly about how there is one correct to write and spell every word.

    1. Hi Erica/Erika – I don’t mind a varied spelling if it represents the region where you’re from. I actually like that. Isn’t it funny how much discussion there is about grammar and spelling? Thanks so much for stopping by!

  4. I use the same words as you do, Barbara. I learned that “ed” is American, and I try to be consistent in my writing. The only exception is I use “leapt” instead of “leaped.” Leaped just looks so weird to me. Same thing with “eyeing” (British) and “eying” (American). I think eying looks really odd, so I defer to the British on that one too. Fun post. 🙂

    1. OMG I’ve never thought about eying vs eyeing. I agree with you, eying is very strange! I also waver between likable and likeable. My posts probably spell them both ways! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  5. I feel like I spend my life on google verifying whether I’m using a verb correctly. Usually I’m not although sometimes I get a pleasant surprise. Although versus though and burned versus burnt can be problematic. In the end I think you have to read the sentence aloud. For example, to me “last night I dreamed about a man and he burned with passion for me” sounds more romantic than “last night I dreamt about a man and he burnt with passion for me.” Now we see why I don’t have the talent to write romance novels!

    1. Haha! I think I prefer the “ed” endings. When I’m not sure of the right way to say something, I usually completely rearrange the sentence. Talk about avoidance! Thanks for the visit 🙂

  6. I always love your grammar posts! I use the same version of these words as you do.What about shined and shone? I think they’re both acceptable, although I think I’d use “shined” for shining one’s shoes, and shone for talking about a sunny day 🙂

  7. Sometimes it is easy to tell where a book was written, based solely on grammar and spelling. But I still struggle with many of these examples in my own writing. And if I’m honest, I’ll have to admit that there are times when I simply rephrase the sentence rather than risk getting it wrong!

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