Bended or Bent – What’s the Difference?

If you try to eat ice cream with a flimsy spoon and the spoon becomes deformed by your forceful scooping, is it bent or bended?

The answer might surprise you. These words are forms of the verb bend, which is an irregular verb. But which version is correct?

Continue reading to learn more.

What is the Difference Between Bended and Bent?

In this post, I will compare bent vs. bended and use each word in several example sentences that will show you how each should appear in context.

Plus, I will show you a helpful mnemonic device that makes choosing either bended or bent in your own writing much easier.

When to Use Bent

bended versus bent What does bent mean? Bent is the past tense conjugation of the verb bend, which means to make something that is straight become curved, or vice versa.

Here are a few examples,

  • Ferdinand accidentally bent his sunglasses by sitting on them.
  • Callista put the metal rods into a giant press that bent them into the proper shape.
  • A pair of roadside mailboxes that were uniformly bent by a falling signboard during a typhoon earlier this month have become celebrities in Taiwan, drawing steady lines of people to snap photos and inspiring fan merchandise. –Business Insider

As a past participle, bent can also fulfill the role of an adjective in sentences, like in this example,

  • Dennis noticed that his bicycle had a bent rim, so he took it to a repair shop.

Bend is an irregular verb, so it doesn’t follow the standard English conjugation rules. Here are a few of the more common ways to conjugate the verb:

  • I/we bend: first person singular and plural present
  • You bend: second person singular and plural present
  • He/she/it bends: third person singular present
  • They bend: third person plural present
  • Bending: present participle
  • Bent: simple past

When to Use Bended

define bent define bendedWhat does bended mean? Bended is an archaic form of the same word. It is considered outdated but has survived in the fixed phrase on bended knee, which describes a person who is kneeling.

For example,

  • Sir Percival begged the queen on bended knee to spare his life from the headsman.

Outside of this idiom, bended does not see frequent use. The chart below shows the relative frequency of use of bended vs. bent,

definition of bended definition of bent definition

As you can see, bended almost never appears. This chart isn’t exhaustive in its scope, however, since it only looks at books published in English since 1800, but it still provides a clear illustration of a long-term trend.

Trick to Remember the Difference

You should only use bended in the idiom on bended knee. Even then, the word kneeling would be simpler, unless you are intentionally adopting a medieval voice.

Otherwise, bent is the better choice. Since bent is spelled with a T, much like the words past tense, it should be simple to remember that bent is the proper past tense form of this verb.

Summary

Is it bended or bent? Bent is the past tense form of the verb bend, which means to make something straight become curved, or vice versa. Bended is an archaic form that has persisted in the idiom on bended knee but is nonstandard otherwise. Stick to bent in your own writing.

To summarize,

  • Bent is the correct past tense of to bend.
  • Bended is an outdated construction that is only used in certain phrases.