1/04/2008

Quest for good grammar has led us here

A glitch in today's paper led Mr. Rewrite to seek out these botched leads on Google News. There were many, many more.

Let's put an end to any confusion about lead/led...

"Led" is the past tense of the verb "lead" (pronounced leed'), meaning to show the way, conduct or escort. It's also used in the
past perfect/pluperfect, present perfect and future perfect tenses (e.g. "This mistake had/has/will have led Mr. Rewrite to sob into his Cheerios.").

Many mistakenly assume "lead" is handled the same way as the verb "read" (reed'), which is "read" (red') in past tense.

To further confuse things, "lead" (pronounced led' in this case) refers to the element (e.g. lead-based paint).

Mr. Rewrite found a neat site, www.verbix.com, that allows him to conjugate verbs. Here's the rundown for lead/led.

If this post hasn't already sent you flying to TMZ.com, Mr. Rewrite will note the obvious: It's "lead" (leed') in future tense (e.g. "Grammar discussions will lead Mr. Rewrite's readers to fly to TMZ.com.").

The past perfect and present perfect tenses offer a good way to smoke out offenders on Google News:

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