Words

Difference Between Sneaked and Snuck

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Main Difference

The main difference between Sneaked and Snuck is that the form Sneaked is old and common, whereas the form Snuck is new and uncommon.

Sneaked vs. Snuck

Sneaked is an old and traditional word; on the other hand, snuck is the new and modern variation of the same word. The word sneaked contains seven letters; on the flip side, the word snuck contains five letters. The difference is of 2 letters, which are more in sneaked, whereas eliminated in snuck.

The past form sneaked is used when the verb is treated as a regular verb; on the other hand, the other form of snuck is used as the past tense of “sneak” when the verb is processed as an irregular or uneven verb. However, the more common word is sneaked; on the contrary, most of the people are unaware of this uncommon version snuck.

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The word ‘sneaked’ follows the traditional style of adding the suffix –ed to make a past form; on the flip side, snuck is the past form which does not add the suffix –ed but irregularly makes the past form by changing the structure of the word. Sneaked has an identical occurrence in American English. However, snuck is gaining popularity in British English.

The common phrases with sneaked are “sneaked in,” and “sneaked a peek.” On the other side, the common phrases with snuck are “snuck in” and “snuck a peek.” The original past tense form of the verb sneak is “sneaked,” which follows the pattern of regular verbs; on the contrary, the other form snuck started appearing in the 19th century. The use of sneaked as the past form of sneak is considered formal; on the flip side, the use of snuck as the past form of sneak is considered informal.

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Comparison Chart

SneakedSnuck
The old and traditional past verb form of “sneak.”The new and modern variation of the same word
Letters
SevenFive
Usage
More common in past-Less common nowadaysLess common in past-More common nowadays
Status
FormalInformal
Common Phrases
Sneaked in, sneaked a peek.Snuck in, snuck a peek.
Category of Verb
Regular verbIrregular verb

What is Sneaked?

Sneak is the past form and past participle form of the verb sneak. The meaning of the verb sneak is “to move or go stealthily.” The pronunciation of sneak is /sniːk/. Sneaked is more common than its counterpart snuck in the American news publications. It is an old and traditional word than snuck.

The past form sneaked follows the traditional and regular construction of the verb. This regular construction is the addition of a suffix –ed at the end of the word, e.g., sneak > sneaked > has/have sneaked. Many other similar verbs such as peak > peaked, creak > creaked, leak > leaked, reek > reeked, freak > freaked, etc. also follow this type of construction.

The traditional writers support past tense sneaked. They consider the other form snuck as incorrect. The word sneaked contains seven letters. Its use is more common than its newer counterpart. The past form sneaked is used when the verb is treated as a regular verb. The phrases with sneaked are “sneaked in,” and “sneaked a peek.”

Examples

  • The cat sneaked out of the garden, which is at the back of the house.
  • Try to sneak a burger here in the theatre because I am feeling really hungry.
  • The lady sitting beside me on the bus sneaked on my mobile phone’s screen.

What is Snuck?

Snuck is another past and past participle form of the verb sneak. It is the new and modern variation than its counterpart sneaked. This form snuck is used as the past tense of “sneak” whenever it is referred to as an irregular or uneven verb. It is less common than its other form sneaked. Most of the people are unaware of this uncommon version snuck.

The word snuck contains five letters. Snuck does not add the addition of the suffix –ed as the regular verbs. It is an irregular verb that irregularly makes the past form by changing the whole structure of the word. The common phrases with snuck are “snuck in” and “snuck a peek.”

The form snuck started appearing in the 19th century. Its origin dates back to the start of the 20th century in the U.S. Later. It started becoming common across all the main English varieties. The first recorded use of snuck in print dates back to the 16th century. This word later found its way into the playwright’s language and thereby gained popularity.

The use of snuck as the past form of sneak is considered informal. Snuck appears twice as often as sneaked in Canada. It is not considered incorrect. It is just new, and so many of the people are not aware of it. English language is composed of so many irregular verb forms, and snuck is one of them.

Examples

  • Stella snuck into the hostel’s kitchen to make her something to eat.
  • I was so curious to read my brother’s diary that I snuck into his room to get it.
  • He snuck a gaze at my ride and immediately requested it on Amazon.

Key Differences

  1. Sneaked is an old and traditional past verb form of “sneak,” whereas snuck is the new and modern variation of the same word.
  2. The use of sneaked as the past form of sneak is considered as formal; contrarily, the use of snuck as the past form of sneak is considered as informal.
  3. The past form sneaked is used when the verb is treated as a regular verb, on the contrary, the other form snuck is used as the past tense of sneak when the verb is treated as an irregular verb.
  4. The common phrases with sneaked are “sneaked in” and “sneaked a peek,” while the common phrases with snuck are “snuck in” and “snuck a peek.”
  5. The form sneaked is more common; conversely, the form snuck is uncommon.
  6. In American English, sneaked and snuck have the same frequency; on the converse, snuck is gaining popularity in British English.
  7. The original past tense form of the verb sneak is “sneaked,” which is old and traditional; on the contrary, the other form snuck started appearing in the 19th century.
  8. The word sneaked contains seven letters; on the other hand, the word snuck contains five letters.

Conclusion

Sneaked and snuck are the two past forms of the verb sneak. Both the forms differ based on their usage, origin, preference by the reader/writer, etc.

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Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson