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Lead and Led

Commonly Confused Words


Lead and Led

Led is both the past and past participle form of the verb to lead (which rhymes with bead).

The noun lead (rhymes with bead) refers to an example, an initiative, or a position at the front. The noun lead (rhymes with red) refers to the metal.

LED (all capitals) is an abbreviation for light-emitting diode--a semiconductor diode that emits light.


  • We led the game until the eighth inning.

  • Now the Cubs have taken the lead.

  • "The theory that lead led to the decline of the Roman Empire was first advanced in 1965." (John Emsley, The Elements of Murder)


(a) Your advice will _____ me into trouble.

(b) Your advice has _____ me into trouble many times before.

Answers to Practice Exercises

Glossary of Usage: Index of Commonly Confused Words

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