Lead or led?

By Marina Pantcheva

The verb to lead /li:d/ means to go in a particular direction or show somebody the right way.

This door leads to the laboratory.
The receptions will lead the guests to the meeting room.

The past tense and participle forms of lead is led /led/.

The guide led us to the top of the mountain.
The success of his company has led him to invest in new enterprises.

As a noun, lead can mean two things:

1. a position ahead of others, or an example for people to copy. It is pronounced /li:d/.

The Republicans are now in the lead.
He took the lead, and others followed.

2. a soft metal (Norwegian bly).  It is pronounced /led/.

Old houses have lead pipes.

The metal lead and the past tense/participle form led of the verb to lead are pronounced in the same way and are often confused.

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