Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Word Answer Girl

One of my friends recently discovered that I like words and stuff, (what? you don't read the AP Stylebook for fun?) and decided to ask me some English language questions, despite the fact that I occasionally say things like: "For reals."

Here is the transcription of our witty email banter - a testament to the joys of desk jobs and the weirdness of English in general. Enjoy:


On Mon, Mar 3, 2008 at 7:53 AM, Phil Casalegno wrote:

I have a question I have been meaning to ask you for a while and keep forgetting. Why is it that when authors write the past tense of words like leap they use leaped? Isn't 'lept' the proper past tense? Creap should be crept not creaped right, etc....
Random wonderings of Phil


On Mon, Mar 3, 2008 at 1:07 PM, Dani Linthicum wrote:

Dear Random Wonderings,

You pose an excellent question. To be quite honest, I had not thought a great deal about the leapt/leaped phenomenon until you brought it to my attention... which makes me wonder what exactly you're trying to write. Is it for your Website bio? "Also, I've leapt/leaped great distances with little to no sweat coming from my super-manly pores."
Anyways. I digress.
I think "leapt" is more common in the UK, while "leaped" is the US spelling, cuz we talk good ovah heah. It is pronounced the same though.
(Also, you are right, that "creep" would be "crept", unless you were saying "That guy who doesn't sweat creeped me out!" in which case "crept" wouldn't work. Oh slang. You're so fun.)
That's my best shot.

~Word Answer Girl


On Mon, Mar 3, 2008 at 2:02 PM, Phil Casalegno wrote:

Word Answer Girl,
What you wrote makes alot of sense, but it isn't what I have seen. The most common example I have seen has been the word sneak. Everytime I see this past tense it is written sneaked. "John sneaked down the hall" I have seen this in both UK and american writers. The creaped example was from a UK writer. Shouldn't sneaked be snuck? I admit that snuck is kind of an ugly-looking word, but we don't say digged unless we are from the south.
Random Wonderings

On Mon, Mar 3, 2008 at 4:32 PM, Dani Linthicum wrote:

Random Wonderings,

I can see that you are a true student of language. I applaud you. However, I have researched sundry and dusty tomes to find the answer you seek (as well as my personal vault of vast wordy knowledge), and I............ have no idea. However, I completely agree with you that sneaked should be snuck, and I'll thank you not to say mean things about my man even if he is from the South. However, according to the Dictionary, both sneaked and snuck are right, one is just ugly and the other sounds bad. I guess we can't have it all.

~Word Answer Girl

1 comment:

Jaci said...

Can I just say that whenever I get manuscripts back from proofreaders (I'm a copyeditor), the proofreader always changes "snuck" to "sneaked." I have no idea why either.

Maybe there's some source of knowledge out there that we're all woefully ignorant of.