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#142218 04/20/05 03:12 PM
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More years ago than I care to remember, I worked in the legal system in Colorado. At that time and in that place, the past tense of "to plead" was always "pled". Now I'm back in Ohio and hear the consistent use of "pleaded" as the past tense. Dictionary.com lists both as acceptable past tense, with "pleaded" given first. Does anyone know if this is a recent change in usage or if the difference is, maybe, regional?


#142219 04/20/05 05:11 PM
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You've come to the right place. I don't know the answer, but we have a judge in the form of Father Steve -- our resident Anglican priest -- who (along with several others here, I'm sure, just to confuse you) will probably be able to answer your question. Meanwhile, to start off the confusion: "Pled" sounds better to me, but AHD4 gives "pleaded" as the preferred form:

http://www.bartleby.com/61/68/P0366800.html


#142220 04/20/05 08:08 PM
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My preference is "pled", too, operating on the "lead, led" model. I realize these things are always tricky in English.


#142221 04/20/05 10:48 PM
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Surely you'd say "He pleaded for his life" wouldn't you?


#142222 04/21/05 01:21 AM
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I think I'd use pleaded. Pled sounds off in my ears.


#142223 04/21/05 01:36 AM
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Actually, maverick, I WOULD say "pleaded for his life", but then I would say his killer "pled guilty". This may be one of those specialized uses in a particular trade.


#142224 04/21/05 02:59 PM
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I hear both usages in Michigan, but "pled" is probably the more common in (comparatively) casual use. For the purpose of publication of legal resources, I use "pleaded" based on the usage recommendation of the various dictionaries.

Now, if I could just get people to stop saying they "motioned" the court ...


#142225 04/21/05 03:13 PM
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I would tend to use both pleaded and pled, but with the following [bold]very[/bold] general rules:

I would use pleaded when the verb is intransitive and pled when the verb is transitive.

I pleaded with Theo to do his homework. Every night!

I pled ignorance.

I would also say, "I pled guilty." But I think even though guilty is technically an adjective, thus making the verb intransitive, that the construction uses guilty as a noun, or as a substitution for the phrase "state of being guilty."

I would never think, speak, or write that I pled with Theo to do his homework. That would always be pleaded.

To plea or not to plea. Hey, Asp, there it is!



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#142226 04/21/05 09:21 PM
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TEd, that's a really good statement of how I would use those two words.
As for people "motioning" the court, I think they should be impacted with hammers....nouns being bastardized into verbs by lazy speakers of our wonderful language drives me nuts! I once wrote a radio piece on this in which I speculated on the rampant proliferation of this outrage and the resulting sentences: e.g. "If you don't vegetable, you can't dessert!' and "I'm hockeying tonight, can you car me?"

Frothin' at the mouth....


#142227 04/21/05 09:27 PM
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I used to be the head of our union at the newspaper I worked at - Father of the Chapel - and I had to bite my lip on many occasions when one of the lads or laddesses told me that they wanted to "pass a motion". I usually directed them to the toilets but they didn't get it. They thought that I was just taking the p*ss ... Well, I was. But not "just" taking the p*ss.


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