Lead vs. Lead – What’s the Difference?

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

The word lead falls under different parts of speech and has different definitions in the English language. To add even more confusion, it also has more than one pronunciation.

I’ll show you the difference between lead vs. lead in this guide with sentence examples. You’ll learn that lead can mean to be in charge of or a chemical element used in ammunition and other objects.

What Are the Two Meanings of Lead?

httpsgrammarist.comheteronymslead vs lead

The first meaning of the verb lead is to influence someone or something to go with one. For example, a mother may lead her child to cross the street by holding his hand. The alpha wolf leads the pack when looking for food.

It can also mean to control a group of people or country, have first place in a competition, or be superior. Its conjugations include will lead, is leading, led, leads, and more.

Its noun form, lead, means the initiative in an action or a position of advantage.

Some Synonyms for Lead

  • Guide
  • Be the head of
  • Preside of
  • Preside over
  • Hold sway over
  • Head
  • Show
  • Usher
  • Pilot
  • Marshal
  • Shepherd
  • Accompany
  • Help
  • Assist
  • Steer
  • Escort
  • Lead the way
  • Conduct

Examples of Lead (l-e-e-d) in a Sentence

  • We’re going to play follow the leader today in pre-school.
  • You go first, and I’ll follow your lead.
  • When the Spurs are running and Jones is leading the charge, good things tend to happen because he has the right amount of speed, patience and good judgment. (Pounding the Rock)
  • Nikola Jokic has 13 points, 13 rebounds, and 13 assists for his second straight triple-double to lead the Denver Nuggets over the Memphis Grizzlies 105-91 on Tuesday night in a matchup between the top two teams in the Western Conference. (Bloomberg)

The second definition of lead has something to do with metals. This noun refers to a heavy chemical element of atomic number 81. We use lead in pencils, plumbing, ammunition, batteries, and other items.

Examples of Lead (l-e-d) in a Sentence

  • Lead poisoning was a big issue when I was a kid.
  • It’s not a good idea to use lead paint for interior applications anymore.
  • The agency is proposing over several years to ban lead ammunition at Rachel Carson and other wildlife refuges across the country. (Maine Public)
  • Two elks were killed by poachers using lead ammo in an area frequented by the California condors now flying free in the region, putting the endangered birds’ lives in danger. (North Coast Journal)

Lead Pronunciations

When referring to the verb or noun lead which means to influence someone, control a group of people or country, have first place in a competition, or be superior to, the correct pronunciation is /lēd/.

When referring to the chemical element lead, the correct pronunciation is /led/.

Can Lead Be the Past Tense of Lead?

Led is the acceptable past tense form of the verb lead.

Is It Has Lead or Had Led?

The correct present perfect form of lead is has led because the past participle form of lead is led.

Lead vs. Lead Summary

Let’s review the different meanings of lead.

  • Lead with a long e sound can be a noun or verb, which means to be in charge of or a position of advantage. The simple past and participle form of the verb led.
  • Lead with a short e sound is a noun that refers to a type of metal.