How do I know which to use?
Is it:
The dog leaped onto the table.
The dog leapt onto the table.
Both leaped and leapt are past-tense and past-participle forms of the verb leap. Other than the spelling and pronunciation, there is no difference between them. Both are old, and leaped was more common in all varieties of English until about a century ago, when leapt became more common in British English.

Today, both forms are frequently used in American publications, while British publications nearly always tend to favour leapt.

Tim Strudwick (UK)
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Both leapt and leaped are past tense and a past participle of leap, however leapt is rarely used. Although both are correct and be used I believe.
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Curiously, 'leapt' is by far the more common of the two, in my experience - especially in conversation!

But I notice there are roughly equal hits for each on Google.
I've rarely experienced leapt being used. I believe the usage of either one also depends on whether you are residing in the UK or US. So it really depends which one you are more familiar with. As I had mentioned before they are both correct either way.
Most dictionaries list "leaped" first, and therefore as the preferred spelling in formal writing. When I speak, I tend to use "leapt."

"Neither is unacceptable," says my boss, a magazine editor.
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By chance, could "leaped" be listed first because the words are in alphabetical order?
"verbs: past tenses -t/-ed Both forms of ending are acceptable in British English, but the -t form is dominant - - burnt, learnt, spelt--whereas American English uses -ed: burned, learned, spelled. Contrarily, British English uses -ed for the past tense and the past participle of certain verbs -- quitted, sweated -- while American English uses the infinitive spelling -- quit, sweat. Some verbs have a different form of past tense and past participle, eg, the past tense of dive is dived in British English but dove in American English."
(The Economist Style Guide, 10th ed. Profile Books, 2010)

For example:
"The dog leapt onto the table" (simple past)
"The dog had leaped onto the table" (present perfect)
"The dog had leaped onto the table" (past perfect)

I can't figure out whether these changes were implicit in Webster's new rules of spelling (1828), or if they have since creeped into usage. (NB creeped, not crept!) I speak English as a first language with what the Americans call a British accent, although I'm an African who has never been to England. Whilst teaching English in Mexico (with several U.S. American colleagues), I found American English very lacking in vowel difference - I blame Webster directly for this. (Reading "color" instead of "colour", etc: I pronounce the "our" at the end of "colour" and "valour" differently to the way I pronounce the "or" at the end of "motor", "rector" etc.) However, with reference to this question, the above is a concise explanation that they are not the same and that there is indeed a difference in pronounciation if the intention is to enunciate clearly.
I'm actually looking this up since I notice rampant used of "leaped" in my son's children's books. It sounds so wrong. I have always used "leapt". Very strange.
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Both are corrected, but it would depend on pronounciation.

Leaped - leep'd
Leapt - lep't

So it's purely cosmetic. The magazine editor that said both were incorrect needs to return to school to study English. There is no other way to say "leap" in the past tense without using a different word altogether.

Leapt is still in everyday use. However, its use is archaic. Leaped is modern. The "~ed" of a word is pronounced differently depending on region. Consequently, "~t" is the linguistic equivelant of "~ed." As per my pronounciation notation above, it is up to you as to which to use with writing.

M.F.A. - Creative Writing
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