I commend Messrs. Chandler and Boone on their excellent “majority-minority” discourse on the usage of “pleaded” vs. “pled” (Daily Report, Jan. 16).
As a sitting judge of 31-plus years, now on the verge of retirement, I have often wondered about the above subject.
While both the “majority” (pleaded) and “minority” (pled) views make good points, one salient point was left out: conversational usage vs. written usage.
It is axiomatic that virtually every language—and I speak several—is more formalistic when written than when spoken. So the opposing viewpoints can be reconciled by using “pleaded” in written expression—hence the Supremes’ usage in most opinions (including state-level Supremes)—vs. “pled” conversationally. So both Chandler and Boone are correct in their positions, but it depends on written vs. oral usage.
Just because the Supreme Court goes back to the turn of the 18th century does not render the use of “pleaded” pedantic, stodgy, affected or old-fashioned; rather, it is a more proper, formal and accepted usage. After all, I doubt Shakespeare spoke with his buddies in iambic pentameter!
But (vs. however) on one thing Chandler, Boone and I agree: those who write “plead” (rhyming with fled, fed, red, etc.) intending past tense should be severely chastised, corrected and sent back to grammar school for remedial instruction!