“Lead” versus “led”

Lesson: the verb “lead” in the past tense

 

lead: a verb that means “to take charge” and “to show the way”
lead: a metal

 

In the past tense, the verb lead acts just like the verb bleed.

For bleed, an example in the past tense would be: He bled on his new shirt.
For lead, an example in the past tense would be: He led the race.

A common error is to spell lead in the past tense just like it is in the present, l-e-a-d. This happens because led, the verb, is a homophone with lead, the metal. (A homophone is a set of words that have the same pronunciation, but have different meanings.) Since we say the word lead, the metal, just like we say led, the past tense of the verb lead, people often confuse the two and misspell led. Oh, English.

Once more for good measure, the verb lead in the past tense is spelled l-e-d, not l-e-a-d.

About Erin Roof

Editor for hire. Dictionary collector. Part-time cat lady. Word nerd blogging at grammarpartyblog.com
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3 Responses to “Lead” versus “led”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Another reason why people commonly spell “lead” in the past tense just like in the present is because they use “read” as a proxy. That is why I did it as I was learning English.

  2. Pingback: Grammar Friday: Lead or Led? | Rob BiesenbachRob Biesenbach

  3. Pingback: So You Want to Write CoffeeScript? | Jake McGuire

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