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Pled guilty
Posted: 14 April 2016 08:28 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I’m pretty sure that, when speaking, I always use pled as the past form of plead in the phrase above. (In writing, the red wigglies cow me into using pleaded.)

This is odd because it is not considered a standard form in Australia, my homeland. OED mentions it as a N.Am and Scottish variant. “Pled guilty” just sounds like correct English to me.

Raw Googlestats supports the idea that the form is quite rare in Australia, with site:au “pled guilty” getting about 1% as many hits as site:au “pleaded guilty”. Compare that to the unrestricted search, in which “pled guilty” gets about 12% as many hits as “pleaded guilty”.
A few of these hits are in pieces discussing the pled/pleaded dichotomy, but there are also plenty from justice.gov, and from North American news sites.

The strange thing is, while I would say “pled guilty” or “pled innocent”, I would not use pled in most other contexts. “He pleaded with me to turn down the volume” sounds right to me, and “He pled with me” sounds wrong.

A search on “he pled with me” again gives about 13% as many hits as “he pleaded with me”, so about the same ratio as with “pled guilty/pleaded guilty”.

If I do this test with site:au, I get about 40 hits with pleaded and 1 hit for pled, but this is for a single direct quote from Alan Alda, so probably the n is too low to draw any conclusions.

What say you? Do any of you say pled? Would you be more likely to say pled in “pled guilty” than in “he pled with me”?

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Posted: 14 April 2016 09:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Like you, I naturally say pled with regard to entering a legal plea, but pleaded otherwise.

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Posted: 14 April 2016 10:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Both pleaded and pled were standard at one time. Then pled all but disappeared from British English. It remained in use in Scotland and became established in the US, but is the less common form, but both forms can be found and both are acceptable in Leftpondia.

Stats:

Hits in Corpus of Contempory American English (1990–2015):

pleaded / pled : 4870 / 643 (8:1)

pleaded guilty / pled guilty: 1994 / 395 (5:1)

Hits in British National Corpus (1980–93):

pleaded / pled : 900 / 31 (29:1)

pleaded guilty / pled guilty: 261 / 17 (15:1)

Both Google Ngrams and the Corpus of Historical American English shows an increase in American use of pled guilty since 1960. So that form is on the rise, but it’s still a minority usage.

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Posted: 14 April 2016 11:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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As with OP and Doc it’s pled for me in legal contexts, pleaded otherwise. I thought this was standard in the UK but I could well be out of touch,

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Posted: 14 April 2016 04:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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aldiboronti - 14 April 2016 11:45 AM

As with OP and Doc it’s pled for me in legal contexts, pleaded otherwise. I thought this was standard in the UK but I could well be out of touch,

Huh.

So three of us are weirdos.

I’m trying to think of other cases where a different past form is used in different contexts.

Thanks for the statistics, Dave.

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Posted: 14 April 2016 10:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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For me here in SE England it has always been pleaded in all contexts. I’m aware of having come across pled once or twice (I don’t think it was in legal contexts) but had always subconsciously filed it as ‘odd: maybe archaic/regional/idiosyncratic?’

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Posted: 15 April 2016 12:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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pled all but disappeared from British English. It remained in use in Scotland

....“Scots wha hae wi’ Wallace pled”.....

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Posted: 15 April 2016 02:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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OP Tipping - 14 April 2016 04:32 PM


I’m trying to think of other cases where a different past form is used in different contexts.

Transitive hang is regular only in the case of the means of execution.  They hanged the man from the gallows, but they hung the pictures on the wall.

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Posted: 15 April 2016 03:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Good, relevant example.

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Posted: 15 April 2016 03:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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I had it in my head that pleaded was the usual legal usage in the US. Black’s Law Dictionary, 8th ed. edited by Bryan Garner, doesn’t comment on which is correct, but uses pleaded in its examples. Garner’s Modern American Usage (3rd) doesn’t call out a separate legal usage, nor does MWDEU.

Someone who has access to the AP Style Guide might want to check that. I have a suspicion that’s where I got the idea that pleaded was legally correct, but I no longer subscribe.

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Posted: 15 April 2016 07:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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The hot-off-the-presses fourth edition of Garner (now called Garner’s Modern English Usage rather than Garner’s Modern American Usage) has the following entry:

pleaded; *pled; plead (as a past tense). Pleaded has always been the predominant past-tense and past-participial form. From the early 1600s, pleaded has appeared much more frequently in print sources than its rivals. Commentators on usage have long preferred it, pouring drops of vitriol onto *has pled and *has plead [...]

The problem with these strong pronouncements, of course, is that *pled and *plead have gained some standing in AmE, as the Evanses noted in the 1950s [...]: “In the United States pleaded and pled are both acceptable for the past tense and for the past participle. In Great Britain only the form pleaded is used and pled is considered an Americanism” (DCAU at 372).

Indeed, ✳pled, dating from the 16th century, is nearly obsolete in BrE, except as a dialectal word. Nor is it considered quite standard in AmE, although it is a common variant in legal usage [...]. It is less common outside legal writing, but it still shows up—e.g.: “ ‘I didn’t mean anything—hey, are you okay? Don’t cry, Bella,’ he pled [read pleaded].” Stephanie Meyer, Eclipse 479 (2007).

Still, pleaded is the predominant form in both AmE and BrE, is always the best choice [...].

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Posted: 15 April 2016 08:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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The third has the same wording; I just missed it. (It’s not a well structured entry.)

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Posted: 15 April 2016 09:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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This is a bigger difference in context and construction, but FWIW:

The way the lizard crept up the wall creeped me out.

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Posted: 16 April 2016 05:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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And then there’s /lept/ and /li:pt/ for leaped, where the same difference in pronunciation is not accompanied by a difference in spelling.

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Posted: 16 April 2016 02:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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lionello - 15 April 2016 12:47 AM

pled all but disappeared from British English. It remained in use in Scotland

....“Scots wha hae wi’ Wallace pled”.....

Nice one :)

As a speaker of south-east Scotland English, I think I probably assumed that ‘pled’ was correct growing up, and that ‘pleaded’ was only written by errant English folk.

So that kinda fits in with expectations, I guess.

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Posted: 16 April 2016 04:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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And then there’s /lept/ and /li:pt/ for leaped, where the same difference in pronunciation is not accompanied by a difference in spelling.

I (and apparently a lot of other people) would spell it leapt if pronounced the former way.

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