Need some help on how to use "in the lead". I came up with several possible valid usages.

Situation 1-- At a high school, two clubs, club A and club B, are trying to get as many students to join as possible. Currently club A has enrolled more students than club B:

Club A is in the lead.

Situation 2-- A referendum will take place soon, concerning whether an geographical area currently part of a sovereign country, should become an independent sovereign country. There are two political groups trying to influence voters. The pro-union group want voters to vote no. The pro-independence group want voters to vote yes. A poll of like voters was recently done, and it shows that there more voters more likely to vote no than yes:

The pro-union group is in the lead.
The no vote is in the lead.

Situation 3-- Suppose there is a soccer match between Team USA and Team France.
At the match are American fans supporting Team USA and French fans supporting Team France. Then, Team USA scored a goal, going up 1-0. The American fans are very happy:

The American fans are in the lead.

Are the four sentences for respective situations (situation 2 has two sentences) okay English?

  • This seems to be a proofreading question. Could you add some details regarding why you think these usages might be OK or not, based on definitions or some other reference?
    – user3169
    Commented Sep 23, 2014 at 4:10
  • @user3169 This question is motivated by another question about "in the lead".
    – meatie
    Commented Sep 25, 2014 at 19:47
  • 1
    I don't think this is a proofreading question. It does ask if the sentences are okay, but it has some rather detailed explanation of the OP's thinking and is focused on a specific point, usage of in the lead.
    – user230
    Commented Sep 25, 2014 at 21:58
  • @snailboat I am glad somebody sees the usefulness of my question.
    – meatie
    Commented Sep 26, 2014 at 4:18

1 Answer 1


Used as a singular noun, we can certainly use in the lead that way. This said, your sentences in the given contexts are okay.

TheFreeDictionary talks about it:

You often say that someone is in the lead.

This means that someone is winning, ahead or the like.

However, the last instance you describe does not talk about the American team winning the game. There, in the lead to mean cheer/happy is incorrect [Thanks user3169].

  • 2
    In Situation 3, the "American fans" are not in the lead. Its a competition between the teams, not their fans. You could say "The American fans are happy their team is in the lead."
    – user3169
    Commented Sep 23, 2014 at 4:41
  • Very good point. I was too tired to read all of them till end! :( Thanks. Editing.
    – Maulik V
    Commented Sep 23, 2014 at 5:55

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .