Is the past tense of plea pled or pleaded?

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I have a feeling we are going to need this tidbit of grammar with increasing frequency over coming weeks or months.

It is said by grammar mavens that pleaded is more correct, but pled seems to be more often used in spoken language, and frankly, sounds way better to me.

I google N-gramed (or is that “Ned-gram”) the two words and got this interesting chart:

So, pleaded wins by a mile.

But what about that long term change over time? I’m thinking this means that the word “plea” in all its forms was being used in regular English text (“I plea you give no truck to the wasterel, me’lord,” and the like), where now it is mostly used in phrases like “Trump’s lawyer and fixer, wise-guy Michael Cohen, pled guilty to helping Trump fix the election,” or “Trump’s former campaign manager and well known wise guy Paul Manafort could have pleaded guilty and gotten a deal, but he may have been more concerned with being rubbed out by the Russians than about a few years in jail” or “Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser, pled guilty rather than stand trial” and so on.

Anyway, pleaded is more correct, pled is preferred. Now you know. Now, you can no longer plea ignorance on this question.

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15 thoughts on “Is the past tense of plea pled or pleaded?

  1. How do plead? Guilty or not guilty?
    Guilty.
    Ok well it’s just a formality really because a trial in front of a jury will sort it out. That’s how it works. You may not be guilty. Any idjit can plead guilty to anything. Now do you want bail.

    1. Billy Goat _ what a dunce. I haven’t even read the story but I’d bet money that it isn’t Austria they’re talking about , but Australia. And the country of Zealand doesn’t exist _ it’s New Zealand. Keep it up, you’re living up to your status as one of Trump’s dumb deplorables.

    2. There’s nothing in your reply to my comment which is related to my comment. Are you on or withdrawing from drugs of some kind?
      I don’t know whatchoo on about but I’m on about process. Pleading guilty dosnt mean a damn thing.

  2. According to the Guardian, it’s ‘pleaded’. For example, here:

    Donald Trump has suffered a huge double blow after one of his former associates pleaded guilty and another was convicted of financial crimes, potentially leaving the president himself in legal jeopardy.

    Later in the same article:

    Davis, Cohen’s lawyer, said on Tuesday night that Mr Cohen was open to talking to Robert Mueller for his investigation, telling MSNBC: “Mr Cohen has knowledge on certain subjects that should be of interest to the special counsel and is more than happy to tell the special counsel all that he knows.”

    Davis told MSNBC Cohen had knowledge of “the obvious possibility of a conspiracy to collude and corrupt the American democracy system in the 2016 election” as well as “knowledge about the computer crime of hacking and whether or not Mr Trump knew ahead of time about that crime.”

    Interesting times ahead for Teh Donald, I think 🙂

  3. ” Davis, Cohen’s lawyer, said on Tuesday night that Mr Cohen was open to talking to Robert Mueller for his investigation, telling MSNBC: “Mr Cohen has knowledge on certain subjects that should be of interest to the special counsel and is more than happy to tell the special counsel all that he knows.”

    Davis told MSNBC Cohen had knowledge of “the obvious possibility of a conspiracy to collude and corrupt the American democracy system in the 2016 election” as well as “knowledge about the computer crime of hacking and whether or not Mr Trump knew ahead of time about that crime.”

    You mean “the fixer” did not spill his guts to Heinrich Meuller already??

    Bloke, you are so easily duped.

    The Guardian, staffed by snowflakes and Harry Potters of the world.

    1. Bloke, you are so easily duped.

      Oh, Billy boy, I’m not the one with my head up my arse here. You are defending the obviously criminal Trump, not me.

      Sad!

  4. Both are correct. Pled is an irregular form and could be older. If not, it could be influenced by the past tenses of e.g.:
    feed – fed
    bleed – bled
    lead – led.
    Speed also has two correct past tenses, speeded – sped.
    American English, a colonial language, retains some older forms that have disappeared from British English. The same is true of the French spoken in Québec.

    1. cosmiccomics made points that had occurred to me. I recall Bill Bryson describing how many older English words have remained ‘live’ in the one time colonies, in one of his books.

      One thing that irritates me is the American spoken use of ‘aluminum’ for aluminium, a metal I was once very familiar with given my day and night jobs as an aircraft engineer, in another life. Should sodium be pronounced ‘sodum’. Just a thought.

  5. Actually, the theory that some “colonial” or remote languages have retained ancient features is not accepted by linguists. In fact, peripheral or isolated languages are more likely to change rapidly. The motherland languages, especially after the printing press, are expected to (and documented to) change more slowly.

    Here is what happens instead: How granular dialects are depends on a number of factors (including physical isolation, but that is in fact almost never the reason a dialect actually differentiates). But at some point you have, with a widely spoken language, a lot of dialects. A typical list of English dialects in America will give one for eastern New England, but in Boston alone there are close to a dozen distinguishable dialects. So figure that for English, globally, there are a thousand or two dialects.

    So that happens, then, somebody find out that in some dialect in Virginia or someplace people use a form of a word or a construct that is also found in Shakespeare. Those features of the dialect may or may not be left over from Elizabethan times, but if they are, they are minor compared to the many features of Elizabethan English that are in more common dialects, and thus, not even noticed. Or, they could have emerged more recently and are simply being confused.

    But, a combination of incorrect presumptions about language, culture, civilization, etc. are in place, and the cherries are abundant, the theory that this is an ancient remnant emerges, gets printed somewhere, and becomes part of our popular culture. Might even get in textbooks.

  6. How about discoverer Sir Humphry Davy’s original name…..alumium. But was the first “u” a schwa sound, or short or long? Or yu or oo or eh like bury? With all the different pronunciations of “u” in English, there are some amusing possibilities.

    Aluminium. I like that. Is that like Waterinium, the alternative name for Hydrogen?

  7. Some interesting points made (by everyone other than the usual right-wing liar and troll, who contributed nothing) here.

    But: I’m not sure if there is any issue here, really. Does it really matter which of “pled” and “pleaded” is used, now that both are commonly used and their meanings understood? Seems as unimportant as insisting it is incorrect to end a sentence with a preposition.

    1. Pure speculation, but possibly it was just a setup so our host could write the following:

      where now it is mostly used in phrases like “Trump’s lawyer and fixer, wise-guy Michael Cohen, pled guilty to helping Trump fix the election,” or “Trump’s former campaign manager and well known wise guy Paul Manafort could have pleaded guilty and gotten a deal, but he may have been more concerned with being rubbed out by the Russians than about a few years in jail” or “Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser, pled guilty rather than stand trial” and so on.

      🙂

  8. From the Slopeofhope.com

    1) The bandage was *wound* around the *wound*.
    2) The farm was used to *produce produce*.
    3) The dump was so full that it had to *refuse* more *refuse*.
    4) We must *polish* the *Polish* furniture.
    5) He could *lead*if he would get the *lead* out.
    6) The soldier decided to *desert* his dessert in the *desert*.
    7) Since there is no time like the *present*, he thought it was time to *present* the *present*. 8) A *bass* was painted on the head of the *bass* drum.
    9) When shot at, the *dove dove *into the bushes.
    10) I did not *object* to the *object*.
    11) The insurance was *invalid* for the *invalid*.
    12) There was a *row* among the oarsmen about how to *row*.
    13) They were too *close* to the door to *close* it.
    14) The buck *does* funny things when the *does* are present.
    15) A seamstress and a *sewer* fell down into a *sewer* line.
    16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his *sow* to *sow*.
    17) The *wind* was too strong to *wind* the sail.
    18) Upon seeing the *tear* in the painting I shed a *tear*.
    19) I had to *subject* the *subject* to a series of tests.
    20) How can I *intimate* this to my most *intimate* friend?

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