I found a set of examples where I expect led instead of lead.

In recent years the rise in the crime rate has lead to increased concern on the part of both the police and the general public.

While these are just a few examples the number of results on a Google search is impressively high:

I pondered if using have lead to could mean that someone "has a lead position" and the preposition to introduces a comparison, i.e. subordinate person. But I don't think so. At least the cited example and the sentences in the link contain typos or even grammatical errors.

Hence I wonder if there is any specific in have/has lead to or if just too many people don't know that the past participle of lead is led?

  • 3
    It's probably a spelling mistake as none of the dictionaries list lead but led as the past and past participle of lead. So it should be led not lead.
    – Noah
    Jul 17, 2012 at 10:57
  • 3
    "could of" has 43.5 million hits according to Google ( tinyurl.com/7h96tsy ). I wouldn't be impressed by search engine stats if I were you :) You might find Google Trends a more meaningful use of your time ( tinyurl.com/cxyen87 ) Jul 17, 2012 at 13:34
  • 2
    It's probably just a spelling mistake, based on the conjugation read, read, have read (which rhyme with lead, led, have led, plead, pled, have pled). Note that have plead also has a large number of Google hits. Jun 12, 2014 at 22:56
  • @PeterShor I think so, too. Snailboat already mentioned that in another comment. Unfortunately, nobody has given this as an answer yet.
    – Em1
    Jun 13, 2014 at 8:36
  • The error of using "has lead to" or "has lead [an organization]" may be as common as it is because Microsoft's grammar checker doesn't catch it. May 15, 2017 at 17:40

2 Answers 2


It should be 'led'.

verb (past and past participle led /lɛd/)

The confusion is that the soft grey metal they used to make pipes out of is spelled 'lead', but pronounced 'led'.

  • 1
    You think the problem occurs because people confuse leadership with lead pipes? That's definitely a fringe conspiracy theory. Jul 17, 2012 at 16:23
  • 2
    I think the problem occurs because two words sound the same and have similar spelling. Where is the conspiracy in that? Jul 18, 2012 at 0:35
  • 2
    It's also possible the confusion comes from association with 'read', which has the past and past participle 'read' rather than 'red'.
    – user28567
    Jan 22, 2013 at 20:49

It should say "have led," but, given rapid demise of irregular verb forms, I am grateful if it does not say, "have leaded."

  • 3
    By rapid, you mean the movement between the weak and strong forms that have been happening over the last 1,000 years?
    – Jon Hanna
    Jun 12, 2014 at 16:51
  • 1
    Since pleaded is currently changing to pled, I don't see why led should be simultaneously changing to leaded. Jun 12, 2014 at 23:18

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