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Led vs. Lead: How to Use Lead vs. Led Correctly


Difference between led vs. lead. These words can cause quite a bit of confusion. They look almost the same, in some contexts lead and led can be pronounced in the same way, they can mean two completely different things or they can mean the exact same thing.

Led vs. Lead

This is quite complicated, so let’s take it slow. First of all, these words can both be verbs and mean the same thing: to show the way in some form or another. One difference between them is the pronunciation: led is pronounced with the same e that is found in set, while lead is pronounced with the same e that is found in fleet. The other difference is their form: led is the past simple and the past participle of the verb to lead.

LED written in all caps is an acronym for light-emitting diode and it is pronounced one letter at a time, just like the USA.

Lead can also be used as a noun. When pronounced in the same way as the verb to lead, the word is referring to concepts related to leadership. When pronounced just like the past form of to lead, led, the word is referring to the chemical element of lead or the tip of a pencil.

When to Use Led

When you talk about leadership in the past, you should use led. When you talk about lights, you should use LED.


  • He led the soldiers just as a real commander would.
  • I bought some LED lights for Christmas.

When to Use Lead

If you want to talk about any kind of leadership, you should use lead, it doesn’t matter if you’re leading cows on a lead, soldiers to their deaths, or your band as the lead singer. If you like chemistry, pencils, or heavy metals you should also use lead.


  • To lead, you have to have a strong will.
  • I heard John will be the lead in his next play, I’m happy for him.
  • People confused graphite with lead and now we’re stuck with calling the tip of a pencil a lead.

Tips for the Differences between Led vs. Lead

If you’re talking about leadership in the past or lights, the correct word is led.

Otherwise, it’s always lead.

Led vs. Lead Examples

  • He led us out into the grounds.
  •  She led us to a room with a balcony overlooking the harbour.
  • A nurse took her arm and led her to a chair.
  • He led a military mutiny against the senior generals.
  • The LED light bulbs with a built-in micro chip never need to be replaced!
  • I think we’ve chosen the right person to lead the expedition.
  • The decision will inevitably lead to political tensions.
  • I tried to lead the discussion back to the main issue.
  • Their demands could lead to a serious confrontation with management.
  • Lead and tin are malleable metals.

How to Use Lead vs. Led | Infographic

Lead or Led – What’s the Difference between Led vs. Lead?

Led vs. Lead

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