Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Interesting bit on "pled" vs. "pleaded"

All of my professional life, and as far back as I can remember, I've used the word "pled" as the past tense of the word "plead." The media, however, seems to prefer "pleaded." "Pleaded" has always struck my ears like nails on a chalkboard and my eyes like a gruesome autopsy photo. Further, every lawyer & judge I know uses "pled." So where did this unholy abomination "pleaded" come from?

Well, the AP Style Manual and Sir William Blackstone, apparently. I found a nice read from the Columbia Journalism Review that discusses the matter thoroughly.

Provenance of "pleaded" aside, I'm sticking with "pled." It arose from Scottish legal usage, and is at least 400 years old. The poet Edmund Spenser was fond of it(Book V, Canto IX, 395), and so am I.

4 comments:

ctguthrie said...

Note to self. Use "pleaded" around Matt.

Clarence Guthrie

Paul Quinn said...

During my first crime story for The Daily Mississippian, an editor and I had words after he changed pled to pleaded for the paper. I had grown up hearing "so-and-so pled today..." and thought that was correct.

Even today I try to write around the word "pleaded." But that is not possible.

Michael said...

I wondered if maybe it was a regional thing. Were the people in the North more likely to have "pleaded" while those of us in the South might prefer to have "pled." I found a blog post from the Columbia Journalism Review (from the heart of the media elite, New York City) which suggests that the safer course for America would be to go along with their preference, and adopt "pleaded." Therefore, I will stick with "pled."

BEWalton17 said...

It's not southern regional. I grew up close to Buffalo, NY, and I never heard the phrase "pleaded guilty" (also: nails on a blackboard) until a few years ago. It's godawful.