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led, lead

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  Ed Good  —  Grammar Tips

Note: The differences between led and lead are discussed in the Common Grammatical Mistakes section of Grammar.com. Click here for that discussion.

The word lead means “to guide” or “to be in front.” The word led is the past tense and the past participle of the verb to lead.

Many writers incorrectly use lead in the past tense. Perhaps they reason that if read (pronounced “red”) is the past tense of read (pronounced “reed”), then lead must be the past tense of lead. But it isn’t. The past tense and the past participle of lead is led.

Example: He said he would never lead me astray, but he led me straight to his favorite bar anyway.

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