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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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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'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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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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No, it's "I text him yesterday" that makes one cringe, it's so crass and vulgar! Not to
mention sloppy (lazy tongue) and ignorant to the rest of English. It seems to be
only with people who say "deteriated" instead of "deteriorated" because it's too
difficult for their poor lazy mouth. It's wrong! Now repeat 500 times: texted texted texted texted texted texted texted texted texted texted texted texted texted...

paulina June 7, 2009, 6:53pm

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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'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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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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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'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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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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Vote for Paulina... "YOU ROCK GIRL" Let me buy you a round or 2! my email for You.. ImSoVain@Shallow.me She can be a snob if she wants... TEXTED TEXTED TEXTED TEXTED TEXTED TEXTED TEXTED TEXTED TEXTED TEXTED Lol ;)

ceo September 30, 2009, 2:18pm

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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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Douglas, we often agree, but I'm afraid I have to side with Mark this time, even on the points that he has already capitulated.

First of all, all these word lists and examples aren't particularly helpful. There is a simple, standard, consistent paradigm for pronunciation of standard past tense in English. Understand, I'm only talking about the standard past tense formed by adding -ed to the end of the present tense. It works like this:

If the present tense of the verb ends in a consonant "t" or "d" sound, then the -ed adds a syllable, ending in a voiced "d", usually pronounced something like -id, (but the vowel is really a shwa). Notice I didn't say the verb must end in a "t" or "d", but the actual final sound must be "t" or "d".

For all other verbs, the -ed does NOT add an extra syllable. It only adds either a "t" sound or "d" sound, appended to the end of the word without adding a syllable. If the present tense ends with a voiced sound then you add the voiced "d" to the past tense without adding a syllable. If the present tense ends with an unvoiced sound then you add the unvoiced "t", again, without adding a syllable.

This brings us to our first disagreement. The word "faxed" is pronounced EXACTLY as it is spelled. It is pronounced "fax't", one syllable, unvoiced "x" means the "d" is pronounced unvoiced, as "t", perfectly consistent with the standard pronunciation rule.

Next disagreement regarding "Whether it has a ‘t’ in it is not relevant." No, it is completely relevant. re-read the rule above. Words ending in "t" or "d" add a syllable. All others do not.

Debut is tricky, but it still follows the rule perfectly. It is pronounced "day-byou". The "t" is silent. It ends in a voiced, vowel sound, so you don't add a syllable and you use the voiced "d". The past tense, "debuted" is pronounced "day-byou'd", again, exactly according to the rule. Comparing text to debut is not useful. Text ends in a "t" sound. Debut does not.

Hated is two syllables, "hate-id". Corroded is three, "cor-rode-id". Pained is one, "pain'd". passed is one, "pass't". Rued is "Rue'd. See? examples of every combination according to the rule above.

Next, you haven't just listed verbs whose past tense sounds the same as the present tense. You listed verbs whose past tense IS the same at the present tense. Nowhere have you listed a verb that adds "-ed" but adds no sound at all. Technically, you have risen to Mark's challenge, but it's irrelevant to the issue of text vs. texted. These are all irregular verbs. Usually, irregular verbs retain their irregular form because they are ancient and their old form is retained from half a century or more of familiarity. It would be extremely unusual to adopt an irregular form for a new common word, especially a non-technical one.

Every single example in all the posts for this topic follows the rule I have mentioned regardless of what the posters are trying to prove. If you want to follow standard English pronunciation, then the same rule would dictate that texted should be pronounced "tekst-id", since "text" ends in a "t" sound.

I think the difficulty with some is that "text" already ends in a triply compounded consonant, quite a mouthful. Also, you'd be hard pressed to find any other verb that ends in the same triple consonant, so there really aren't any comparable verbs. Tell you what, let's do some verbification of our own. Let's invent a verb, "context", meaning, say, to put something in context. If I did it yesterday, I would have contexted it. Would you pronounce it con-text-ed, or context, same as the present tense?

porsche October 5, 2009, 2:41pm

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

tom_duke January 16, 2006, 11:12am

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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: http://encarta.msn.com/dictionary_1861719421/te...

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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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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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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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 http://www.usingenglish.com/reference/irregular...). 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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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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Google Search guy found the site that everyones talking about.. See "Texted" being used and and spoken by todays youth!!! Parents approve,Like Myself. www.ThatsNotCool.com

ceo October 3, 2009, 4:18pm

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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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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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I think it's text.

Jessica November 13, 2007, 3:09am

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

Tecksed-ed

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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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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@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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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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I'm a bit puzzled by some of the debate on this thread. First of all, the spelling of a word and its pronunciation are not independent. If indeed we were to settle on 'text' as the past tense form of 'text', it would not be spelled "texted"; it would be spelled "text". So that's irrelevant. What does matter is the rule for forming past tense verb forms in English, which was stated well by porsche back on October 5th. Irregular word forms (such as geese, built, mice, brought, cast, and many others) are very old words that have persisted through centuries of changes in English -- and they were all regular at one time.

However, the regular patterns of forming plurals, past tense, and other word forms are very well-established and part of the linguistic knowledge of every native speaker. Whenever a new word is introduced (as in the new verb "text", from the noun "text"), it follows these regular patterns, without exception. The past tense of 'text' would be 'texted' and there's absolutely no way around that because there is no optionality in the rules or wiggle room for what sounds right.

I won't call 'text' as a past tense form incorrect, in case usage of it eventually predominates, but I do see those who prefer it in two possible categories:

1) You are choosing to use "text" in the past tense because you think it sounds nicer and see precedent in verbs like cast, cut, and wed.
In this case, I say that you are probably fighting a losing battle against the extremely powerful rules of English, and that anyone who hasn't made the same aesthetic choice will probably misunderstand you.

2) You are choosing to use "text" in the past tense because it's the only way you've ever done it and it's the natural way to form the past tense for you.
In this case, I find you to be a very interesting case study, because your choice is highly unexpected for a word entering the language. As others have pointed out -xt is an unusual end to an English verb (or any English word, for that matter), and the relation of that to your unexpected grammatical choice could be interesting.

Respectfully,
Jason

jls.junkmail October 27, 2009, 1:21pm

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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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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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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 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'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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Paulina, you're wrong. Both "text" and "texted" are acceptable. It's not a lazy tongue, nor is it an opportunity for you to be a snob (sorry).

sorrenn September 30, 2009, 10:17am

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Mike, clearly you are a halfwit:

Taste - Tasted
Last - Lasted
Best - Bested
Test - Tested
Bust - Busted

OK so the last one is a joke, but these words have never caused a stir for having 'ed' on the end. Moreover they've never caused anyone any difficulty with pronunciation. So why should texted seem so outlandish? I'm going to have to refer you back to the reply on the 1st of June 2009 from the writers of the Websters dictionary. I can't believe it wasn't the final word on the matter.

Goodbye

marklightfoot October 1, 2009, 9:28am

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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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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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Clearly I have been unclear. Let me reiterate my four points:

First, the past tense of the verb 'text' is properly written 'texted'. In this it follows the general rules of Standard English.

Second, the word 'texted' is currently spoken as both 'texted' and 'text'.

Third, usage will determine which is to be the standard pronunciation.

Fourth, "Non-standard" does not mean "Sub-standard."

Our sparring has been fun, but neither you or I will determine the future usage of any word, old or new. We may bandy precedents all day and all night, but the language will do as it likes.

My young friends, whom you dismiss, are the same sort who created our language, back when being twenty was middle-aged. Sure, they use some crappy expressions; most will vanish in time. But I prefer their neologisms and unkempt sentences to the stiff proscriptions of antiquarians who would never split an infinitive just because Cato couldn't.

Thomas Jefferson wrote in a 1813 letter: "I have been pleased to see that in all cases you appeal to usage, as the arbiter of language; and justly consider that as giving law to grammar, and not grammar to usage." I am merely extending his principle to pronunciation. In the same letter Jefferson opposes "...Purists, who would destroy all strength and beauty of style, by subjecting it to a rigorous compliance with their rules." Again, I find this especially applicable to the spoken word. Even as an old man Jefferson was open to change, and optimistic about the future of the language.

douglas.bryant October 6, 2009, 7:34am

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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 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
n.

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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    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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merriam-webster.com does list "text" as a transitive verb, therefore past tense should be "texted"

akla75220 July 7, 2008, 11:06am

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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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OK, OK Douglas, enough with the past tense same as present tense examples already. You've made your point, and made it with aplomb. Clearly we can see that English is an anomalous language. The main thrust of my argument though, part of which is now in tatters, is that we needn't make it any more so than it already is.

On the plus side (for me anyway), whilst you met the past/present tense challenge extremely well, you still haven't satisfactorily produced a verb ending in 't' which has a silent 'ed' in it's past tense form. 'Debut' is a bit of a cheat really since, in it's spoken form, it doesn't end in a 't' at all. This means that pronouncing texted as 'text' still has no precedent, and also confirms that I'm still right.

I know I'm going to regret saying that. Over to you Douglas.

marklightfoot October 5, 2009, 10:51am

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

John May 12, 2007, 9:34am

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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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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 http://www.merriam-webster.com/help/faq/words_i... Daniel Brandon,Associate Editor, Merriam-Webster Inc.

shool7 June 1, 2009, 5:06pm

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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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If this ends up posted twice, I apologize, but I hit the wrong key the first time.

Going back to porsche's post:

>>" If the present tense of the verb ends in a consonant “t” or “d” sound, then the -ed adds a syllable, ending in a voiced “d”, usually pronounced something like -id, (but the vowel is really a shwa).... For all other verbs, the -ed does NOT add an extra syllable. It only adds either a “t” sound or “d” sound, appended to the end of the word without adding a syllable."

If you listen carefully to folks in my area of the country, you will not hear the final "t" on "text" when people are speaking extemporaneously. You will hear they send tex' messages and are tex'ing their friends. People who pronounce the word without the final "t" sound will tend to follow the linguistic rule that says not to add an extra syllable after the "x" sound, following the same rule as is used with faxed, waxed, fixed, mixed.

Those who do pronounce the final "t" will tend to use two syllables. I am told that in the OED, "tex'd" is listed as one of the spellings for the past tense of "text." Unfortunately, I'm not home right now, or I'd go check my own copy. Can do it tonight, if anyone is that interested.

English is a living language that changes constantly. In Shakespeare's day it was common to pronounced the -ed as a separate syllable on many words that we pronounce as one syllable now:

I nurs'd her daughter that you talk'd withal.
(Romeo and Juliet 1.5.115)

I'll bet he received a lot of criticism from the linguists of his day.

Gotta love a living language. It never gets stale.

Mac

stphfplt December 2, 2009, 4:40pm

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Mark, Since you insist, I will comment on your insistence that 'text' as a past tense verb must have a precedent. You will agree, then, that 'texted' needs precedent too.

You ask for "a verb ending in ‘t’ which has a silent ‘ed’ in it’s [sic] past tense form." I think a more germane test would be this: How are words ending in '-xt' typically treated?

There are very few English words that end in '-xt'. Setting aside compounds of 'text', such as 'hypertext', most are either archaic words, like 'twixt' and 'betwixt', or archaic spellings, like 'transfixt' and 'unmixt'. This leaves only three commonly-used words with the '-xt' ending: 'context', 'next' and 'pretext'. None of these are verbs (yet!). The '-xt' verbs that do exist, like 'fixt' and 'vext', are already past tense, being archaic spellings of 'fixed' and 'vexed',

So there is no precedent for either 'text' or 'texted' as a past-tense formations of an '-xt' verb. This leaves the choice to the users of the word, at least for now.

By the way, I had a conversation with a few college students recently. These students used 'text' in its past-tense sense. But when I asked them directly what the past tense of 'text' was they all said 'texted'. This supports what I wrote in my previous comment, that ",,,‘texted’ – so spelled and so pronounced – will prevail, and that the spoken word ‘text’ as a past-tense verb will either die out or become non-standard." These students understood the difference, and were perfectly – and justifiably – comfortable with using the putative non-standard in casual conversation.

Finally, I wouldn't call English anomalous, I prefer to think of it as complex. With luck, texting as a technology will pass away – as did formerly the telegraph and will soon the fax – and with it this particular conundrum. Let's all move on to the past tense of 'tweet'.

douglas.bryant October 5, 2009, 8:45pm

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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, Al Gore/Inventor jk...

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 http://www.merriam-webster.com/help/faq/words_i... Daniel Brandon,Associate Editor, Merriam-Webster Inc.

ceo November 14, 2010, 4:58am

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The past tense of "text" is "texted", whether it sounds good to your ears or not. I never knew so many people have trouble with basic english. It's Texted you fucks.

BOBTHEBUILDER February 2, 2013, 7:31am

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Today I am texting my friend. Yesterday I "texted" him. Sounds absolutely right to me,

Glln April 23, 2013, 1:25am

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Mark: Let me try to clarify my comment. I am not proposing "new spelling rules." As I stated, the written form of the past tense of the verb 'text' should, according the rules of Standard English, be ‘texted’. But 'text', as a verb, is a new usage, and both 'texted' and 'text' are common pronunciations of its past tense. One will likely win out, but at this point it is premature to dismiss either: the standard form will be the one most people choose to use.

I cited 'faxed' as an comparison because it is also a new word, and one that is not pronounced as spelled. Whether it has a 't' in it is not relevant. Another example of spelling differing from pronunciation is 'debuted', which is pronounced as a two-syllable word with the 't' and 'd' combined into a single stop sound. It is written as it is for clarity, but pronounced the way it is for simplicity; the same argument could be made for 'texted', if one were so inclined.

As for other verbs where the present tense sounds exactly like the past, here is a partial list: beat, bet, burst, cast, cost, cut, fit, hit, hurt, knit, put, rid, shut, slit, split and wed. Again, I am not saying that the past tense of 'text' be spelled 'text', but that argument could be made based on the existence of these words.

I think that 'texted' – so spelled and so pronounced – will prevail, and that the spoken word 'text' as a past-tense verb will either die out or become non-standard. But non-standard is not sub-standard. Those who denigrate non-standard English speakers betray their own ignorance of the history of English.

douglas.bryant October 4, 2009, 11:50pm

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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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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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@Bart - Fascinated to know where you did your research. I've just checked ten dictionaries, and 'text' is listed as a verb in all but one of them. In any case we also have the noun 'texting', which as a gerund form must have originally come from a verb. New verbs in English are invariably regular, so I'm afraid your 'put, put, put' argument is not really appropriate.

Personally, I can't understand why anyone would have a problem with 'texted, let alone feel guilty about using it (@lush) .

Warsaw Will August 16, 2012, 2:29pm

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I'm going to say TEX-tid simply because saying "text" sounds like I haven't actually finished the verb yet and I'm ending the word early. "I text you." sounds like I'm talking like a neanderthal in the present tense. "Ugh ugh, me text you!" Texted isn't that difficult to say, and it's clearer than the homonym style.

thebaron87 June 11, 2010, 7:35pm

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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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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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@Alison - how on earth can 'ex' be a vowel sound? - If anything it's a vowel plus a double consonant sound - 'eks'. Are 'es' and 'is' also vowel sounds? Why should 'ext' in 'text' be treated any differently to 'est' in 'test / tested' or 'ist' in 'list / listed'? Sorry, that's a lot of questions, but I'm genuinely puzzled. And has already been said, new verbs (if it is indeed new) are invariably regular, and all the dictionaries I've looked at list 'text' as a regular verb:

- I texted her to arrange a time to meet. (Cambridge)
- If she was going to go she would have texted us. (Oxford)
- I texted her a little while ago. (Merriam-Webster)
- She texted me when she arrived. (American Heritage Dictionary - via The Free Dictionary)

Personally, I can't see one single linguistic reason why 'text' should be anything but regular.

Warsaw Will January 17, 2013, 12:52pm

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

Texted


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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Interesting reading. We've been texting seriously for ten years and we still haven't figured it out.
"Texted" makes the most sense to me (and that's what I say). Someone mentioned verbs ending in triple consonant sounds; the nearest ones (other than "text") I can think of are "jinx" and "inch", and it seems we can all handle "jinxed" and "inched".
If we're going to say "text" as the past tense then logically we must also write "text". But wait! We all write "fifth" and "sixth" (some more examples of tricky consonant combinations) but they often come out like "fith" and "sickth". So we don't always say what we write.

chrisbolton20 July 1, 2010, 3:08am

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You've lost me now Douglas. If fax was spelled faxt you'd have a point. It isn't though, so you don't. Also, you can't say 'this is the spelling, but we're going to make up our own pronunciation.' Where would that leave us. There are already some very well set precedents for how this word should sound (see my previous post), we don't need to create another. The whole point here is that the, so called, spoken version of the past tense is being incorrectly pronounced, and as such, sounds exactly like the present tense. Perhaps, Douglas, you could let me know of another verb where the the present tense sounds exactly like the past tense when spoke?. While you are at it, you could also try to find another verb, in it's past tense form, where the 'ed' after a 't' becomes silent. Please, let us not start creating new spelling rules. Particularly ones which make no sense & don't even sound correct.

marklightfoot October 4, 2009, 10:05am

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I never comment on these types of things...usually just enjoy reading the mindless banter. But I can hardly believe how many people are so ignorant regarding the English language. People really, it's not that difficult. Stop and think for just a moment. Stop saying it "sounds funny" to say "texted." It is not like we are saying "he walked-ed the dog" or "she closed-ed" the door. Yes, those examples DO sound funny....because the past tense addition of "ed" was duplicated unnecessarily, and of course, incorrectly. Just because "text" ends in the letter "t" does not make it an exception in tense just because you think it sounds funny. Here are a few examples...say these words to yourself then follow up by saying "texted" maybe it won't seem so strange anymore: "The storm LASTED ten minutes." "The man EXITED the building." "I TESTED the temperature of the water. " "My dad RESTED on the sofa."
I could go on and on with verbs that end in "t" that properly transform to past tense with the simple addition of "ed" at the end of the word. So there you have it....LASTED, EXITED, TESTED, RESTED.... AND
...TEXTED. Make sense? Saying "text" as the past tense sounds lazy and uneducated, like when some people - instead of saying ASK- say "AKS" (sounding like "axe"). Don't be one of those people...don't be lazy. Use proper English. It is TEXTED. :) Get to know it.

Really?? June 20, 2013, 1:39am

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Monocle (et al.) - do we really need to add extra irregular verbs to the language when the perfectly regular 'texted' is already in common use and understandable?

To counter your list, how about - vet / vetted - pet / petted - arrest / arrested - reflect / reflected... why not text / texted...?

Thredder September 6, 2012, 2:58am

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Simply, in the english language if the word ends in a "t" then in the preterit of that word the "ed" must be pronounced, just as in the word "tested".

cjdesmond February 15, 2010, 9:15am

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@Methatica - you're obviously more imaginative than me; I doubt I could manage five.:) Except as I live in Poland, I would have to say 'I sent you an SMS'; text is not really used much in international English, at least not here. Anyway, I see texted seems to be winning the day on your Facebook page. Good sense prevails!

@the naysayers
Other newish technology verbs:
ping - pinged (not pang)
tweet - tweeted (not twet or twat)
ngram - ngrammed
google - googled
rip - ripped

All these other new techie verbs are regular, so even if AnWulf is wrong and text is a new verb, why should it be any different from these other verbs? And I bet most people say they burned a CD, not burnt a CD, even in the UK, where in the standard meaning of burn, burnt is the more popular past form.

It's not as if the alternatives put forward have much to offer. And I really can't understand why anyone would feel he had to 'admit that he was guilty of using the word "texted" when telling someone that [he] just sent them a text message' ( @lush). If we can say 'I phoned you', 'I called you', 'I emailed you', why on earth should someone feel guilty for saying 'I texted you'. It's beyond me!

Warsaw Will September 7, 2012, 10:06am

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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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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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"Texted" is a word!!!!!!!
check this link, and also scroll down, I copied the whole dictionary entry for "text".
Scroll to the last part and read that part!
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/texted
text (tkst)
n.
1.
a. The original words of something written or printed, as opposed to a paraphrase, translation, revision, or condensation.
b. The words of a speech appearing in print.
c. Words, as of a libretto, that are set to music in a composition.
d. Words treated as data by a computer.
2. 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.
3. One of the editions or forms of a written work: After examining all three manuscripts, he published a new text of the poem.
4. Something, such as a literary work or other cultural product, regarded as an object of critical analysis.
5. A passage from the Scriptures or another authoritative source chosen for the subject of a discourse or cited for support in argument.
6. A passage from a written work used as the starting point of a discussion.
7. A subject; a topic.
8. A textbook.
tr.v. text·ed, text·ing, texts
1. To send a text message to: She texted me when she arrived.
2. To communicate by text message: He texted that he would be late.

Proof207 February 8, 2012, 10:00am

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Phil,

The string "did you text" is not an example of "text" in the past tense. Here, "did" is an auxiliary verb, which necessarily takes a verbal complement in base form. The base form is sometimes called the infinitive. The tense of the whole question, "Did you text me last night?" is certainly past, but the word "text" is tenseless in your example.

For new words in English, transforming a verb to past tense really is simply a matter of adding "-ed" to the end. While the rules of a language do change over time, there is no evidence whatsoever that the rules for past tense formation are changing in English. I would welcome any examples of other new words which have taken past tense forms not ending in "-ed", but I sincerely doubt they exist.

Respectfully,
Jason

jls.junkmail January 28, 2010, 4:59pm

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Other examples may clarify

Correct:

yes I texted you earlier
yes you texted me earlier
did i text you earlier?
did you text me earlier?

(both text and texted correct as past tense verbs depending on sense)

Incorrect: (Obviously)

yes I text you earlier
yes you text me earlier
did i texted you earlier?
did you texted me earlier?

So, in summary, the use of Texted as a past tense verb of to send a text/text message/whatever is correct - and defined as correct in the OED - as far as pronunciation goes, I haven't got access to the online OED but my guess would be Tex-ted, Text-ed or tek-sted as in Tes-ted or test-ed. To pronounce it Texed (which, only by coincidence, in this particualar case is phonetically similar to the "base word" text) would be incorrect - to pronounce Text-ed as Texed would be analogous to inventing a new phoenetic rule of "the second T in texted is silence and pronounced Texed" - ridiculous

That's all folks :)

m.mouse January 28, 2010, 5:01pm

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This is all very simple: most verbs ending in d or t (hard sound) pronounce the ted at the end. Rest is rested. Nest is nested. Head is headed. Need is needed. Story ended.

d.batt September 21, 2010, 10:11pm

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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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Mark, half a wit is better than none. Mike is correct, but only as far as the spoken word is concerned. The written form should, by the rules of Standard English, be 'texted'.

But Merriam-Webster, by their own account, only studies the written usage:

"Each day most Merriam-Webster editors devote an hour or two to reading a cross section of published material, including books, newspapers, magazines, and electronic publications; in our office this activity is called 'reading and marking'."

They call it 'reading'. What a clever bunch. No mention of listening, though.

The word 'texted' is new and its pronunciation is still up for grabs. I have heard it both ways – as 'texted' and as 'text'. Consider the verb 'to fax': its past tense is spelled 'faxed', yet nearly everyone says 'faxt'. I'm not advocating one pronunciation of 'texted' over another; perhaps one will win out or perhaps we are stuck with both. But the use of one or the other is not laziness, as Paulina suggests, nor dim-wittedness, as you do. It is merely preference.

douglas.bryant October 1, 2009, 5:00pm

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Text should join the list of irregular verbs in the English language. These include: hurt, set, cut, put, beat, cast, cost, forecast, broadcast, hit, let, upset, et al. Context dictates tense. Children who are still learning the English language often pronounce the past tense of these verbs incorrectly (e.g. hurted or cutted). IM and text messaging have gained popularity in todays mobile and online social tools. They have gained popularity with children and young adults. They have become social norms. They are also butchering the English language. Texted needs to be considered improper English.

mwpittman January 9, 2010, 3:38pm

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Final Words

No Douglas, you haven't been unclear and I sense that I am being patronised when you suggest that you might have been. The fact is that I just don’t agree with you, that’s all. I know you don’t agree with me either. That’s fine. We’ll just have to leave it at that. By the way I didn’t think we were sparring. I thought it was more of a debate. I wouldn’t dare spar with someone who uses the word ‘putative’ (I had to look it up in the dictionary).

I'm just going to leave you with a quote from one of your own responses in a debate about obstinacy:

"But I do maintain that nonstandard words lead to unclarity, not just because the words may be misunderstood, but because a reader or listener with knowledge of correct English will balk and bristle at the error and doubt the articulateness of the writer or speaker."

Enough said I think.

marklightfoot October 8, 2009, 12:29pm

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@Karyn ... Huh? What "rule of thumb" would that be?

M-W has "texted" http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/text%...
OED has "texted" http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/text?q...

Texted, as a pasted tense, has been in use for about 350 years:
"Oh, nephew, are you come ! the wel- comest wish That my heart has ; this is my kinsman, sweet. Wife. Let him be largely ***texted*** in your love. That all the city may read it fairly ..." — William Rowley, "Woman Never Vext", 1632

How much more proof do you need that "texted" is right?

AnWulf April 13, 2012, 10:29am

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Inquiry, correction, and admonishment to jai:
1. How do you figure "Grammar Girl" has any more right to make claims than say... me?
2. According to a poster who cited the OED on the previous page, the word "texted" has been around since the 15th century.
3. "Unscrupulous" means lacking the ability or desire to distinguish between right and wrong. I'm fairly sure that there is no evidence of anyone here lacking either. Don't use words you don't understand.

bjhagerman October 11, 2009, 3:01pm

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This is a long topic or case or whatever it's called.

I subscribe to "texted" as the proper past tense as the verb for of "text" meaning, to send a text message.

FYI, I will say a word in caps that I am separating from the rest of the sentence instead of using quotation marks.

The word TEST for example, sounds similar, though the X adds an extra KS sound. Say TESTED. I am taking a test. I am testing. I am being tested. They will be tested tomorrow. They will have been tested tomorrow. They have been tested. And now, I am sending a text. I am texting. I am being texted. They will be texted tomorrow. They wil have been texted tomorrow.

If you say that through a couple times, you will catch on how to say it. Don't say it slow and sloppy like you're unsure if that's correct. Say it confident and just imagine you're saying TEST.

As for the past tense of TEXT being TEXT, I disagree. I understand words like HIT, but this isn't quite the same. I'm not sure of any technical reason why, but it's similar to MEDAL in the Olympics, etc. It's a noun turned into a verb. It's like PLANK. If you haven't heard what planking is, I think it's just laying somewhere random like a plank of wood. So, planked, planking, etc. I also just saw something similar in a previous post, EMAIL. EMAILED. TEXTED just sounds different and to some people it sounds wrong because the only thing they can bring to mind is HITTED, which of course, should be HIT. I think the techno jargon is a large part of it. Technology terminology fits into the lexicon pretty quickly, and it's obviously been irritating to those who don't really consider all possibilities.

If I say I TEXT YOU and mean to tell them that it is something that I did in the past, there is no other context to indicate that it has already happened and has ended. Saying I TEXT YOU just implies that it is an ongoing action with no discernible ending or maybe even beginning.

photog January 22, 2012, 9:48pm

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

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

CLAUDIO.
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 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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@another try ... most verbs that end in "t" take an "ed" past tense ... painted, boasted, roasted, asf.

M-W has texted as the past tense: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/text%...

I texted her a little while ago.
I texted a message to her.
She just texted me back.

AnWulf January 24, 2012, 3:03pm

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I don't imagine there is much debate about whether or not the past tense of TEXT is TEXTED - when written. It's how the past tense of TEXT is pronounced.

One school of thought compares TEXTED with the past tense of verbs which end in X such as FAXED. That could make TEXTED one syllable.

The other compares TEXTED with the past tense of verbs which end in T such as COASTED. That could make TEXTED two syllables.

Since TEXTED combines X and T, that really opens it up for confusion.

Toe may toe, toe mah toe ;p

crashdummy January 24, 2012, 11:57pm

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Yes     No