Get the Lead Out!

Let’s be clear about something: General Grammar did not invent the English language (with all its peculiarities and irregularities)! GENERAL GRAMMAR iconHowever, I am here to defend and promote its correct usage. Let’s briefly unpack one of those grammar inconsistencies. Just because it’s weird doesn’t give you the right to be wrong!

Please complete each sentence or question with the appropriate form of read or lead.

1)      She noticed, as she put down the book she had just ______, that the cover was completely red but for the black letters of the title.

2)      The author had cleverly ______ her to believe the main character was guilty until the last- minute surprise ending.

3)      Does anyone actually _______ every word of a daily newspaper?

4)      He is too shy to _______ a small-group discussion.

5)      The online student newspaper is publicizing a student-____ leadership conference.

6)      The old house is dangerous because of all the asbestos and _____ paint.

If your answers are “read, lead, read, lead, lead, lead” then you (I’m afraid) are in the dark. Allow me to shed some light on this situation: “read” is both the present tense and the past tense; “lead” is not. The past tense of lead is led. But, apparently for some users, led has been lost in the world of CFLs and LEDs. Become an illuminated writer and use led for the past tense of lead (as in #2 above)! Unfortunately, if only speaking, your listeners won’t know whether you’ve said lead or led. But you should know!

NOTE: #6 above was included just to cloud the lead-led issue further. Someone, please turn on the LEDs!

FYI: (This also contains several great examples of hyphenated adjectives so you can have a refresher from the last GG lesson!)


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