1/13/2011

This will float like a lead balloon


It's difficult to not judge the person responsible for this lead/led error in the Arizona Supreme Court's Twitter bio.

Scarred by countless attacks from those who actually understand grammar, Mr. Rewrite is reluctant to try explaining how the sausage is made on lead/led. But he can't resist:

In the simplest possible terms, led is the past tense (and perfect/pluperfect/future perfect form -- yawn) of the verb lead. Lead/led errors are distressingly common among those paid to know better (e.g. has lead to...).

Led also is the past participle, which applies to passive forms. That's the case here (e.g. Arizona's judicial branch is led by ...).

Why is this so difficult? First, lead and led are pronounced the same in this context. Second, learning this comes from repetition, which comes from reading, writing and having someone whack your hand with a ruler when you make grammar, spelling and usage errors. Alas, all seem to be dying arts.

No comments: