Get the ‘Lead’ Out

Adverbs Ahead

Grammar Ahead

She has lead the way, but all the candidates need to come clean about their health care proposals.

(Elisabeth Rosenthal, “Elizabeth Warren Throws Down the Gauntlet,” NYTimes, 11-4-19)

The error in the NYTimes subheading is more exciting than usual. It allows me to theorize that the dastardly “read,” with its homographic past participle, has betrayed by analogy Ms. Rosenthal and her editor. I do not celebrate or mock in the least what I know to be an inadvertent solecism in a publication that adheres to high standards.

Has English shied away from “read-red-red” in parallel with “lead-led-led” because of overlap with the color? It seems a poor excuse for the tradeoff in potential ambiguity.

“I read every day.”

Absent context, who knows how that sentence should be read or said?

(c) 2019 JMN

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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