January 14, 2018 by Petrea
Writing Wrongs: Lead vs. Led
“‘There were plenty of board games in ancient times with many variants, but reconstructing the playing technique is a very complicated process that only top experts can solve,’ said the deputy of director of the Archaeological Institute in Nitra, Karol Pieta, as cited by the SITA newswire. Pieta lead the research on the tomb in Poprad.”
What is wrong here? (I mean, besides the obvious typo that should have been caught by the proofreader—but don’t get me started.)
People have trouble with “lead” vs. “led.” I get it. It’s confusing! The verb to lead is pronounced LEED, and its past tense, led, is pronounced—well—LED. LED is what the author of the article should have used. “Pieta LED the research…”
But there is this other word that has nothing to do with the verb or its past tense. This other word is a noun, a metal called “lead,” which is pronounced LED, same as the past tense of LEAD. What a mess! Who makes this stuff up?
Here’s an easy way to remember which is which. It’s simple. They’re the same!
Both the verb and the noun are spelled L-E-A-D. Couldn’t be easier! That’s the first thing to remember.
The second thing to remember is that only one of these words has a past tense, and a noun never has a past tense. There is no past tense of “lamp,” for example, or, say, “soupçon.” (Although I’d like to try it.)
So here’s the deal: use LEAD when you’re talking about heavy metal, and also use LEAD when you’re LEADING someone somewhere in the present tense. When you’ve finished LEADING them and you have LED them, use L-E-D, like the author of the above quote should have done.
Have you come across any bad grammar lately? Use the contact form to send me links to your favorites or your pet grammar peeves, and let’s see if we can lead each other to better communication.
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