I thinks these are common expressions.

Lead with an impressive accomplishment.

Start with a belief statement

I cannot tell the difference between both. are "lead with" and "start with" exchangeable?


"Lead with" is quite specific to composing a news article, a speech, or an essay, or at any rate some sort of written or spoken work. Most often a relatively short work. It comes from the newspaper tradition, if I am not mistaken, where the opening paragraph is known as the lead or "lede".

"Start with" is much more general.

  • In designing a compute system, start with the purpose it is designed to fulfill.
  • In creating a sculpture, Jones said that he would always start with the shape of the uncut stone.

In neither case would "lead with" be appropriate.

When "lead with" is appropriate about writing, "start with" can generally be substituted, with no change in meaning. 'Lead with" is a bit "punchier", feels a bit more like the language of the professional advice-giver or motivational speaker. That may be good or bad, depending on the overall style and intent of the author.

"Lead with" also has some completely different meanings in different contexts. It has specific meanings in boxing, and in card games, for example, that have nothing to do with the usage above. One should be careful that these uses are not likely to be confused with a use in describing writing.

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