Dealed or Dealt – What’s the Past Tense of Deal?

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

The lovely English language. It’s a beautiful, complex, and sometimes frustrating thing. One of the most confusing parts of learning to use English can be its irregular verbs, and the past tense of the simple word deal is no exception. Like, is it “dealed” or “dealt”? Spell check likes to tell me dealed isn’t even a word, but I know that’s not true, so I’ll break it down for you!

Dealed or Dealt: Which Is Correct?

Dealed or Dealt Whats the Past Tense of Deal

So, technically, the correct past participle and past tense of deal that you should use is “dealt.” It’s irregular, which means it doesn’t follow the usual pattern of adding “-ed” to the end of the verb to show the past tense form.

Instead, you change the spelling. How do you spell dealt? It’s d-e-a-l-t. This can be a wee bit confusing for non-native speakers of English because most past tense verbs usually have the “-ed” to end them, like learned, smelled, and spelled.

So, Is Dealed a Word?

Yes, “dealed” is a real word you can use, regardless of whether spell check flags it, which it’s literally doing as I write this. But it’s not really the correct past tense of “deal.”

“Dealed” is considered archaic, and we rarely use it in modern English. So, how and when would you use it? It can be informally or in rhyming phrases like wheeled and dealed.

What Is the Present Tense of Dealt?

The present tense of “dealt” is “deal.” Easy enough, right? Also, “deal” can be used as both a verb and a noun, depending on your context.

  • Noun: To make a deal with someone.
  • Verb: To deal cards or deal with a situation.

What Is the Perfect Tense of Dealt?

“Deal” in the perfect tense is “have/had dealt.” We use it to pinpoint an action that’s been finished in the recent past but still has ongoing effects here in the present.

  • I’ve dealt with that problem before.

How Do You Use Dealt in a Sentence?

Dealed or Dealt Whats the Past Tense of Deal 1

You can use it whenever you want to show the action being performed or has already been carried out.

  • Amy dealt the cards out to all the players around the table.
  • I’m so glad my son’s teacher dealt with the disruptive student who kept bullying him.
  • I won’t shop there because I know that company has dealt with multiple customer complaints.

How Do You Use Dealed in a Sentence?

Again, it’s important to note that “dealed” is not the correct past tense of “deal.” However, here are a few examples of how it could be used in a sentence (although it would be considered archaic):

  • The king of merchants dealed in the rarest spices and silk from around the world.
  • Steer clear of that used car salesman; I hear he wheeled and dealed my neighbor on a lemon.

Synonyms for Dealt and Dealed

Any of these terms could replace the words dealt or even dealed in just about any sentence at hand.

  • Handled
  • Managed
  • Tackled
  • Handed out
  • Finished
  • Addressed
  • Sorted out

Learn to Deal With It

Don’t worry, I’ve seen the best native speakers struggle with irregular verbs. Heck, I even struggle with them sometimes. So don’t feel bad if you find yourself second-guessing things like the spelling of “dealt.” Always remember that the English language is complex and ever-changing, and it’s okay to make mistakes. Just be sure you learn from them, too.