No, I will not be lead!

by sue on December 7, 2009

I spent the afternoon in the lovely town of Elora, an artsy-craftsy, foodie haven not far from my home. I picked up a beautiful flyer inviting me to join a culinary walking tour where I can stroll the streets and enjoy the culinary delights the town presents.

“Rain or shiine,” it continued, “you will be lead through samplings of…” Lead? I don’t think so. When you lead me, I am led. The only time ‘lead’ rhymes with ‘red’ is when you are talking about that soft metal used to make weights.

This error is so common I’m almost surprised I notice it. It often shows up in résumés. I’ve been looking at a lot of resumes, lately. These marketing documents aim to show people at their best and should be error free. Alas, they’re not, and this lead/led problem is more common than it should be.

I won’t try to explain the logic of this particular rule of grammar. I’m not sure there is any. If there were, the rule about leading would be the same as the one for reading and, as a book is read, not red, you would be lead, not led. But that’s not how it works.

You are a leader. Right now, you lead me. In the future, you will lead me. But last week, you led me. You have led me for many years. I was led and am being led and will be led by you.

Leadership’s a big deal, right now. If you want to look like a leader, this is a good rule to follow.

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