Sped vs. speeded

Sped and speeded are both standard inflections of the verb to speed, and neither is more correct than the other. The old rule, purveyed in many English reference books, holds that speeded works only in the past-tense phrasal verb speeded up, but this recommendation is dated. In real-world, 21st-century usage, writers generally use whichever they think sounds best. Speeded is widely used without up, and sped is likewise used both alone and with up. Sped is about three times as common as speeded, though, which suggests that it remains the safer choice.

Examples

Speeded

Al Jazeera’s relentless coverage speeded his messy slide to extinction. [The Economist]

Mel Blanc’s voice was speeded up by 20% to get the little bird’s high-pitched tone, said his son. [Los Angeles Times]

Mr Spriggs … is also acutely aware of contrasts between the interventionism which speeded Team Valley’s development. [Financial Times]

All that has happened is that, at a time of economic crisis, this process has been speeded up. [The Australian]

Sped

The driver then climbed back into his car and sped away. [Edmonton Journal]

Beijing-based Gome has sped up its expansion by opening more stores in second- and third-tier Chinese cities. [Wall Street Journal]

A 14-year-old girl who sped past a patrol car led police on a short pursuit. [The Canberra Times]

She has sped up urban works in many cities and towns in Uttar Pradesh. [BBC]

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