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What Is the Past Tense of “Dream”?

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Dreamed or dreamt—is there a difference? We’ll go over this and more.

White text over orange background reads dreamed vs. dreamt
Both “dreamed” and “dreamt” are acceptable past tense forms of “dream.”
  • Dreamed and dreamt are both the past tense and past participle of the verb dream.
  • Dreamt is often considered the British version, but dreamed is actually the most commonly used variant in both British and American English.

“Dreamed” or “Dreamt?”

Picture this: You have a fascinating dream. One that involved all your coworkers and had the most outrageous and hilarious plot twists. You’re on your way to tell them all about it, but stop in your tracks. Should you say “last night I dreamed that…” or “last night I dreamt that…”?

The short answer is that either works. Both of these past tense forms of dream are considered correct. Below, we’ll review the popularity of dreamed and dreamt, go over which is preferred in both British and American English, and provide example sentences.

“Dreamed” vs. “Dreamt”

First, let's review some basics. Dream is a verb—a word that refers to an action or state of being—that means “to have a series of thoughts, images, or emotions while sleeping.”

Additionally, a verb can be regular or irregular. Regular verbs mean that the word follows the traditional conjugation patterns. For example, impress is a regular verb because all you have to do to make it past tense is add “-ed”: impressed.

Irregular verbs don’t follow this pattern. An example of an irregular verb is write because the simple past tense is wrote, not writed.

When it comes to the past tense of dream, dreamed is the regular past tense while dreamt is the irregular past tense. Both dreamed and dreamt are correct and acceptable.

Dreamt is commonly referred to as the preferred British English variant, but a Google Ngram search shows you that dreamed is preferred in both British and American English.

I once dreamed of owning a farm and growing my own food.
Joshua told me that he dreamt of his cousin last night.
When I was a kid, I always dreamed of playing in the big leagues.

Have You Dreamed/Dreamt of Flawless Writing?

If you want to play it safe and use the past tense of dream that is most common, then use dreamed. But keep in mind that both dreamed and dreamt are in use today. The only thing you should remember when writing the past tense of dream is to choose one and stick to it. Switching between dreamed and dreamt may make your writing look sloppy.

Luckily, LanguageTool—a multilingual text editor—can detect if you’ve used two different variations of a word in your writing and will suggest you stick to one. Additionally, it can also correct spelling and grammar mistakes and provide synonyms that will enhance your writing.

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