The Past Form Isn’t Present

lead-led meme

It was mid afternoon as Grammar Smith walked into the Hunt and Peck after an extended shift at the Department of English Language Offenses. She just wanted a quick glass of Chardonnay to unwind before heading home.

The bar was pretty much deserted. Grammar sat down a couple of seats away from Led and Paid, and ordered her drink.

“Hello.”

“Hiya, Lieutenant,” Paid replied.

Led just grunted and stared into his beer.

“Rough night?” Paid asked Grammar.

“Not sure I’d say it was rough, more like complicated. We had to track some subject-verb agreement offenses over at Fustian University. It took way too much time. What about you two? What are you doing here in the middle of the afternoon?”

Led snorted, looked up at Rocky, the bartender, and said, “Again.”

She brought him a shot and a beer.

“Whoa there, Led. Hope you’re not driving anywhere,” Grammar said.

“No, I’m driving him home later,” Paid explained. She didn’t look too happy as she nursed her drink.

“What’s going on?”

“Led’s in a bad way,” Paid said. “Both of us have been pushed out by incorrect verb forms. ‘Payed’ has been butting in more often for me, but Led has it worse. Seems like everyone, including writers who should know better, are using ‘lead’ for the past tense of ‘to lead.’”

“It’s just too heavy!” Led downed the shot and gulped the beer.

“C’mon. How bad could it be?”

Paid shot a quick glance at Led, who had his head cradled in his arms on the bar.

“It’s everywhere, Lieutenant. I’m almost thinking the DELO should get involved. It’s killing Led, literally if he keeps drinking like this.”

Grammar sighed. She never seemed to be able to get away from her work.

“I’ll put it on the department’s investigation list,” she promised sipping the last of her wine and heading for home.

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8 thoughts on “The Past Form Isn’t Present

  1. Apologies to Led!

    I’ve screwed this one up many times following editing programs and human editors. It won’t happen again. We’ll argue over commas after ‘so’ and ‘ago.’ 😄

    ‘Payed?’ Really? Oh, my!

    Like

    • Yes, it’s right at the top of my extensive list of pet peeves. I was reading an article on education and educational trends and saw “lead” used incorrectly several times. 😱(Yes, I screamed out loud. Scared the fur off my cat and made my dog wake up.)

      My students have used “payed,” but I’ve seen it online in publications that should have better screening processes. (More screaming…)

      Commas are tricky little buggers that cause lots of grammar controversy. (Not to mention they give us something to talk about when we’re bored. 😀)

      Liked by 1 person

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