Carrying on from a previous grammar post regarding line editing, it’s time to examine a couple of additional word pairs that can get confusing.

Premier vs. Premiere

According to Dictionary.com, a premier as a noun is the grand pubah or head honcho of an organization. Some countries refer to the heads of their cabinets as premiers or it can simply mean the chief officer in any organization. As an adjective, it means the “first in rank” or “first in time.”

I was confused by this last meaning in my own writing. I was thinking of the word in terms of the first edition or first show of a series, like on TV. At first, I thought, based on the adjective definition, premier was correct. But it didn’t look right and I was justified in my suspicion.

The correct word I needed was premiere, which, according to Dictionary.com, means the first time something is performed or presented to the public. This something can be a person or the performance or presentation itself. It can take the form of a noun, verb, or adjective but all have the same meaning.

An easy way to remember the difference is to simply consider the subject of your writing. If it is a play, movie, book, television show, magazine, or any other item written, performed, or presented to the public for viewing, reading, listening, etc., the correct word is premiere. If you’re talking about an officer or government person, it’s premier.

Lead vs. Led

The pair of words, lead and led, has tripped me up in the past because the word lead, usually pronounced leed can be pronounced led when talking about the metal of lead, defined by Dictionary.com as “a heavy, comparatively soft, malleable, bluish-gray metal, sometimes found in its natural state but usually combined as a sulfide, especially in galena.” The proper word is also lead when using the metal in a cliche as in “He has a lead foot,” describing a perpetual speeder. Because lead sounds like led and my fingers sometimes fly faster than my brain, they insist on writing lead when I mean led.

The word lead (pronounced leed, not describing the metal), can be used as a present tense verb, noun, or an adjective. According to Dictionary.com, the present tense verb means to go first, show the way, guide, or influence. For example, on my desk is a Isabel Bloom heart I received at a Women’s Connection conference that says, “Lead with your heart.”

According to Dictionary.com, as a noun, lead (leed) means the position in first place or ahead of others, something that leads (or goes first, shows the way, guides, or influence), or a particular type of leash. As an adjective, Dictionary.com says lead describes the most important thing, that which goes first, or that which leads. As a noun, an example would be, “I got the lead in the school musical.” And, as an adjective, “I got the lead role in the school musical.”

Led, on the other hand, is simply the past tense and past participle version of the verb, lead, not to be confused with the capitalized version, LED, that Dictionary.com includes which describes a type of light bulb.

Fortunately, just like this lead vs. led mistake can be easy for your fingers to make as you’re flying along writing on your keyboard, it’s just as easy for your brain to correct it during the editing and proofreading process. Just remember, the only time you use the led-pronounced version of lead is when talking about the metal. If you are using the word as the past tense of the leed-pronounced verb of lead, then use led.

May you always be in the lead position after you have led your followers to lead..