The English language is a complex thing, and sometimes it feels like it was made to trick people. This is the case when it comes to the difference between leaped\u00a0and\u00a0leapt.\r\n\r\nBoth of these words mean the same thing. Sometimes this can happen: two words that are spelled and pronounced differently, and yet are essentially the same word.\r\n\r\nThe only difference between these two words is where they are more commonly used.\u00a0Leaped is more common within American writing, while leapt\u00a0is more common among UK\/Australian writing.\r\n\r\nSo, how do you choose which version to use?\r\nWhat do leaped and leapt mean?\r\nLet's start with the basics. What do these words mean?\r\n\r\nBoth leaped and leapt are the past tense for the verb leap, meaning to jump or quickly move from one place to another, whether literally or figuratively.\r\n\r\nAt face value, the only difference is the spelling and pronunciation.\r\n\r\nLeaped is pronounced as leep'd and rhymes with words like creeped, beeped and heaped.\r\n\r\nLeapt is pronounced as lep't and rhymes with words like crept, wept and slept.\r\n\r\nNotice that in the examples above there is another example of two words meaning the same thing.\r\n\r\nCrept and creeped can also mean the same thing; they are the past tense of the word creep. But just as creep comes with more than one definition, so does the word creeped.\r\n\r\nFor example, you can say:\r\nHe creeped me out.\r\nBut you can't say:\r\nHe crept me out.\r\nLeaped and leapt doesn't have this kind of difference. The two words are interchangeable, as they have the exact same meaning.\r\n\r\nImage via Unsplash\r\nUsage examples\r\nLet's look at some examples of\u00a0leapt\u00a0being used:\r\nTim, ignoring the voice in his head, leapt to the woman's aid.\r\n\r\nThe cat leapt up onto the table, knocking over a glass of water.\r\n\r\nAfter viewing the evidence, my mind leapt to a horrifying conclusion.\r\nAnd from the Financial Reporter (UK):\r\nThe data show diary appointments leapt more than 50% to 46,120 between May and June...\r\nNow let's look and compare to some examples of leaped being used:\r\nMarge leaped to his defence; he had been with her at that hour.\r\n\r\nThe officer leaped over the fence, keeping the suspect in sight.\r\n\r\nShe leaped from the couch and ran to the front door.\r\nAnd from USA Today:\r\nThe number of passports Americans held leaped to 21.4 million in 2017, the most ever recorded\u2026\r\nWhat is the difference?\r\nAs these two words are interchangeable and hold the same definition, the only difference is where they are more commonly used.\r\n\r\nSince the 18th century, leaped has been the preferred version within publications that favour American spelling conventions.\r\n\r\nLeapt is more commonly found in publications that use UK\/Australian spelling, though this has only been the case since the turn of the 20th century.\r\n\r\nThough\u00a0leapt is the more popular option, leaped\u00a0isn\u2019t far behind it, as seen in the chart below, which shows the use of both words in British publications from 1800\u20132000:\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\nAs you can see, around the 1900s, leapt took majority over leaped, and though they remained close in use, leaped never retook its height.\r\n\r\nIn comparison, here is a chart showing usage of leaped and leapt in American publications from 1800\u20132000:\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nIn this case, leaped has always been the main variant used. In recent years, the two words have drawn a lot closer, but there is no evidence to say that leapt will ever take over in the American context.\r\nHow do you pick one?\r\nUse the above knowledge to decide which version you should use. Here are some tips if you're unsure:\r\n\r\n \tChoose the word that's more commonly used where you\u2019re from. This way it\u2019ll feel more natural for you.\r\n \tIf you\u2019re writing from a certain character\u2019s perspective, use the word that they would most likely use themselves.\r\n \tWrite for your audience. If your work is more likely to be read by Americans, or you're submitting to an American publisher, you can use leaped because you know that they\u2019ll be used to that word. Vice-versa with Brits\/Aussies and leapt.\r\n \tPick the one that you think sounds best for the sentence you\u2019re writing. They sound different, so play it by ear and choose the one that feels more natural and better suited.\r\n \tAbove all, whichever option you choose, always be consistent and only use one variant within a single piece of writing.\r\n\r\nI personally like the sound of leapt more than leaped, as the latter just doesn't sound right to me (probably because I\u2019m British). So I would more likely use leapt in my writing \u2013 but it really is up to you.\r\nLeaped\/leapt synonyms\r\nIn case you'd rather just use a different word, here are a few synonyms that you can use instead:\r\n\r\n \tJumped\r\n \tHopped\r\n \tVaulted\r\n \tPounced\r\n \tDarted\r\n \tLunged\r\n \tHurtled\r\n \tAdvanced\r\n\r\nCommon errors\r\nA common error when writing leapt is spelling it as lept.\r\n\r\nThis is possibly because it's how other such words are spelt (slept, wept, kept), because it's how leapt\u00a0is pronounced, or because that was the spelling back in the 16th century before the standardisation of the English language.\r\n***\r\nSo, there it is! Leaped vs. leapt. It seems more difficult than it is, but hopefully, now you can be fully confident in whichever you choose and remember that neither is incorrect.\r\n\r\nIt\u2019s all about consistency and common sense. Whichever version you go with, be sure it makes sense for your piece of writing, and that it's used consistently throughout.