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PSA: The past tense of lead is not lead

Published by marco on

The article Office-Droned Out by Amber A'Lee Frost (The Baffler) is interesting enough and by one of my favorite writers at The Baffler, but she, too, makes the mistake of writing lead as the past tense of lead.

“My inability to pay attention to details or engage in repetitive work ledlead to (or perhaps only exacerbated; it’s a chicken-and-egg thing) an anxious, grinding depression, and the sneaking suspicion I was actually totally unemployable.”

Please stop doing this. It’s confusing. I can put up with other transmogrifications of the grammar and spelling that I learned (oh so long ago) and to which I’ve become accustomed, but this is not an improvement.

It leads the poor reader of English in the wrong direction. It’s a pity because the piece was otherwise well-written and copy-edited. I mention this case because it feels like we now have an entire generation for whom the spelling of the past tense of lead was never led.

I’m not a prescriptivist, but I don’t think everything should be descriptivist, either. It has to make sense and to not conflict with other elements of language. I’m a software programmer and this is more akin to a compiler error than a warning.