The Farlex Grammar Book > English Spelling and Pronunciation > Common Mistakes and Commonly Confused Words > lead vs. led
lead vs. led
What is the difference between lead and led?
The past tense and past participle of the verb lead (pronounced /lid/) are led (pronounced /lɛd/). While this isn’t too complicated in itself, the word lead can also be a noun that refers to a toxic, bluish-white metallic element that was formerly used to make paint and pipes. This noun is also pronounced /lɛd/, which often leads to the two spellings being used incorrectly in place of one another. For example:
- “The discovery has led to new innovations in the field.”
- “The discovery has lead to new innovations in the field.”
- “The lead in the old pipes began leaching into the town’s drinking water.”
- “The led in the old pipes began leaching into the town’s drinking water.”
Spelling Tricks and Tips
The best way to remember the correct spelling is to keep in mind that, if you’re talking about the metallic element, you should dread its toxicity, so it is spelled lead. Led, meanwhile, is always a verb, so it is spelled with a single E.
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