Plea Plead Pleaded Pled? Please!

My fellow blawgers:

When a person admits her guilt in court, she does not plea guilty. She pleads guilty, entering a guilty plea. “Plead” is a verb. “Plea” is a noun.

After a person has admitted his guilt in court, he has not plead (or “pleaed”) guilty. The past tense of “to plead” is “pleaded” or “pled.”

0 responses to “Plea Plead Pleaded Pled? Please!”

  1. here is a footnote included in a soon-to-be issued opinion:
    “Plead” is used rather than the very clumsy “pleaded” as the past tense of plea.
    Some spell this, quite phonetically, as “pled.”
    As I am not Al Capp and this is not Dogpatch, I do not.
    Once one has completed reading a book, one has neither “readed” nor “red” a book.

    • Is that your footnote? How boldly wrong of you.

      You haven’t gone far enough afield in considering analogies. Think “to lead” rather than “to read”; or “to weed,” “to seed,” “to knead,” “to bead,” “to heed,” and “to proceed” (for the sound of the thing).

      “To read” appears to me to be the exception—the only English verb whose past tense can be confused with its present tense.

      A good dictionary is your friend (the OED prefers “pleaded”), as is a good usage guide. Garner’s Modern American Usage says, “pleaded is the predominant form in both AmE and BrE and always the best choice…. [Of pled and plead,] pled is surely the better choice because it can’t be mistaken as a present-tense verb.”

      This judicial grammar activism must not stand!

  2. Thank you for this. I realized I was a little fuzzy on this point while listening to the news today about Michael Cohen’s numerous PLEAS.
    I’m very PLEASED.

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