Led vs Lead | Definitions & Example Sentences

“Lead” (which rhymes with “seed”) is a verb that means “guide or direct” (e.g., “I will lead you to the classroom”). “Led” (which rhymes with “bed”) is the past tense and past participle form of “lead” (e.g., “I led her to the classroom”).

As a noun, “lead” has various definitions. It can refer to an example or precedent, leadership, or the distance someone or something has ahead of someone or something else. When used in this manner, “lead” also rhymes with “seed.”

“Lead” can also refer to a soft, gray metal. In this case, “lead” rhymes with “said.”

Examples: Led in a sentence Examples: Lead in a sentence
I led him to the boat we’d be using. He told me he’ll lead me to the store.
Carla led David to the examination room. My coach told me to increase my lead.
My sister led me to my surprise party. I bought lead for my mechanical pencils.

Lead definition and examples

“Lead” has several definitions and can function as both a verb and a noun.

Lead as a verb

Below, you’ll find the different meanings of “lead” as a verb, along with example sentences. Remember, when used in the present tense, “lead” rhymes with “seed.”

Lead as a verb
Definition Examples
Physically guide or direct someone or something, especially by being in front of them Our tour guide will lead us to the coolest spots in the city.
To be in control of someone or something by being the leader I will lead this company to the highest profits you’ve ever seen.
Be the best at something or be in first place We lead the industry in having the most innovative yet affordable products.
To bring someone to a particular condition, conclusion, or belief She will lead him to believe that their teammate was at fault.
To go in a particular direction or place Beach Road will lead you directly to our summer home.
“Lead” is an irregular verb, meaning it does not follow the typical conjugation rules of adding “-ed” or “-d” to form its past tense and past participle forms (both of which are “led”).

Lead as a noun

“Lead” also has multiple definitions when used as a noun. Below, you’ll find its different meanings with example sentences.

Lead as a noun
Definition Examples
The position or distance ahead of someone else in a race or competition She has sold over 25 boxes of cookies and is now in the lead over her classmates.
A precedent or example for people to emulate I will follow their lead and vote for whoever my siblings vote for.
A clue or piece of information useful in investigations The detective received several leads about the crime.
The main actor of a movie or play I was ecstatic when I found out I would be the lead in the play.
A metallic chemical element If not properly maintained, lead pipes can be dangerous.

“Lead” can also function as an adjective that describes something as “primary or foremost in position, value, or importance.” In this manner, it is also pronounced like “seed.”

Examples: Using lead as an adjective
It was the lead story; therefore, it was on the front page of the newspaper.

He has been the lead actor in many famous movies.

We had to focus on selling the lead product.

Led definition and examples

The simple past tense form of “lead” is “led” (it is also the past participle).

Examples: How to use led in a sentence
He followed as I led him to the party in the backyard.

Stephanie led the team to the championship game.

She was led to believe that it wasn’t her fault when it actually was.

“LED” can also be used as an acronym for “light emitting diode.” When used in this manner, all letters are capitalized.

Examples: Using LED as an acronym
She wanted to buy LED headlights for her new car.

My roommate switched out the old light bulbs with LED bulbs.

I added LED lights to the room to create a warmer ambiance.

Frequently asked questions about led vs lead

What is the past participle of lead?

The past participle of “lead” is “led” (e.g., “They had led the group to the highest peak of the mountain”).

Remember, the verb “lead” is an irregular verb, meaning it does not follow the typical conjugation patterns of simply adding “-ed” or “-d” to form the simple past tense and past participle of a word.

Is it has led or has lead?

The past tense and past participle of “lead” is “led,” meaning that the correct phrasing is “has led” (e.g., “She has led us to the best places in town”).

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Gina Rancaño, BA

Gina holds a Bachelor of Arts in English, as well as a certificate in professional and public writing from Florida International University. When she’s not writing, she spends her time reading.