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Past tense of “text”

Now that text messaging has become a normal method of communication, “text” appears to have become a verb, as in “Text your vote in now”. Once that vote has been sent, what is the past tense? I don’t think that I can bring myself to use “texted”, but always saying “sent a text message” seems to be a contrived way to avoid “texted”.

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Do you use "faxed" for the past tense of, the, now verbed, "fax"? If so, is it not the same for "text"?


M56 September 9, 2005, 2:19am

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i have to admit that i am guilty of using the word "texted" when i am telling someone that i just sent them a text message. i'd say, "i just texted you!". it is just so convenient to do that. mobile text messaging language is really not a very good source of language practice.

lush September 9, 2005, 11:48am

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Of course it is "texted", why wouldn't it? Same as with "test/tested".

slemmet September 10, 2005, 6:43pm

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I think the aversion to 'texted' comes from the 't' at the end which forces an awkard two syllable jump unlike faxed. It is also less pleasant than tested because of the hardness of the 'x'. But there isn't much that can be done about it since 'textd' is completely unacceaptable. Just to let you know a variant. I've used and heard several people use 'ping' instead of text. Which comes from the computer program 'ping' which lets you find a computer on the internet. So you can 'ping bob' or say 'I pinged you about it an hour ago' which is much more comfortable to say. Though I don't think it will catch on.

rdajer September 16, 2005, 5:31pm

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could always use "im'd" like...."hey, i im'd you a bit ago"

thesplenderinice September 18, 2005, 12:48am

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I've found that when somebody says "I just texted you", even though in my head I think it's spelt "texted", people actually pronounce it the same as "text"... or maybe more accurately, "tex'd" (which then sounds almost identical to "text").

GP September 18, 2005, 6:32pm

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We could implement a spelling change for the past tense of "text." Which, in turn, would copy an existing word and thus, create an additional meaning for this word. The past tense of "text" could be "taxed." Let us not forget that "shat" has worked wonderfully beside "shit." Although, there are no other meanings for the word "shat."

Steve September 21, 2005, 7:57pm

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"Sent" can be used in this case, as in "I sent you a message."
Don't forget that English is a living language and changes. "Fine" used to mean "thin" as in the phrase "there's a fine line between ...."

Dave September 25, 2005, 12:48pm

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Since text is not a verb (it's either a noun, as in "sending text")or an adjective, as in "text messaging") why not avoid the whole thing and say: "I sent you a text message?" or "I text messaged you"?

Stik September 25, 2005, 10:53pm

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Stik, the point is that it is a noun that has also become a verb. That is very common in English.

slemmet September 26, 2005, 1:20am

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"Texted" will never make it into common use. Unfortunately for some, the Internet makes it easier and faster for people to define language. Anyway, I think "texxed" or "texed" (sp?) is the best solution.

As one of the previous commentors stated, it sounds like "text." However, I think there is some small difference (softer ending sound, maybe a difference of emphasis).

me September 26, 2005, 10:07am

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That's how it is. It sounds strange, but when written in a specific way based on how it sounds, it reads:


Which is also confusing. There is an "ed-ed" sound in there, which you have been taught to never say.

Mike September 27, 2005, 7:19pm

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I'm with you, Slemmet, but this happens to be one of my wife's pet peeves. She hates hearing that olympic atheletes "medal" in a particular sport. In fact, when a noun is made into a verb, she says that they "verbed a noun". See? She does it too! Personally, I love it. I think it's the dynamic nature of the language (although I do try not to use "interface" as a verb. It's such a corporate non-speak buzzword.)

porsche October 26, 2005, 5:22pm

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I'm a grammar Nazi, so I wouldn't use it if I didn'tn think it was correct. The fax analogy serves my perspective well: I use the word "text" as a verb which I'd define as "to send an SMS text message from one mobile phone to another" and I conjugate it as a regular verb. I will text you later; I haven't texted him yet.

joannaceleftheriou December 4, 2005, 8:48pm

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I personally like "Taxt" as the past tense of "Text"

but i was never very good in English

Jon December 7, 2005, 3:21pm

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test - tested, fax - faxed, text - texed. Make it happen Webster!!!

tom_duke January 16, 2006, 11:12am

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It is the pronumciation text-ed as 2 parts I dislike, texed should sould very similar to text , one does not say run -ed

M January 16, 2006, 12:12pm

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Present tense text
Past perfect texed

without the harse double sound and the double false sound

More January 16, 2006, 12:39pm

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Yes, when "text" is a verb (i.e. send a text message), it's past tense is "texted". And I hear it quite commonly in everyday conversation.

Chris February 18, 2006, 4:24am

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You are all wrong. Text has not become an verb, it is slang. If used as slang, the past tense of Text is Text.

Tranaut March 3, 2006, 4:14pm

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I think that it is true that it has become a verb, but in a different language. It is a verb in txt language so it has none of the original english rules to apply to it. Because txt is such a loose language, it would be perfectly acceptable to have three forms of the past tense. People use whatever they feel like, when they feel like, no matter who likes it or not. Though i am an extreme pedant, I have learnt this new language and so I know that in txt, the past tense of txt is txtd. It is little more than academic interest whether and how we should transliterate this into English as everyone who speaks txt will use the pronunciation (and people, please get that word right, it is one of my biggest pet peeves, pronounce is the verb pronunciation is the the noun) teck stid.

DamonTarlaei March 3, 2006, 5:43pm

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Olá, sou Brasileiro e não domino muito bem o inglês e gostaria que se algum estrangeiro que entende a lingua inglesa me enviasse textos que estão no " PRESENT TENSE" E "PAST TENSE".

desde já muito obrigado!!!!

Brsil, 11 de agosto de 2006......

tiagothecomedy August 11, 2006, 6:22pm

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Some of my uneducated friends say the past tense of text is texted. However, my cohorts and I have written dissertations about the sound of the word "texted". As an intellectual whole, we feel it doesn't fit within the overall vernacular of the English Language. The past tense of text is taxed and it will be published in Webster's Dictionary in 2008. I just got it passed.

Dr. Peter Bloofmiiel December 30, 2006, 11:22pm

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I'm finding this discussion fascinating.
I always privately pondered whether the word should be said as "text-ted" or "text'd" (<-said similar to "faxed").

But then we get to the "it ends it t" issue..
However, consider the word "fast", as in "to go without food".
Jesus went on a fast for forty days. Do we not say that he "fasted" ("fast-ted")? If the past of fast is fasted, then the past of text should be "texted".

Therefore, methinks that Dr. Pete should hold Webster's horses.

RenegadeX December 31, 2006, 3:25pm

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"learnt" That form always bugs me. Learned. Ah, that's better.

fargrave January 26, 2007, 2:55pm

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Anyone who says it should be "texed" because "FAX" changes to "FAXed" is an IDIOT! "Text" ends in "t". "FAX" does not. There's no analogy here at all! And, by the way, it's spelled "FAX", all capitals, not "fax".

Anonymous January 29, 2007, 8:13am

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I know I'm guilty of saying "textED," but always with the recognition that it sounds funny.

sapphicstanza February 1, 2007, 3:50pm

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Anonymous wrote: And, by the way, it's spelled "FAX", all capitals, not "fax".

That's off topic, and bogus. "Fax" is not an acronym, it's an abbreviation of the word "facsimile". Name me one other abbreviation that gets all-caps?

RenegadeX February 2, 2007, 2:16am

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NO, renegade, it IS an acronym. It stands for Facsimile Transmission (with transmission commonly abbreviated as X-mission), i.e., FAcsimile Xmission. So there. And it's NOT particularly off topic either.

Anonymous February 2, 2007, 8:52am

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This is kind of interesting that this topic comes up. Recently, watching day time tv I have noticed an increased amount of usage with the work "texted". I have never heard that used otherwise. Now I am watching the O.C and I see that texted made its way into their script. Its interesting how fast we can promote stupidity in our culture over the waves in the sky.

drG February 18, 2007, 4:27pm

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Found through Google Answers...

According to the online version of the Oxford English Dictionary
(available through some libraries), there has been a verb "text" since the 1500s, with a past tense of "texted" or "tex'd." The current meaning of "to send a text message" was accepted by the OED in its draft additions of June 2004, and include the example of "texted.

John February 19, 2007, 4:16pm

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RE: fax vs. FAX

I am a technical writer, and have been for nearly 20 years, and I can tell you unequivocally that "fax" is NOT an acronym; it's merely a shortened version of the word facsimile. Check any dictionary. I looked at both the Merriam Webster online and the OED and neither one of them say its an acronym, nor do they spell it with all caps. So you folks that think it's an acronym, you need to check your facts on fax. In addition, two different style guides I checked, list it as fax and not FAX. As a matter of fact, the Microsoft Manual of Style for Technical Publications specifically states that one should never use "FAX".

Tek-wryter February 22, 2007, 3:49pm

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Response to John: I"m curious as to what the meaning of the verb form for "text" was in the 1500s. Can you elaborate?

Tek-wryter February 22, 2007, 3:51pm

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no entiiendoh naa xD

natsumii May 9, 2007, 1:54pm

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I believe the past tense of text should be texted, but pronounced with the 2nd "t" silent. I've checked quite a few dictionaries, and the word "texted" does not exist. Then I came across this one:

American Heritage Dictionary - Cite This Source text (těkst) Pronunciation Key

The original words of something written or printed, as opposed to a paraphrase, translation, revision, or condensation.
The words of a speech appearing in print.
Words, as of a libretto, that are set to music in a composition.
Words treated as data by a computer.
The body of a printed work as distinct from headings and illustrative matter on a page or from front and back matter in a book.
One of the editions or forms of a written work: After examining all three manuscripts, he published a new text of the poem.
Something, such as a literary work or other cultural product, regarded as an object of critical analysis.
A passage from the Scriptures or another authoritative source chosen for the subject of a discourse or cited for support in argument.
A passage from a written work used as the starting point of a discussion.
A subject; a topic.
A textbook.

tr.v. text·ed, text·ing, texts

To send a text message to: She texted me when she arrived.
To communicate by text message: He texted that he would be late.

Now I'm really confused!

Ginmar49 May 12, 2007, 5:23am

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Why are you confused? "text", past tense "texted", pronounced (in SAMPA) /tEkst@d/. Easy.

John May 12, 2007, 9:34am

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"text" as a verb:

&ldquo;Yea, and text underneath, &lsquo;Here dwells Benedick the married man!&rsquo;&rdquo;

Shakespeare, Much ado about nothing

John May 28, 2007, 11:04am

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Actually, in that Shakespeare example, text is a noun, not a verb:

But when shall we set the savage bull's horns on the sensible Benedick's head?

Yea, and text underneath, 'Here dwells Benedick the married man!'

Clearly "...and text underneath" is a list continuation that grammatically means "...and SET text underneath..."

It's like saying, "When do we put the star on top of the Christmas tree? ...Yes, and presents under it!" Presents is a noun ("...PUT presents..." is implied) not a verb.

porsche May 30, 2007, 8:38am

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I see your point, Porsche, but not everyone agrees. I got this info from this:
which states that this usage of "text" as a verb is cited in the OED. I don't have the OED to check, it could be a mistake.

John May 30, 2007, 1:18pm

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Dr. Pete,

How do you get "taxed" as past tense for text?
I like "text messaged".

Bela June 2, 2007, 9:00pm

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Is the verb in it's correct tense if I say, "an authorized agent, " or " an authorize agent?

Gbryan June 7, 2007, 9:40am

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authorized is correct, not authorize. Oh, and it's an adjective, not a verb.

porsche June 7, 2007, 12:03pm

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My sister and I are having this argument this minute, and I agree that it is texted, and having read all the comments, I feel justified. Thank you.

Danielle July 2, 2007, 7:31pm

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I'm curious, danielle, what exactly does your sister say it should be?

Anonymous July 2, 2007, 7:35pm

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Why not simply "text" for a past tense? An example of other words with this rule would be "hit". The past tense of "hit" remains "hit". Personally I think it keeps it simple and sounds natural to say from an aural aspect. "Texted" just seems a little odd, as most of you have admitted to. Kudos to those with my idea who had already implied it. I just felt like sharing my idea.

Brandon July 12, 2007, 1:25pm

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I think it sounds strange to say 'text' for the past tense as well as the present. I always say 'texted' for the past tense, although it has prompted some debates with friends (as seems to be common by reading all the comments on here!).

I'm really hoping 'texted' makes it into the dictionary.

Vicki July 13, 2007, 5:13am

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I think it's text.

Jessica November 13, 2007, 3:09am

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I was thinking about this while in the shower of all places and I personally say "I text him yesterday", however my grandparents (yes they can 'text') say "texted". It seems to me that as there is nothing concrete yet both "texted" and "text" can be used in the past tense and for someone to claim that either is wrong, is wrong! It is slang after all! Anyone agree?

phil November 16, 2007, 5:38am

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I'd go with SENT as the past tense of SEND and TEXT and MAIL and SHIP. Sent can hardly be used with verbal messages, so e-mail was sent. We used to use typed as a past we use keyboarded. Why make life more complicated?

whj wilco November 19, 2007, 1:27pm

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Way to go RenagadeX!! My thoughts exactly.

lukeabud December 1, 2007, 8:53pm

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I hate to say it but... the OED says that texted exists from the 15th century, and not like you may think it does.


1. Skilled or learned in &lsquo;texts&rsquo; or authors. rare.
~(In this sense texted wel (v.r. text wel) appears in one group of Chaucer MSS., where another has textuel. The latter was prob. the original reading, but the change in some MSS. perh. implies that texted was known.)
~14+ Chaucer's Manciple's T. 131 (Harl. MS.) But for I am a man not texted wel [so Corp.; Lansd. texed, Petw. text; 3 MSS. textuel] I wil not telle of textes neuer a del. Ibid. 212 But as I sayd, I am nought tixted wel [Corp., Petw., Lansd. text; 3 MSS. textuel, -eel, tixt-].

2. Written in text-hand or text-letters; engrossed.
~ 1620 Dekker Dreame 1 They beg nothing, the texted pastbord talkes all; and if nothing be giuen, nothing is spoken. 1650&ndash;66 Wharton Poems Wks. (1683) 340 To write Custodes in a Texted-hand. 1695 Lond. Gaz. No. 3125/4 Texted Indentures for Attorneys.

tom December 1, 2007, 10:58pm

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I'm writing a speech about this.. Do you people ut there say ''She texted me last night'' or ''She text me last night''?? It;s really bothering me..

CANMONEY January 29, 2008, 11:35am

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Yeah what DO you say for past perfect tense of the verb 'text'? I say we take a vote
Do you say
1. I texted you
2. I text you
3. I texed/texxed you
4. I tex'd you

Karli January 29, 2008, 11:41am

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When I see:

"no woman..." meaning "no, woman..." meaning you're saying no to a woman and actually calling her "woman" like some sort of title or nickname

and compare it to:

"no woman..." meaning "you don't have a woman..."

it reminds me of a comedy country song from long ago called "My Girl Bill". The entire song sounds like it's about a girl named Bill, but then at the very end, the last line is "...she's MY girl, BILL", and it's clear that the singer is telling this to his male friend, Bill, not singing ABOUT a girl named Bill. The entire song can be understood either way, which, I guess, is what makes it funny.

Anonymous January 29, 2008, 3:00pm

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oops, sorry. I posted this in the wrong place. I meant to post in "no woman no cry" much apologies,all

Anonymous January 29, 2008, 3:01pm

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i always wanna say texd. it sounds ignorant but it feels better

ahkeelah February 15, 2008, 10:36am

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Besides the citations above of John and Confused (which convince me since dictionaries reflect, rather than determine, the way words are used), why don't we look at other English words with the form:

consonant-short vowel-consonant-t (single syllable)

and see how they are treated as a rule...

test - very close to text, yeah? tested-texted, sounds o.k. to me

best, rest, etc.

then there is sext, a real verb, meaning to text sexual meaning.

BTW Online Etymology dictionary "Shat is a humorous past tense form, not etymological, first recorded 18c"



Aka Alias February 18, 2008, 1:49am

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Yeah I am strongly evangelizing for the "text as both past and present" boat. I suggest you jump aboard.

Bonnie May 12, 2008, 12:18pm

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I am definitely all about saying "text" as both past and present. "Texted" is just wrong.

Cami June 4, 2008, 1:32pm

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I suggest that the past form is pronounced "text'd".

It should thus likely be written as "texted".

This would be in line with similar verbs like "work" and "mix".

JJMBallantyne June 5, 2008, 4:15am

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Correction: my last should have been:

I suggest that the past form is pronounced "texd."

JJMBallantyne June 5, 2008, 4:17am

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After careful consideration. The answer is "sent a text". Not everything needs to be shortened.

Spitfire June 9, 2008, 11:55am

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What does need have to do with anything?

JJMBallantyne June 9, 2008, 3:36pm

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You say "Toe-may-toe", I say "Toh-mah-toh"... does it really matter? No matter what ends up in the dictionaries, there will still be fools who mispronounce the word. Texted seems fine. Using "text" as a past tense "I text you about it yesterday" sounds clumsy... but then, the English language is a smelting pot of languages and people - its sopken all over the world, and nowhere is it the same. I am living in New Zealand, and some americans cant understand me when i talk quickly. Sometimes, when Irish tourists visit NZ, I can not - for the life of me - understand them when they talk quickly. My point is - it doesn't matter what gets put into the dictionaries of the world - people will still say it wrong. (But then, at least today, I am a pessimist...)

Loving the debate...

kikazz2000 June 10, 2008, 5:41am

3 votes    Permalink    Report Abuse does list "text" as a transitive verb, therefore past tense should be "texted"

akla75220 July 7, 2008, 11:06am

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I don't understand why anyone is confused about this. Text is now a verb because most of us use it as a verb, and like it or not that's how the English language evolves. In the past tense it becomes 'texted'. This is entirely regular. We should not be trying to work out irregular forms of new verbs just because some people think a regular conjugation doesn't sound right. Personally I think 'texted' sounds exactly right and is easy to pronounce so why is it a problem? And I think any new verbs that come into use in the language should always be conjugated in a regular form. Irregular verbs are there because of historical inconsistencies and although these existing irregularities make our language more interesting we should not introduce further irregularities for the sake of it.

I have noticed that in speech some people will say something that sounds like 'I texed you yesterday' but this is probably due to confusion surrounding the 't' sound at the end of the infinitive which makes it sound like 'text' is already in the past, which it is not.

Paul July 26, 2008, 5:41am

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I don't use "texted" either. I always say, "i text you a minute ago. it sounds the same it means the same thing. I "texted" you makes me cringe. weather im right or not it sounds sloppy.

Jess August 5, 2008, 1:11am

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"SMSed" sounds better than "texted".

Perhaps "texd"?

ricochet August 5, 2008, 1:20pm

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I agree with Jess. Anytime I hear someone say "texted" I cringe and instantly think they are ignorant. I think the past tense of text, is text. "I text you yesterday" is short for "I sent you a text message yesterday". Why would a person say "I sent you a texted message yesterday"? Using "texted" for the past tense of text, sounds just as bad as using "thinked" for the past tense of think.

Bill August 13, 2008, 10:32am

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Since the text question is vexed, you can do your own thing or just avoid the issue using more words. Spitfire is right, "sent a text" defines the tense of text, skirts the issue and avoids the shibbolethic pronounciation.

pb August 14, 2008, 9:33pm

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"Texted" Messages will be in Your Daily Stressed Lives in no time... as the word I "HATE" is Bling, Bling in my "BANK ACCOUNT" $tanZe"MAN"

ownthisdomain August 20, 2008, 6:48pm

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Here's what we should do. Past tense should always be WRITTEN "texted", but past tense can be SPOKEN in two forms: tekst or tek'-sted.

It's as simple as that.

the natural solution August 26, 2008, 5:25am

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Whenever I hear someone "text" in the past tense, I cringe and think they're ignorant. It is akin to hearing someone say that they "aksed" you a question instead of "asked". Using the word "text" makes you sound lazy and uneducated.

Texted September 19, 2008, 7:47am

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A while ago Porsche and I talked about how long "text" has been a verb. The OED has "text" as a verb with these meanings:

1. To inscribe, write, or print in a text-hand or in capital or large letters. Also fig. Obs.

b. trans. To write in a text-hand upon. c. intr. To write in text-hand.

2. a. intr. To cite texts. b. trans. To cite a text at or against (a person). Obs.

for meaning 1a, they provide this citation:

1599 SHAKES. Much Ado V. i. 185 Yea and text vnder-neath, heere dwells Benedicke the married man.

There is an additional meaning:

trans. Telecomm. To send (a text message) to a person, mobile phone, etc.; to send a text message to. Also intr.: to communicate by sending text messages.

with these citations:

1998 Should I or shouldn't I? in alt.cellular.gsm (Usenet Newsgroup) 14 Mar., We still keep in touch..&lsquo;texting&rsquo; each other jokes, quotes, stories, questions, etc. 2000 Guardian 3 June (Weekend Suppl.) 26/1 One private school in Berkshire has just instituted a fine system for anyone caught texting in teaching-time. 2001 Publican Newspaper 4 June 5/6 Customers will be invited to text a message to a number given on the banner if they want to take part. 2001 Leicester Mercury (Electronic ed.) 31 July, I texted my mother and my friends when I got my results.

John September 19, 2008, 1:22pm

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I think the verb "texting" should be "phone e-mailing"

David Calman September 21, 2008, 2:08pm

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David, I don't think "phone e-mailing" works very well. You can actually send e-mail from your phone as well, but that's not the same thing as sending a text message.

Anonymous September 22, 2008, 8:03am

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I think that texted just sounds like it would come from someone who is uneducated. I cannot take anyone serious who uses it. There are alot of words that are slang. This is not a slang, it would fall more under a jargon being that it is more closely related to a technological change in the usage of a word. Which would mean there are no set guuidlines in how it is really used. However, it still brings me two other words like Hit or Cut. I Hit him, is past tense, I cut this, is past tense.. I text him.... NOW there is confusion?? Im not sure as to why. The confusion starts when the word text which orignally started as a noun which ment any of the various forms in which a writing exists. I like that meaning the best. However now text has become a verb which shows an action not the actual "thing" being sent. If we are going to change this due to technology when I send you a picture which is a noun would I have then pictured you? Sounds just as absurd right? Because when used properly as in "I sent you a picture you say just that. In that case we would say I sent you a text. And this whole confusion would be done. However we crossed over and are creating a hybrid which is noun used a verb following noun properties! These are some of the effects of the changes in technology that cause a new language or jargon. The only reason that texted has came about is because of the easability to add an 'ed, oh and the great education system that we have. If simply using a word incorrectly will make it correct then why do we even worry about having a dictionary or english class?

Ralliart403 December 1, 2008, 7:34am

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Thank you in advance for anyone who decides to go past the point im making and point out the flaws in my hurried statement. Please just stick to the actual topic at hand....this is a good topic.

Ralliart403 December 1, 2008, 7:38am

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Why are people debating this? The verb is already listed in many dictionaries with its past tense noted as "texted" with two syllables.

In addition to the citations listed above, here is another:

There's no justification for a perception of the use of "texted" as uneducated. In fact, it seems the opposite may be the case.

Additionally, to accept "texted" in written form but verbally pronounce it as "texed", or any variation thereof, has no precedent. Doing so would be simply arbitrary and should be disregarded as a solution.

It's "texted". The educated already know this.

DFWDave December 8, 2008, 1:50pm

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Ralliart, I cannot agree with your argument. The regular and natural way to form the simple past tense of a verb that ends in 't' is to add 'ed' at the end. Here are some examples of the regular use of the simple past tense of some other verbs that end in 't': 'he hunted', 'I inherited', 'she greeted', 'we waited', 'it melted'. Verbs like 'to hit' or 'to cut' are irregular in this respect (see We should not be adding new irregularities to the language on a whim. That would be completely arbitrary as DFWDave correctly points out.

'Texted' is the only correct and acceptable way to form the past tense of this verb. And if I hear people say something like 'I text him yesterday' it sounds like the person hasn't given any thought to what they have said. It just sounds completely wrong, and it is!

Paul December 15, 2008, 3:34pm

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It's the same as " vex " using " vexed " as the past tense !

WaldoX December 27, 2008, 8:05pm

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Okay Well i am very confused now..
I have always said"i text" for past tense...
I wouldn't know, i'm only 14..
I honestly don't know, WHAT to say now..
Do i say text or texted? Because either way SOMEONE'S going to think i'm ignorant. What is even the point of this anyway? Both sound perfectly fine to me..
The way i saw it was exactly as another person said, "i hit him, i text him, i cut him,"

Except, with some of these arguements, i am tempted to put an 'E.D' on the end because now i fear it sounds like i am talking in the present.
I TEXT HIM as in, i usually text him.
Oh, you know what, i give up!

Bonnie-Leigh December 28, 2008, 12:09pm

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Am I the only person who noticed the improper use of "it's" from Garth Bryan and "weather" from Jess?

Amber January 8, 2009, 8:28am

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Meaning = use

If everybody uses 'text' as a verb, then it's a verb.

If some people use 'texted' as the past tense of 'text,' and are generally understood by the people they are communicating with, then 'texted' is a legitimate past tense form of 'text.'

Same for the other variants. Also for words like 'aksed,' as hard as it is for my own ears to adjust. I work with a guy who speaks much more formally and with more precise enunciation than I do, who nonetheless uses 'aksed' 100% of the time. I know what he means - our customers know what he means - so why should anyone bother to 'correct' him? It's a dialectical variation, not the result of 'ignorance' or 'poor education.'

Language is constantly evolving because people and cultures are constantly evolving. We still need dictionaries and english classes so we can all keep up with one another. Just because you learned that 'text' is a noun when you were in elementary school doesn't mean it can't be a verb today.

Wittgenstein January 8, 2009, 10:44am

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Yes, Wittgenstein, and the man with his finger on the trigger of the largest nuclear arsenal in the world can't actually say nu-cle-ar. He says nu-CU-LAR. Nor is he the first president to do so. While I mostly agree with you, I still find this more than a bit frightening.

porsche January 11, 2009, 8:05am

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According to Merriam-Webster, the nucular pronunciation is in "widespread use among educated speakers including scientists, lawyers, professors, congressmen, United States cabinet members, and at least two United States presidents and one vice president." Why is it frightening that some presidents have a different accent than you?

Nunberg says:

'...But it doesn't explain why you still hear "nucular" from people like politicians, military people, and weapons specialists, most of whom obviously know better and have been reminded repeatedly what the correct pronunciation is. The interesting thing is that these people are perfectly capable of saying "nuclear families" or "nuclear medicine." I once asked a weapons specialist at a federal agency about this, and he told me, "Oh, I only say 'nucular' when I'm talking about nukes."'

goofy January 11, 2009, 8:33pm

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Goofy, I'm afraid your quoting of Merriam-Webster is both incomplete and out of context. First, you left out the part at the very beginning where it says: "Though disapproved of by many...". Next, if you had researched it further you would have found the following clarification, directly from Merriam-Webster. Taken from:

We do not list either the ÷feb(y)wer pronunciation of February or the ÷ nü-kyl(r) pronunciation of nuclear as "acceptable"; we merely list them as commonly used pronunciations. Both of those pronunciations are clearly preceded by the obelus mark ÷ (which looks like a division sign). This mark indicates "a pronunciation variant that occurs in educated speech but that is considered by some to be questionable or unacceptable." A full description of this can be found in the Key to Pronunciation Symbols. We are definitely not advocating that anyone should use those pronunciations or that they should abandon the others that are regarded as more acceptable.

Of course, M-W goes on in descriptive fashion to say that they are presenting usage, not "correct" pronunciation, if there even is such a thing, and that it is their responsibility to present all common documented pronunciation variants. Please see the link for the full text.

porsche January 13, 2009, 7:08pm

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furthermore, I would like to propose the following etymology (is this the right word for origin of pronunciation, rather than the origin of the word itself?) Please note, this is pure speculation on my part.

Nuclear is a relatively recent word (middle nineteenth century) with a rather technical origin. It probably didn't enter common usage right away. It is also somewhat difficult to pronounce with its compound consonant, a bit unusual in English.

I've actually heard recordings of Harry S Truman saying "nucular". Considering that he was president when the first atomic bomb was dropped, I would guess that the word "nuclear" and the pronunciation "nucular" was suddenly under great public focus.

Clearly, the "nucular" pronunciation is simply an example of metathesis, like when a child says pasketty instead of spaghetti, but when someone of such great influence does it, it can have great impact on the language. I would suggest that it is in deference to Harry Truman that the use of nucular, especially by politicians, has become somewhat common (personally, I suspect that calling it "widespread" is a gross overstatement on M-W's part).

If I may relate an event that happened when I was in college. I was taking a course in communications theory. English was not the professor's first language, and he had trouble pronouncing the word "facsimile" (fack-si-mi-lee). Instead he would pronounce it as "fack-smile", two syllables, where the second syllable is said like "smile for the camera". He was certainly an intelligent and very well-respected faculty member, but just had a little trouble with the language. Wouldn't you know it, a few students in the class actually started pronouncing the word "fack-smile" (only when in the class), I guess, to spare embarrasment (his and/or theirs), or perhaps in deference.

Imagine this same phenomenon on a presidential scale.

porsche January 13, 2009, 8:01pm

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Porsche, I know that the "nucular" pronunciation is disapproved of by many people. But I wanted to know how it could be "more than a bit frightening". How is a variant pronunciation frightening?

goofy January 13, 2009, 8:40pm

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IDC what everyone says...I use TEXT as the past tense of Text. "Texted" sounds ridiculous, and appears to be grammatically incorrect. I understand that and Urban Dictionary recognize the word TEXTED, but Merrier-Webster does not...not do I. It is a built in past tense, and it sounds cleaner and clearer to use TEXT as present, past and future tenses.

Claudia March 19, 2009, 7:22pm

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Problem is, your use of &ldquo;text&rdquo; as a past tense carries the phonetic implication, in English, that &ldquo;tex&rdquo; is the present tense, suitable also for an imperative, as if one would say &ldquo;tex me, baby, it feels so good.&rdquo; To me, &ldquo;He text me yesterday&rdquo; sounds like &ldquo;She kiss me last Monday, she leave me last Tuesday.&rdquo; All is forgiven if you&rsquo;re new to the language, but come on! Comprehensibilty, tradition, and aesthetics can get along just fine. If &ldquo;texted&rdquo; is intolerably ugly to some, then I stand correct&rsquo;d, and here&rsquo;s hoping I won&rsquo;t be arrest&rsquo;d.

Mad Tad March 21, 2009, 12:24pm

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There apear to many varied academic arguments for both 'texted' and 'text' as past tense for text.

From a personal perspective, though, I can say that when I say 'texted' it seems right but sounds wrong. On the other hand, when I even think of using only 'text' as the past tense (let alone allowing the sound to materialise from my lips) I feel dirty and get a shiver like when you eat the jelly off tinned ham!

Charlatan March 26, 2009, 9:50am

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I saw a T-MOBIL commercial the other day and it portrayed two young girls with there mother sitting at a shopping mall text messaging. One of the girls said to the other that she just "texted" her friend.
I was surprised that T-Mobil didn't catch on to that and edit it out of the commercial.

turbogato1 April 8, 2009, 6:51am

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@Luis Valentine

TheIR!!! Not there, theIR!!

And why would you assume T-Mobil didn't catch that? They did. Texted is, obviously, correct.

McBee April 9, 2009, 10:47pm

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From: Dan Brandon
Sent: Mon 6/01/09 1:47 PM

QUESTION: I'm sure you've been asked this before, but I need to know. What is the past tense of "to text"? And if it has not been officially decided, who decides when new words are part of the dictionary? This certainly needs to be addressed. Thanks. Sincerely, Marianne

RESPONSE: The verb "text" is conjugated according to the normal English pattern, so the past tense would be "I texted." Here at Merriam-Webster, we have a series of criteria that a word has to meet to be considered for entry in our dictionary. We spend a certain amount of time every day scouring all sorts of published material for examples of new words, and when we find them, they go into our citation database. When we revise our dictionary, we check the database to see if any of these new words have enough support to warrant their entry. For more information on the process and criteria we use to enter words in the dictionary, please visit our Web site at Daniel Brandon,Associate Editor, Merriam-Webster Inc.

shool7 June 1, 2009, 5:06pm

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I still cringe when I hear people say 'texted' just sounds ridiculous. I will keep using 'text'. The other suggestion that we use 'texd' even sounds better. Even though I hate hearing that word, I suppose in the end it is each to his own.

lynnb48 June 2, 2009, 7:50am

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    To me “Yesterday I text him” has the same feel as “Yesterday I paint the house.”

    I am surprised at how many have said that the sound of “Yesterday I texted him” makes them cringe;  I don’t understand why.  Having skimmed the entries, above, I didn’t notice anyone explaining <i>why</i> this makes them cringe, either.  Perhaps someone will, and my mind will be changed, though.

brian.wren.ctr June 2, 2009, 11:13am

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I tend to use "text" instead of "texted" when talking in the past tense. Both "texted" and "text" seem to be in use regardless of what the dictionary says. The good thing about the English language is that we don't have an Academy prescribing trends for us to follow, instead dictionaries observe current trends and standardise them. If "text" as the past participle isn't in the dictionary yet, it will be soon!

letizia June 2, 2009, 7:27pm

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I'm going to stick my neck out here & say it should be texted. It's not hard to say, in spite of previous comments, and I'm more likely to cringe when I hear people say "I text him." Anyway, if there isn't a distinction, how can we tell if someone is talking in the past tense or present? It's 'texted' without a shadow of a doubt. In my experience it's the less well educated people I know who say 'text', and the better educated who say 'texted'. Proof, if proof were needed, that texted is correct. If you have corrected something, you dont say "I correct it," you say "I corrected it." It's simple really. I honestly can't see what the debate is about.

marklightfoot June 4, 2009, 3:16am

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Bill, you are the one who is ignorant. You don't say "I sent you a texted message" because the "text" there is a noun not a verb. Do you make all your nouns past tense then? E.g. Bill's cat is black. Bill's catted was black. No! It's quite simple, text, texting, texted. Very simple regular English rules applied. Just like mix, mixing, mixed, you add an "ed" on the end for past tense. In olden times you would pronounce the "ed" as another syllable e.g. mix'ed, text'ed.

razz June 7, 2009, 6:48pm

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Yes     No