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When Choosing Pleaded or Pled, Grammar Pitted Against Popular Usage

June 30, 2013

Since law school, I've been engaged in what seems to be a never-ending debate over the use of "pleaded" versus "pled." For the record, I prefer pleaded. As a graduate of legal writing guru Bryan Garner's alma mater–and his school of thought–I learned early on that pleaded is the correct past-tense form. According to Garner's "A Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage," pled is an "alternative past tense form to be avoided."