Pleaded vs. Pled: can’t we all just get along?

“In 1 Cor. 1:10, we see that Paul pleaded… pled… pleaded… OK, this sermon isn’t going any further until we get this sorted out…”

Matthew 5:9 tells us, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” In that spirit, knowing how much contention is out there on this vitally important topic, let me point those of you who need guidance–nay, a peace that will finally be provided to your warring souls–to this article: “Pleaded vs. Pled” from Daily Writing Tips.

I’m not the cleanest or clearest of writers here on my blog, in terms of grammar, etc. I try, but my haste often gets the better of me. But, that’s part of what’s nice about a blog. It’s a bit informal and a nice way to keep writing gears lubed without worrying too much that the writing is not “up to snuff” for major publication. Still, I do try to write as cleanly and clearly as I can.

And I am the sort of fellow who enjoys an occasional, impassioned discussion about the subtleties of syntax, the wonders of word choice, the glories of grammar, or the peculiarities of punctuation. I suppose I’ve demonstrated that in previous posts, such as the two (really? two?) on whether to put one or two spaces between sentences: “I repent! No more two-spacing! (See!)” and “One or two spaces after a period? The controversy continues…” (Actually, as I search through my old posts I can’t believe I have never addressed the pedigree of “they” as a valid third-person singular pronoun, which is something I just knew I had blogged about. Expect a brief post on the matter in the future… And what? I haven’t written about the Oxford Comma? Just what have I been wasting my time on with this blog, anyway?!?)

In that last “two spaces” post, I mentioned the Daily Writing Tips website, which I enjoy reading each day. Technically, I read its e-mailed newsletter, and today’s newsletter featured the debate between those who use “pleaded” as the past tense of “plead” and those who use “pled.” Like the “Two/One Spaces” controversy, passions apparently run high. I thought the article was a nice, thorough covering of the matter (and one which points out why being so judgmental on such a thing is, at best, over the top).

So if you plead today, but you wonder if yesterday you pleaded or pled, check it out. If you really don’t care, then ignore this post and kick back, relax, and enjoy a good magazine.

9 thoughts on “Pleaded vs. Pled: can’t we all just get along?

  1. “Pleaded”. Because I say so. (For me. 😉 Thou mayest do as thy love of linguistics moves thee. 😉 )

    I got introduced to the “wonders” 😉 of the Oxford Comma some time ago and now try to use it – but I’m always ready to use my habitual punctuation (no-OC) or the other way (yes-OC) as a given editor’s love of linguistics moves him. 😀

  2. What? Is it to much too ask for the writers here too properly use to and too and two correctly? I am Pleding for some sense in grammatical usige, never mind speiling. Besides it seems frivilus for someone too give creedence 2 having an Oxford Coma whil riting. Cammon, if it’s read able its korect, write?

  3. Steve

    I checked the Oxford English Dictionary. There is indeed a technical difference between the two. But people will talk as they do, so language constantly changes. I only ask… please don’t use no double negatives. (Did I just use a conjunction to begin a sentence?).

  4. Howdy, Steve. The Daily Writing Tips website mentioned the OED entry, as well. That’s one of the things I like about the DWT site: It goes to the best sources (OED, AP Stylebook, Chicago Manual of Style, et al.) and puts their comments and observations together in ways that not only gives good answers and guidance but also enables it to rise above the sources with an eye toward commonsense effectiveness. For example, they had a great entry on the item you mentioned: Beginning a sentence with a conjunction. It wasn’t your English teacher’s answer, but it was helpful and practical, with a focus on good communication — which, ultimately, is what the “rules” are meant to facilitate in the first place.

    Thanks for popping by!

  5. Norbert

    No amount of proper grammar and spelling has made the Bible totally clear. In my view two things need to be considered. Who has the property rights over the material and the reputation they have within their community. To use the example of “Cammon, if it’s read able its korect, write?”, I understood it but at the same time being the grammar police about such things isn’t up to me.

    I am comfortable with the often humorous way of this blog and the friendly/meandering choice of words here. Were it to appear as an official telecast from the LCG, then not so much.

  6. Mr. Smith: You think you have problems? I’m like the dyslexic agnostic in the joke – the one who lies awake at night wondering about the existence of Dog. 😛 Yes, I make that mistake in typing all the time (thankfully, I’m so consistently self-correcting that so far, the slip has never gotten into print). 🙂

  7. Norbert: You just might underestimate how the excruciating detail which the scribes who preserved the Hebrew Masoretic Text worked with in grammar, spelling, punctuation, syntax and so much else did and does make the Bible clear. Even the disputes among the scribes on such matters, and yes, even scribal errors, give us a “paper trail” – it’s the sort of thing I work with every day one way or another, just for the record.

    The reason the Bible isn’t understood – aside from God and/or Satan under God hiding things from people – is the reason so much else isn’t understood: a lot of people have a really hard time taking into account all the relevant facts and applying the closest possible shave of Occam’s Razor to them.

    My point in response is to head off a potential false dichotomy. The founder of the Waldensians found he had no trouble understanding the Bible; all he needed was an accurate translation of it. And so it is with anyone else who is called to salvation and is willing to apply himself. Grammar, punctuation, and spelling are our allies, not our enemies or our limitations, in understanding the Bible. Again, if we don’t understand the Bible – if it’s not totally clear to us for “saving knowledge” and so much else – it’s not because the hard data isn’t there, and so I wonder whether your opening statement is even relevant. In any case, the Masoretes alone would make the English “grammar Nazis” of today look like first-graders by comparison – and that was for our benefit.

    Of course, if we were all speaking and writing pointed Hebrew (and having a Hebrew Language Academy to help guide the Israeli public along within reasonable guidelines, as the French do with their language, doesn’t hurt), we wouldn’t be having this discussion in all probability. We’d face other problems, but at least they’d be different ones! 😀 No human language in this age is perfect.

  8. Teresa

    I know this topic is veering a little from the original blog on plead and pled, but in conjunction with John’s comment on the Jewish scribes, we briefly visited the Israel Museum in Jerusalem this year during the Feast. I was absolutely amazed at the ancient manuscripts that have been preserved in the museum. The writing is very small, but each of the letters perfectly formed, in perfectly straight rows….with no lines drawn on the parchments, no marks of “white out”. They are beautiful works of art and precision, as well as being the preservation of the “oracles of God”, as Paul tells us.

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