Sneak up – English Phrasal Verb – Online English Lessons

To sneak up is to approach a person or an animal without them seeing or hearing you.

Often used with ‘on’ – sneak up on

Examples of use:

1. The cat sneaked up on the bird.

2. Don’t sneak up on me like that – you scared me!

3. They sneaked up behind him and nearly gave him a heart attack.

4. Only a Ninja can sneak up on another Ninja

If something sneaks up on you, it happens without you noticing it.


Extra weight can sneak up on you, and then one day you realize your clothes are too tight.

sneak up
present simple
sneak up and sneaks up
-ing form
sneaking up
past simple

sneaked up. North American informal English – snuck up

past participle
sneaked up. North American informal English – snuck up

Practise your writing skills and write an answer to this question (you can write your answer in the comments below, or send it to me):

♦ Has someone sneaked up on you? What happened?

Can you use ‘sneak up’ in your own sentence?

Image © Tomi Tapio