Thursday, September 30, 2010

Lead me not into . . .

I can guarantee that before the end of this week – and it's almost here – I will, once again, see some variation on this: "He lead her down the garden path to show her the newly planted marigolds."

You're right. It should be, "He led her down . . ."

It seems so easy and yet it's such a commonly made error. Perhaps it's understandable.

"Led" is the past tense of the verb "to lead" – pronounced "leed." "Lead" is a heavy metal, pronounced "led." Confused yet?

Look at the cousin of "to lead" (pronounced leed) – "to read" (pronounced reed). In this case, we're going to say, "She read [pronounced red] him his rights and led [not lead] him off to jail."

It's an odd little mistake because people often know it's a mistake, even as they're writing it. I have very recently seen, in informal writing, "I know I'm going to be lead in the wrong direction – hey, is that right or should it be 'led'?"

Another mistake in the same general ballpark – and of this one, I'm not nearly so forgiving – is: "Don't loose hope. Everything will be fine."

Never mind. If you can keep your head while all about you are loosing theirs . . .

Got it? Lose? Loose? They're not spelled or pronounced alike! No excuse!

Thus endeth the lesson.

1 comment:

  1. Good luck! Here's another for you: "Well, up and atom!" I've seen that twice. And then there's "towing the line." Oh, and "to all intensive purposes." Not quite the same things as you're talking about, but still to, to funny if your into word usage. Oh, those last two count, don't they?