Plead or Pleaded?

Is it proper to use the past tense of the verb “plead” as “Joe plead not guilty” or “Joe pleaded not guilty”?

Lately, I have seen most websites use the term “pleaded”. But I have always been under the impression the correct past tense was “plead” (pronounced “pled”).

In fact, although I usually see it written as “pleaded”, that just sounds so wrong when I hear someone say it that way. For example, here is a recent news article in which the verb appears to be used both ways:

St. Patrick’s Day attackers plead guilty in videotaped beating <snip>

<snip>Four young people charged in a videotaped attack on a drunken tourist, who was beaten, robbed and stripped in front of a city courthouse on St. Patrick’s day, pleaded guilty to their roles in the crime Monday <snip>

If I got this wrong and the first use of “plead” is the present tense, I still see many, many stories in which both forms of “plead” are used in both the past and present tense.

After the hanged - hung debate. Why not ‘pled’?

Sorry. I missed the hanged - hung debate.

But when used as the past tense, “plead” is pronounced “pled” and so I supose it is similar to “hung”.

I always thought that “plead” was used as the past tense and I have no idea when or how “pleaded” ever got into usage as the past tense.

Pled is a perfectly valid word and spelling.

Plead (rhymes with need) can be used in the future and present tenses - as in “I will go to court/I am in in court to plead my case.”

Pleaded in this sense, just sounds clunky to me.

“Pleaded” has always been the standard firm in newspapers. “Pled” makes me cringe.

I always heard/saw “pled” growing up. It’s only been in the last 10-20 years I started hearing “pleaded” on the national news and good grief is that grating on the ears. Ouch. Makes them sound like Radar O’Reilly.

I never herd pled. Pled until I bled.

Ain’t English fun?

For some reason I expect defendants to have pled either guilty or not guilty but in other situations I expect pleaded. “‘Don’t go,’ she pleaded.”.

Human memory is faulty. The Associated Press and New York Times have always used “pleaded.”

I have a 1987 edition of the Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual (which was only updated sometime around the late 90s), and you are absolutely correct. There is an entry for plead:

The AP Stylebook is the standard used by most newspapers around the US. If there’s an in-house style guide, it is usually based on the AP Stylebook, in my experience, or defers to the AP Stylebook for anything not covered in the in-house stylebook.

As do opinions issued by appellate courts.

I’ve only heard “pled” in TV courtroom dramas. In every other instance it’s “pleaded”, as in “No matter how much he pleaded with his mother, little Johnny was not getting a bb gun that Christmas.”

In Commonwealth jurisdictions, pleaded is used. Pled is treated as a colloquialism. If a lawyer spoke in court of his client having pled guilty, he would look like a yokel who had been watching too much TV.