Lead or led?

26 May

Another potentially troublesome word pair: “lead” and “led”.

Here, we’re only talking about the sense involved in taking someone or something from one place to another, not the soft metal that’s made into roofing, the thing that connects your computer to your printer, or the thing that connects your hand to your dog …

This is quite a simple one: lead is the present tense, and led is the past tense.

So, we can differentiate thus: “lead” is used in the present, including when we’re requesting something at this moment: “Lead us not into temptation” – “Every morning, I lead the cows into the field and I still do that now”.

Contrast this with use of the past tense: “Every morning last July, I led the cows into the field, but that was in my old job and I do something different now” –  “He led me into temptation”.

“I’ll lead the horse today; you led him yesterday”.

If you want to see more pairs of words, click on the “Troublesome pairs” link in the category cloud to the right of this page …


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