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What’s the Past Tense of Leap? Leaped or Leapt?

Leaped and leapt are both correct past tense and past participles of the verb leap, (which is present tense).

Complete the sentence with the tense of "leap".

What’s the past tense of “leap”?

It’s a bit of a trick question. As it sometimes happens, both leaped and leapt are acceptable past tense and past participial forms of leap (present tense).

British English prefers leapt as a past tense and past participle; US English prefers the standard “ed” form, leaped.

  • US English favours leaped as both simple past tense and past participial forms;

  • UK English favours leapt for both past conjugations.

  • Lept is incorrect, and a misspelling of the past tense form, leapt.

Verb forms of “leap”

To leap, which is a “jump or spring a long way, to a great height, or with great force”, and usually follows a preposition of place such as onto, down, at, into, etc. uses the forms:

simpleI leapI leapt/leapedI will leap
continuousI am leapingI was leapingI will be leaping
perfectI have leapt/leapedI had leapt/leapedI will have leapt/leaped
perfect continuousI have been leapingI had been leapingI will have been leaping
12 verb tenses of ‘leap‘.

1. Leap uses present tense: Make sure to look before you leap!

2. Leaps is third-person present singular: Do you see how that swimmer leaps into the water?

3. Leaping is the present participle form: We were leaping out of our excitement at the news.

4. Leaped/leapt is past tense: A dolphin leapt out of the water.

5. Will leap is future tense: Tomorrow, I will leap over the hurdle and win the race.

6. Had leapt/leaped is the past participle verb form: The cat had leapt onto the windowsill and gazed outside.

Similar verb forms (to leap)

base verbpast tensepast participle
dreamdreamed/dreamt dreamed/dreamt
smellsmelled/smelt smelt/smelled
Irregular verbs (two past tense conjugations).

“Leap”, used in sentences

Look before you leap.

Don’t be so nervous—anyone would think I was about to leap on you.

The photo seemed to leap off the page

Spiderman made a huge leap over the wall and continued on his chase

Progress toward democracy has to be made in steps, rather than a sudden leap.

“Leaped” / “leapt”, used in sentences

The horse leapt a five-foot wall.

A dolphin leapt out of the water.

Rose immediately leapt to her feet.

He leapt out of bed when he heard the telephone.

They leapt into action immediately.

Practice questions: forms of ‘leap’

QuestionsAnswer options:
1. True or false: “leap” is a regular verb.a. true b. false c. it can be regular or irregular
2. True or false: “leapt” is the simple past tense of ‘leap’.a. true b. false
3. True or false: “leaped” is the simple past tense of ‘leap’.a. true b. false
4. Which tense is this sentence in: I leapt to the conclusion.a. simple past b. present continuous c. past perfect
5. The sentence is in which tense: I’ve leapt.a. present perfect b. present continuous c. past continuous
6. Select the tense the sentence is in: we’d leapt from excitement.a. present perfect b. past perfect c. simple past


  1. c
  1. a
  2. a
  3. a
  4. a
  5. b

Synonyms of leap

  • jump
  • bound
  • hop
  • vault
  • spring
  • bounce
  • dive
  • launch
  • hurtle
  • propel

The origin of ‘leap’

From etymology online on leap (v.):

c. 1200, from Old English hleapan “to jump, spring clear of the ground by force of an initial bound; run, go; dance, leap upon (a horse)” from Proto-Germanic *hlaupanan.

Learn more about verbs


  1. Origin of the verb, leap.
  2. Government of Canada, leaped or leapt.

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