Ok, I know language changes over time. I know I should just be flexible and not let the changes bother me too much. But when reporters on NPR use “pleaded” as the past tense of “plead” it sounds as awkward to me as if they are saying “He writed a good book”.
What sounds better to you?
He pled guilty.
He pleaded guilty.
I’ll admit that I have a weakness for strong verbs (“those which mark their past tense by means of changes to the stem vowel”)*. For example: write, wrote; run, ran; sing, sang; plead, pled. I worry that they’ll go extinct because we’re not making any more of them. All newly-coined verbs are weak — that is, they take regular endings to change tenses: google, googled; text, texted; type, typed.
Here’s a list of English irregular verbs (not all irregular verbs are strong, but all strong verbs are irregular). Use them, love them, don’t let them die!
*for more on strong verbs in Germanic languages, of which English is one, see