Leaped or Leapt: Choosing the Right Spelling

The words leaped or leapt are often confused, but they actually should not be. These are two spellings of the same English verb.

In the English language, there are many misused words that writers have to be careful about. For example, lay and lie are often misused, as are compliment and complement. The word leaped and leapt often leave writers scratching their heads, but these are far less confusing than other synonyms and homonyms.

Thankfully when deciding between leaped or leapt, you have a pretty easy job. Here is a closer look at these words and how to use the past tense of the verb leap correctly.

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Leaped Or Leapt: Which Is Right?

Leaped or leapt choosing the right spelling

According to the Dictionary, the verb leap means “to spring through the air from one point or position or another.” It can also mean “to move or act quickly or suddenly.”

A common synonym for this verb is “bound.” Someone can take a “leap of faith” when they jump into something with an unknown outcome. A quantum leap refers to an abrupt or unexpected change.

The words leaped and leapt are what writers use when they want to write the past tense of leap. These are both past-participial forms of the verb.

Leaped And Leapt – Different Spellings And Pronunciations

Unlike other commonly misused words, leaped and leapt are not different words. They are actually different spellings of the same word, and both are acceptable. However, they have different pronunciations.

“Leap” is traditionally pronounced /liːp/, so “leaped” would be /liːpt/. This word rhymes with seeped and beeped.

Leapt, on the other hand, is usually pronounced /lɛpt/, with a short “e” sound. It rhymes with wept and slept.

American English Versus British English

Because leaped and leapt are used interchangeably, they can trip up writers. However, one difference is in where the words are used.

Though both forms are correct, leaped is most commonly found in American English. Leapt is more common when writing for Canadian or British publications. Thus, you need to know your audience when deciding which version of this word to use.

Lept – A Misspelling Of Leapt

Leaped and Leapt are both correct forms of the verb leap, but the word lept is not. Though this is a common error, it is still an error. This is actually the Old English spelling of the word, and in modern English, the word is spelled “leapt.”

Interestingly, the misspelling and the correct spelling are both pronounced the same, with the short “e” sound.

Example Sentences Using Leaped Or Leapt Correctly

Example sentences using leaped or leapt correctly
Leaped and leapt are used interchangeably, they can trip up writers

Sometimes seeing examples will help you use a word correctly. Here are some examples that use leapt and leaped.

  • The toddler leaped in excitement when it was time to open the Christmas presents. 
  • She leapt into her seat to show she was ready for the movie to start.
  • Her heart leaped inside her chest when she saw her fiancé at the end of the aisle on their wedding day.
  • The song leapt to the top of the charts after the composer performed on the late-night talk show

Each of these sentences uses the words correctly to show the past participle or past tense of the verb leap.

A Final Word on Leaped or Leapt

Leaped and leapt are confusing simply because they are not really different words. They are different spellings for the same word. When choosing between leaped and leapt, either one is correct. 

That said, different audiences do have preferences. If you are a Brit the best spelling for the past tense of leap is “leapt.” If you are American, opt for leaped. Still, if you make the opposite choice, your answer is not wrong.

FAQs On Leaped Or Leapt

What is the difference between leaped and leapt?

Leaped is typically the American spelling of the past tense or past participle of the verb leap. Leapt is the British spelling of the same word. Both are grammatically correct.

How do I pronounce leaped?

Leaped is pronounced like the word leap with the long “e” sound. The pronunciation of the base word leap can be written /lēp/ or /liːp/.

How do I pronounce leapt?

Leapt is typically pronounced with a short “e” sound. This can be written as /lɛpt/.

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  • Nicole Harms has been writing professionally since 2006. She specializes in education content and real estate writing but enjoys a wide gamut of topics. Her goal is to connect with the reader in an engaging, but informative way. Her work has been featured on USA Today, and she ghostwrites for many high-profile companies. As a former teacher, she is passionate about both research and grammar, giving her clients the quality they demand in today's online marketing world.