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

tom_duke January 16, 2006 @ 11:12AM

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

fargrave January 26, 2007 @ 2:55PM

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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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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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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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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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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 ‘texts’ 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. 1650–66 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 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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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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"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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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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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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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 why 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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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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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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Vote for Paulina... "YOU ROCK GIRL" Let me buy you a round or 2! my email for You.. 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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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.


marklightfoot October 1, 2009 @ 9:28AM

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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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Google Search guy found the site that everyones talking about.. See "Texted" being used and and spoken by todays youth!!! Parents approve,Like Myself.

ceo October 3, 2009 @ 4:18PM

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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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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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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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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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oops, correction. In the post above, I meant half a millenium, not half a century.

porsche October 5, 2009 @ 2:45PM

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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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Porsche, Your analysis is excellent, and I will leave it at that.

My point is simply that usage will ultimately determine which form of a word becomes standard. I agree that it will be best if existing rules are followed; I expect they will be. The English-speaking world will probably settle on 'texted', except perhaps in casual speech. I only discuss this particular word – which I would happily do without – because it highlights several issues, in particular the difference between "standard" and "non-standard" English.

douglas.bryant October 5, 2009 @ 8:59PM

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Once again Douglas you confound me. You agree that there is no precedent for a silent 'ed' at the end of texted. You must therefore agree that there are hundreds (if not thousands) of precedents for for the 'ed' not being silent. How can you then turn it around and say that this leaves the choice to the users. I take it you're don't practice law? Just because there's an 'x' before the 't', doesn't mean a completely new rule is required. Do you imagine that there was such a debate for every other verb that had a different consonant before the final 't'? No, I don't either.

By the way since when have students been paragons of virtue when it comes to the finer points of English grammar? These same students will no doubt be happy making use of expressions such as:

That was well good

And I was like......blah, blah, blah


That was so fun

By the way, you didn’t mention what they were studying, English or woodwork?

While you are probably right about fax, I'm not so sure about telegraph. This seems to have gained a new meaning, particularly in sporting circles, where it means 'to make obvious that which you are about to do'. One verb which does appear to have dropped out of favour though, is 'to gestetner', meaning ‘to photocopy’. That’s a shame really, because it had one less syllable.

So, now that we are agreed that I am right after all, we can now move on to the past tense of tweet. I’m going to suggest ‘twitted’ (with a silent 'ed' of course).

marklightfoot October 6, 2009 @ 5:00AM

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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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"That was so fun."
Do you mean to suggest that there is something wrong with this phrase, Mark?

bjhagerman October 6, 2009 @ 6:00PM

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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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Hey everyone, stop arguing about it. You're being unscrupulous already! "Texted" is generally used by the populace nowadays and it might be totally acceptable in the future. But as far as I am concerned, using the noun 'text' to form the verb "texted" is gramatically incorrect. It's like saying, "I googled it". Ask Grammar Girl and be enlightened.

www.jaiho1985 October 8, 2009 @ 9:58PM

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Mark, I wasn't patronizing you when I suggested that I had been unclear. You said yourself that I confounded you. I guess I missed your meaning.

As for my earlier statement, which you quote, I stand by it, though on reflection I might soften it some. Non-standard English can have the effect I describe, and one needs to be aware of the reader's – or listener's – possible response. I'm not saying that is a good thing, just that it happens. At the same time, the reader or listener should not make unwarranted assumptions based on linguistic prejudice. (And I'm not directing that at you personally.) I see people here slinging epithets at total strangers over minutia of usage and pronunciation, and find it unhelpful and unseemly. It's a fault all should guard against, and I include myself in that admonition. Still, it is important to know what the standard rules are, when to bend them, and when not to. We all use non-standard English occasionally; sometimes it's on purpose, sometimes it ain't.

douglas.bryant October 9, 2009 @ 1:33AM

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Sorry, I didn't mean "on purpose," I meant "appropriate."

douglas.bryant October 9, 2009 @ 1:45AM

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Hello Douglas. As I said, those were my last words, (so I'm making a liar of myself). Thanks for the debate, it's been fun. I'm going to say farewell now, to you and all those who continue to sail in the good ship Texted. I hope that a resolution will eventually be found.

marklightfoot October 9, 2009 @ 12:11PM

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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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Hey guys, just reading through your comments, trying to weave through your explanations and I came up with one example that no one has talked about yet, and that gave me pause in completely agreeing with Mark: shit. Phonetically ends in t. about that one? (Perhaps this can add a little more hillarity to this bizare forum...)

jeleveux October 17, 2009 @ 12:19AM

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No more relevant than "chat" which isn't relevant because it is not preceded by a consonant sound, like, say, "x."

bjhagerman October 17, 2009 @ 2:24AM

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I understand lazy tongue, poor English, blah, blah, blah. But, although I've read that both are acceptable, texted-pronounced 'text' sounds better. For some reason 'text-ed' sounds wrong. The spelling similar to 'tested' but the pronunciation different. Love the complexity of the English language. TTFN

eecc86 October 18, 2009 @ 3:49PM

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Text sounds silly when pronounced texted for the same reason as build sounds silly as builded, or goose sounds silly as gooses. Am I wrong or is the reason that these words are not pronounced the way that they should be is because they just plain sound silly coming out of the mouth. Does the word builded break any rules at all?? I dont think it does. Neither does the word gooses. The reason we dont use that form of the word today to diplict a flock of geese is simply the fact that we dont like the way it sounds. We as a people decided it sounded as though you were uneducated when you spoke such words maybe? We even went so far as to change the spelling of these words dramatically!! Just so that we would never have to hear them spoken again. LoL Am I right here folks? The problem with the word text is that you cant change its spelling. Just like the examples that have been given, which were all small 3 or 4 lettered words such as cut, fit, hurt, put, rid, shut. We couldnt change the original spelling of these words so we just decided to leave them as they were. These words all sound just fine when using them in past tense form. This is my reason for thinking texted sounds silly and out of place in the English language. It should definitely IMO be left alone just as these other words have been because it just plain sounds better.

I just text my girl to look at this thread because I always correct her when she says texted.

I just texted my girl to look at this thread because I always correct her when she says text.

I think text will win out in the long run because of this fact.

shauncochransbox October 23, 2009 @ 4:17PM

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If you need examples of words that have changed in this manner throughout history simply look at the long list of I-mutations.

"I-mutation is caused by the very human habit of laziness: taking the shortest distance between two points. The plural of man in ancient West Germanic, the ancestor of Old English, used to be a word something like *manniz. The speakers "cheated" on the first vowel in the word to be in position for the second vowel. It's the same thing you do with doing. It doesn't change the meaning of the word to do so.

So after hundreds of years of this, the plural came out as *menniz, or something similar, when people said it. Eventually, the shifted vowel itself comes to stand for the plural, and since laziness dislikes doing the same job twice, the syllable at the end of the word slowly shriveled and dropped off."

This of course explains why we geese, and built. Instead of builded and gooses. So all of you guys talking s*** about people being lazy by saying text instead of texted need to realize just how many words that you use on a daily basis came to be exactly in this way.

Again, it is only my opinion that the smaller words which spellings could not be altered and sounded fine were left alone. But when you look at the lengths we will go to for these other words to not sound so silly, it kind of makes some sense of it all, doesnt it?

This is the full article from The Online Etymology Dictionary which I quoted from:

shauncochransbox October 23, 2009 @ 4:54PM

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It's funny, I hear most people say 'text-ed' and yes, I think it sounds wrong. I guess it's not and the answer is unclear. I prefer text used for present and past tense. I won't go around correcting anyone, though. LOL.

eecc86 October 24, 2009 @ 1:05AM

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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.


jls.junkmail October 27, 2009 @ 1:21PM

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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.


stphfplt December 2, 2009 @ 4:40PM

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I like Mac's explanation. I didn't sense any arrogance in it and it sounds like a reasonable explanation. Thanks.

eecc86 December 2, 2009 @ 11:53PM

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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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The problem is, the word "text" is a noun. Lately it has become a verb, therefore it is difficult to give a noun a past tense.

whit January 22, 2010 @ 2:08PM

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I usually spell it "texted" but pronounce it "texed" and kinda just drop the t since it makes it easier to say.

hollyberryjoan January 28, 2010 @ 2:49PM

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Hi There

I must admit that I didn't get to the end of this thread but possibly another spanner in the works is that the past tense gets modified by the subject... e.g. "did you text me last night" or (to use the noun) "did you send me a text last night" could both be answered in the affirmative with either of the following 1. "yes i texted you last night" 2. "yes i sent you a text last night" (noun version); however, note also that text in "did you text" is a past tense verb ... whereas did you texted is clearly wrong. My point is that to transform a verb to past tense is not simply a matter of adding "-ed" on the end.

I think an answer on google answers finalises this:

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 includes the example of "texted."

That's the OED's stance on the subject! This is nothing new however - language is always in a state of flux and when quoting "rules" is simply a statement of the current "rule" at that time - it changes and it has changed - get over it. Place names have been shortened; not due to laziness but due to soft mutations and popular consensus - to quote a current "rule", moreso, to ridicule others *incorrectly* for using texted as a past tense rule is pompus, snobish and arrogant. The only reason people would do this would be to make themselves appear clever and they usually do so by a misguided belief in their own knowledge and opinion rather than actually looking up the "rule" in the first place

Just my two pence worth lol


m.mouse January 28, 2010 @ 4:46PM

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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.


jls.junkmail January 28, 2010 @ 4:59PM

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Other examples may clarify


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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Hi Jason

Thanks for that :) I think, in a sense, we're both saying the same thing, albeit you more eloquently and having knowledge of the correct terminology (I got lost with transitive verbs etc. when I was in school :-P) I was merely pointing out that a) people were arguing "at cross purposes" for the reasons you/we gave - the different "senses" of the verb Text (tensless? verb) or Texted (past tense) - i.e. in this sense there are two issues can the noun text be made into a verb and - erm all that stuff you said about tenseless or past tense

b) The OED does suggest this "Verbising" of the noun text to be correct since 2004

I'ld be interested also on your take on the pronunciation - I personally think it's just an unfortunate coincidence that Text and Texed sound the same and that Text-ed would be correct (with a "hard" second T)

Cheers :)


m.mouse January 28, 2010 @ 5:24PM

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I do take your point though - interesting stuff :)

I find all this kind of stuff interesting ... and also amusing how heated and disrespectful people get when debate seems to degenerate to argument. I think
signing off with respectfully is a very cool way round this ... just thought I'd comment

Having attended a Welsh school and having had most of my lessons in Welsh (though English is my first language) the syntactic rules do, in some cases, merge incorrectly for me :) In Welsh we have a lot of what we call soft mutation where, in one type, one word ending in a vowel followed by another beginning in a vowel are joined together the suffix and prefix vowels merge into another "voweley" type sound - it's a strange old language!

If you're interested (and you do seem to be and knowledgably so) in this you might like to take a look at this

It's quite funny but true!

Cheers :)

m.mouse January 28, 2010 @ 5:45PM

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Regarding "verbizing" nouns, anyone who opposes that is surely unaware of the extensive history of such activity in the history of English. :) Contentious examples include access (1962), impact (1935), and enthuse (1827). But many verbs were created this way centuries ago: link (1300s), love (very old), and others. The process can go in reverse, too: sink (1400s) was originally a verb, as was drink (very old).

As for the pronunciation of "texted": it certainly is a lot of consonant sounds, but in no situation would I ever devoice the "-ed" suffix. Trying it out just now in rapid speech, I do tend to elide the final "t" sound in "text" to produce something like "tex-ed" (two syllables). But for me it is unequivocally two syllables and the "-ed" suffix is clear as day. In slow speech I enunciate all of the consonants: "texted".

jls.junkmail January 28, 2010 @ 5:49PM

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Phil, that's a hilarious link. I can sympathize. I'm working on a project right now studying a dialect of Ojibwe, a language spoken by the indigenous people of the upper US midwest and southern Ontario, Canada. While they don't mutate the sounds at beginnings of words as dramatically as Welsh, it is impossible to use a verb (and sometimes nouns!) without attaching multiple prefixes to it. So until you know all of the tense, aspect, and person markers for the language, looking up words is hopeless. "Ngiizegzid" is filed under Z.

jls.junkmail January 28, 2010 @ 5:57PM

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Hi again Jason

Two things have just struck me which I just had to share :) (well three if we include why I've stayed on this page so long!)

I think my points are still valid as text can be used in "a past sense sentence" even though the actual word text in a past tense sentence is "sense-less" and that this is part of the reason some people have split into two camps - whilst the use of "Texted" is undoubtedly the correct use as per your very useful explanation backed by the OED definition - i.e. they're talking at cross purposes if discussing the simple form of the question should a word be text or texted in a past tense sentence - it can but it's not actually what they mean - i.e. a) it's "sense-less" in some cases but b) Texted is undoubtedly "correct"

And finally I think you asked for an example where "-ed" wasn't used to "past-tense-ize" a verb. Above I noticed this

Build - past tense - Built - not Builded - or am I missing something?


m.mouse January 28, 2010 @ 6:09PM

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Have you seen the movie Avatar ... there's a link on IMDB in trivia for that movie about how they invented 1,000 words that were easy to pronounce and weren't like any words in any other language (near on impossible I would have thought!) Some of it did sound like Native American/Indian dialects to me. But it kind of reminded me of Tolkein inventing his languages in The Lord of the Rings, etc.

I was also talking to a friend the other day from the UK who learnt Japanese while he lived there ... for any plurals / multiples instead of adding -S, -ES, etc. as we sometimes do they just say the word twice - which I found quite quaint/unusual/funny


m.mouse January 28, 2010 @ 6:16PM

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You are right that "text" gets used in past-tense sentences, as your question examples illustrate. However, what people were arguing about before was whether "text" could be the past-tense form in simple declarative sentences: "I texted you last night" vs. "I text (texed) you last night". Frankly, it surprised me that anyone would have thought to use the latter form, because of the following:

The reason I asked for other examples was because irregular word forms (such as build-built) are irregular because they are very old words that have survived through centuries of sound changes. Words that enter the language through borrowing or "verbizing", however, always conform to the language's inflectional system -- what are referred to as its "productive" morphemes. In English, "-ed" as a past tense suffix is productive, and no other past tense form is, to my knowledge. So "built" does not conform to the pattern, but it is a very old word, so we need not consider it. If a new word, such as "text" as a verb, enters English and takes on a past tense suffix other than "-ed", that would be truly remarkable. If you ever find such a word, post it here! But as I said before, I would be amazed if you ever do.

By the way, be careful about using the word "correct" in linguistic discussions. Many people contend (and I agree with them) that there is no sensible definition of correctness in language, only statements about how a language is used. So in the above, I have not described "text" (past tense) as wrong, but simply counter to the way that we know English to work in all other cases.

jls.junkmail January 28, 2010 @ 6:21PM

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Hi Jason

You are "correct" of course :) I agree and usually say the same to people ... I think (or at least I usually) put *'s or "s around words like correct and incorrect; usually at first and then I get lazy and/or forget/assume they remember my "looser" meaning of the word correct - This was influenced by 30 years as a programmer both in terms of having to conform to a much stricter syntax "correctness" / a background in formal logic where words like "valid" and "true" get "incorrectly" interchanged and also a Buddhist background where we talk of "correctness" in a Daoist sense :)

I think to wind-up though it depends on exactly which question people ask; examples

Can we use the noun "Text" as a verb - definitely yes

In using this verb in the past tense would it be correct to spell it as "text" - definitely depends on context - in a question where "did" renders it "tenseless" it is correct

In using this verb in the past tense would it be correct to spell it as "texted" - definitely yes - for the reasons you gave and the OED definition

If the person starts a debate by saying "if you spell / pronounce the word text in the past tense as texted you are wrong" then they are definitely "wrong"; which is what my friend said to me :)

Strangely enough though my personal "journey" was this. I used to say "texed" and thought that people who said "texted" were like the people who say (or pronounce) "drowneded" - probably because I heard it mostly on the UK equivalent of "The Jerry Springer Show" - it just sounded wrong. I don't know when or why but a few years ago I made the change and now "Texed" sounds completely "wrong" and "texted" seems logical - I have no idea why I never used to use it or why "Texed" ever sounded "right" - just the power of the wiring of the brain I guess

Anyway ... It's been really insightful ... thank you so much

I'll be sending my friend to this site :)

m.mouse January 28, 2010 @ 6:45PM

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??? Love reading these, Wish I had more time to post my 3 pence worth!!!

ceo January 29, 2010 @ 3:50PM

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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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I say text the same whether I in the past or present tense, but would write it as texted in the past tense!

lotbenth February 18, 2010 @ 8:46AM

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Well, You are wrong

cjdesmond February 22, 2010 @ 10:10AM

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I never said I was correct - I just said what I used. Sheesh!

lotbenth February 22, 2010 @ 10:44AM

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"Texed"? Wouldn't that be the past tense of just "tex"? Such as, "texing" someone? It doesn't even have a definition O_o. Just sayin'. I hope we figure this out eventually!

laceytanai March 5, 2010 @ 1:10AM

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I'll just off that the pst tense of cut is cut, put is put, and I do hope text evolves the same way.

never May 27, 2010 @ 8:17AM

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Make that "offer" and "past". Don't know what happened there.

never May 27, 2010 @ 8:18AM

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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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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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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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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. Text is texted. Story ended.

d.batt September 21, 2010 @ 10:17PM

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lindalouiseelliott September 22, 2010 @ 4:18PM

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i always just say "hey, i text you yesterday"

qbnj85 November 11, 2010 @ 11:22PM

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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 Daniel Brandon,Associate Editor, Merriam-Webster Inc.

ceo November 14, 2010 @ 4:58AM

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There shouldn't be a question of whether or not it's text or texted for past tense. It clearly needs to be written as texted. The only question, to me, is how it's pronounced. I say text for present tense; text'd for past. I can't think of other similar words which would change from a one syllable sound for the present to a two syllable sound for the past. Should texted become an awkward two syllable word or remain a word syllable word as text'd?

crashdummy March 26, 2011 @ 12:15PM

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Crashdummy: You describe your pronunciation of the past tense as "text'd" but say it only has one syllable. What do you mean by this exactly? How does this differ from just "text"?

"I can't think of other similar words which would change from a one syllable sound for the present to a two syllable sound for the past."

There are heaps of verbs that do this: rest-ed, wait-ed, post-ed, hand-ed, end-ed, ...
In fact I'd go as far as to say that any one-syllable verb ending in "d" or "t" becomes a two-syllable word in the past tense, as long as it's a regular past tense with the -ed ending.

Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.

Chris B March 28, 2011 @ 3:34PM

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Chris, you are right. Text DOES end in "t" and your examples are good.

MY pronounciation of texted is to give it a one syllable sound by emphasizing the "d" at the end - making it tex/d/. The "x" sound is a strong one and, I was comparing it to similar words which contain it: vex, fax, max, hex, flex, ... Those are words which keep the one syllable sound.

crashdummy March 28, 2011 @ 6:45PM

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Crashdummy: Thanks for the explanation. That makes sense now. However I'd say (for me) that emphasizing the "d" is something I'd have to do consciously. That's because "tex" (which, phonetically, is "teks") ends in an unvoiced sound, which naturally makes me pronounce the "d" as "t", just like I would in "vexed" or "faxed".

Chris B March 29, 2011 @ 4:51PM

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I just can't handle the two guys in the commercial, and the one guy say you just texsed me? CRINGE!!!!

strokerspark April 1, 2011 @ 11:08AM

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So what is the correct way to say it, spell it, use it, whatever?

strokerspark April 1, 2011 @ 11:10AM

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Though I cannot think of one right now, I believe there is a verb (or some verbs) that use the same word for present and past tense forms. If that is correct, then we could say "yesterday I text you". Can anyone think of the verb(s) that is (are) treated this way?

Lois April 20, 2011 @ 5:26PM

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