Is It Kneeled or Knelt? | Spelling, Difference & Examples

UK vs US updated on  December 13, 2023 3 min read
Kneeled and knelt are two ways of spelling the past tense and past participle of the verb “kneel,” which means “to place one or both knees on the ground.” People often kneel to respect or worship an entity, which makes it similar to genuflecting.

  • In American English, “knelt” and “kneeled” are both used, but “knelt” is preferred.
  • In British English, “knelt” is standard.
It’s important to choose one spelling and use it consistently. The QuillBot Grammar Checker can help you with this.

Examples: Kneeled or knelt in a sentence
Damian kneeled/knelt to pick up the wallet that someone dropped.
Elif kneeled/knelt before the king.
I kneeled/knelt before the altar to worship God.

Kneel as a regular or irregular verb

Kneel can be considered either an irregular verb or a regular verb, depending on the chosen spelling of the past tense verb:

  • Verbs that form their past tense by adding “-ed” are regular verbs.
  • Verbs that form their past tense by adding a different suffix are irregular verbs.
The irregular form knelt is more common in both versions of English, but in general, when there’s a choice, the irregular form is more common in British English. Other examples are dreamed or dreamt, spelt or spelled, burnt or burned, smelled or smelt, and learnt or learned.

Main differences between American and British English

American and British English are very similar, but there are a few main differences in spelling. Five important differences are:

Difference

Rule

Examples

-or vs -our

In American English, many Latin-derived words end in -or.

In British English, these same words end in -our.

Behavior or behaviour
Labor or labour
Favor or favour
Favorite or favourite
Color or colour
Honor or honour

-er vs -re

In American English, some French, Latin, or Greek words end in -er.

In British English, these same words end in -re.

Theater or theatre
Center or centre
Meter or metre
Liter or litre
Saber or sabre
Fiber or fibre

-ize vs -ise

In American English, many Greek-derived words end in -yze or -ize.

In British English, these words end in -yse or -ise.

Realize or realise
Recognize or recognise
Analyze or analyse
Organisation or organization
Minimize or minimise
Finalize or finalise

-ed vs -t

In American English, most verbs are regular and form their past tense with the suffix -ed.

In British English, some of these verbs are irregular and form their past tense with the suffix -t.

Learned or learnt
Burned or burnt
Kneeled or knelt
Dreamed or dreamt
Smelled or smelt
Spelled or spelt

Single vs double consonant

In American English, many words are spelled with a single consonant.

In British English, these same words are spelled with a double consonant.

Modeling or modelling
Traveling or travelling
Canceled or cancelled
Labeled or labelled
Buses or busses
Focused or focussed

Do you want to know more about common mistakes, commonly confused words, rhetorical devices, or other language topics? Check out some of our other language articles full of examples and quizzes.


Common mistakes

Commonly confused words

Rhetoric

Hers or her’s

Aid vs aide

Malapropism

Truely or truly

Advice vs advise

Pun

Beck and call or beckon call

Council vs counsel

Extended metaphor

Jist or gist

Former vs latter

Simile

Despite of

Breathe vs breath

Dramatic irony


Frequently asked questions about kneeled or knelt

Is it kneeled or knelt down?

Kneeled and knelt are two spellings of the same verb. “Knelt” is most common in all versions of English, but in British English it’s considered standard, wherease “kneeled” is also acceptable in American English.

  • I kneeled down and I knelt down are both common in American English.
  • I knelt down is standard in British English.

It’s important to choose one spelling and use it consistently. The QuillBot Grammar Checker can help you with this.

Is it had kneeled or had knelt?

Kneeled and knelt are two spellings of the same verb. They’re both common, but “knelt” is the only standard spelling in British English, whereas “kneeled” is an acceptable variant in American English.

  • I had kneeled and I had knelt are both common in American English.
  • I had knelt is standard in British English.

It’s important to choose one and use it consistently. The QuillBot Grammar Checker can help you with this.

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Julia Merkus

Julia has master's degrees in Linguistics and Language and speech pathology. Her expertise lies in grammar, language and speech disorders, foreign language learning, and child language acquisition.

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