Modern English has changed the way we say "sneak". Nowadays, the word "snuck" is used in many phrases and books. Which one is the correct verb to use in this phrase?

He sneaked/snuck around the corner, hoping not to be seen.

Should I be using modern English or the classic?

  • Are you in the U.S. or not? If you are, use whichever one you want. – Peter Shor Jun 8 '15 at 15:58
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    What did the dictionary or dictionaries you consulted, tell you? – Maverick Jun 8 '15 at 16:04
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    Related: Where did "snuck" come from? – ermanen Jun 8 '15 at 16:12
  • I snook into the library after it was closed and read the Washington Post. – Wayfaring Stranger Jun 12 '15 at 11:33

Both are correct. Snuck arose as a regional variant in the United States around the late 19th century as an example of the sort of weak-to-strong drift described here and grew to become more widespread there.

In the US sneaked is still found, perhaps more so than snuck but snuck is certainly very common. If you use an American form of English or one closely related to it, use whichever you prefer.

Elsewhere snuck is certainly now found, but sneaked is more common and some people complain about snuck. If you use a form of English that isn't American or closely related to it, use sneaked unless you really prefer snuck, and if you do really prefer snuck perhaps consider avoiding it in formal contexts.

  • That's a really fine answer, covering all the nuances well. – tchrist Jun 12 '15 at 12:48

I actually had the same question today. I'm in the middle of writing the following sentence

...being aware of the additives that get sneaked into processed foods and...

which is to a colleague in research and when I read the sentence over 'sneaked' just didn't sound correct, but 'snuck' sounds unprofessional. Yet when I researched the word I too came to the conclusion that either is appropriate, I guess depending on the circumstance and the audience to whom you are communicating.

Am considering using another work, perhaps secreted will suffice

  • Just in case it may help, I'd suggest considering slipped. – Tonepoet Jun 13 '15 at 19:30

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