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Proofreading Service - Pain in the English
Proofreading Service - Pain in the English

Your Pain Is Our Pleasure

24-Hour Proofreading Service—We proofread your Google Docs or Microsoft Word files. We hate grammatical errors with passion. Learn More

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

whj_wilco Nov-19-2007

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When I see:

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

and compare it to:

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

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

anonymous4 Jan-29-2008

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What does need have to do with anything?

JJMBallantyne Jun-09-2008

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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 Jun-10-2008

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

It's as simple as that.

the_natural_solution Aug-26-2008

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

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

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

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

for meaning 1a, they provide this citation:

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

There is an additional meaning:

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

with these citations:

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

John4 Sep-19-2008

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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 Jan-11-2009

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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:

http://www.merriam-webster.com/help/faq/pronounce.htm

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 Jan-13-2009

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Problem is, your use of “text” as a past tense carries the phonetic implication, in English, that “tex” is the present tense, suitable also for an imperative, as if one would say “tex me, baby, it feels so good.” To me, “He text me yesterday” sounds like “She kiss me last Monday, she leave me last Tuesday.” All is forgiven if you’re new to the language, but come on! Comprehensibilty, tradition, and aesthetics can get along just fine. If “texted” is intolerably ugly to some, then I stand correct’d, and here’s hoping I won’t be arrest’d.

Mad_Tad Mar-21-2009

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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 Jun-02-2009

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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 Jun-02-2009

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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 Oct-01-2009

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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.

Mark2 Oct-08-2009

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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 Oct-11-2009

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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 Jan-28-2010

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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.

Dave3 Sep-21-2010

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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 Mar-28-2011

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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 Jan-22-2012

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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%5B2%5D

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

AnWulf Jan-24-2012

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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 Jan-24-2012

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It's so simple: There are irregular verbs in English. cut,cut,cut or run, ran, run. It's easier than saying cutted or runned.. The same applies to text: text,text,text. Come on everyone, no need to make it complicated !!! :)

Rima Mar-03-2012

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

M-W has "texted" http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/text%5B2%5D
OED has "texted" http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/text?q=text

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 Apr-13-2012

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AnWulf, we are discussing the past participle of the new verb 'text', your example is of an adjective.

Language is contingent and 'texted' is commonly used as the past participle of the verb 'text'.

However, it seems that 'text' is neater and less retarded sounding haha ;

Ruthyphro Jun-09-2012

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I think the problem comes from the fact that when you say "text," some people think it sounds like "texed" (pronounced like "text", similar to "faxed"), so adding an -ed to that would be weird (texeded).

Personally, I believe that the root verb is text, and to make it past tense you add the -ed. Texted sounds fine to me, because the "t" at the end of "text" is just that. It's a "t". It's as if you took the word "grant" and made it past tense: granted. Why isn't that uncomfortable to say? (You don't think of it as "granned" in your head, you think of it as "grant". Same as you say grant-ed not grand-ed.)

Does anyone agree with me?

Kat Jul-07-2012

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@Ruthyphro - we are not actually discussing the past participle, we are discussing the past simple or preterite. But as a new verb (in the SMS meaning at least), and so regular, admittedly the preterite and the PP would be the same thing. And AnWulf's example in 'Let him be largely ***texted*** in your love', texted is not an adjective, this is a passive version of - May you largely text him in your love' or something similar.

@Kat - I completely agree with you. Texted has the advantage that it can't be confused with the noun or the base form of the word. I really can't see any problem with treating 'text' as you would any other regular verb, nor can I see any advantages in the alternatives being offered; they sound to much like text for me.

@crashdummy - it's only the last letter that matters, the X is neither here nor there. All English verbs that end in T or D sound the 'ed' syllable. Why should text be any different?

@Karyn - why should text be anything other than regular - verbs that don't change their form are are extremely rare - cost, cut, hit, let, put, and shut, although they do admittedly all end in T. But no verbs have been added to this list for centuries. New verbs are invariably regular.

Warsaw Will Aug-19-2012

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OK, once again ... text has been in English language as a VERB for over 400 ... that's four HUNDRED years. For those four hundred years, the past tense has been "texted". This is not something new!

If folks want to try to change it strong, irregular verb ... giv it a try. But as it stands now, the right past tense is "texted".

AnWulf Sep-06-2012

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@Methatica - I totally agree with you that one of the joys of the English language is that it is organic, but the underlying principles don't change so much. There are precisely twelve active tenses, and eight passive, hardly hundreds. And even the 180 or so irregular verbs, of which we commonly use less than a hundred, follow relatively few patterns which are easily recognisable.

By the way, I was always brought up to believe that hang/hanged and hang/hung had two rather different meanings: people get hanged; things, like pictures, get hung.

@Monocle - The verbs you list form a pretty well closed group. How many of these verbs have been coined in the last hundred years? Or even two hundred? Precisely one - preset, and that's simply the prefix pre added to an existing irregular verb. Of the rest the youngest is bust, which dates back to 1764, and is really a variation of the irregular verb bust. All the others are from at least 1600, and many of them date back to 1200 or beyond, as I'm sure AnWulf will be able to verify. Incidentally two of your examples - sweat and knit - are totally regular. And interestingly, one - fit is regular in BrE, but can be irregular in AmE. There are really no precedents for totally new verbs joining this august band. And absolutely none for text texd.

Virtually every new verb that enters the language is regular, and even when old verbs are put to new uses, they tend to be given a regular form. Hence a baseball batter 'flied out', not 'flew out'. In fact, the number of irregular verbs is declining, not increasing.

There's an interesting discussion about this at StackExchange - http://english.stackexchange.com/questions/53660/is-it-possible-for-a-new-irregular-verb-to-appear-in-english-language.

Warsaw Will Sep-06-2012

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I stand corrected. It simply does not sound correct to my ear, but after reviewing the rules of English, everyone is correct! You do pronounce the -ed at the end of "text." I am just used to correcting my ESL students when pronouncing the -ed in words like work, etc. My apologies!

Chris Beaver Sep-30-2013

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There are approximately twenty irregular verbs that have all three forms the same, and most of these have been around for hundreds of years. And, as you show, most of these have a single vowel followed by a single consonant - hit, cut, etc and so are not really analogous. Only two, I think, end with a double consonant - cost and burst.

Meanwhile there are thousands of similarish verbs, such as test, post etc which form their 2nd and 3rd forms regularly. It's arguable whether text is a new verb or not, but in any case virtually all new verbs take regular past forms - fax, faxed; google, googled, tweet, tweeted etc. Why on earth should text be any different? What makes it so special that it should it be included in a tiny group which has been closed for over two centuries?

On an idiomatic note, the British (and I believe, original) version of 'get your panties in a bunch' is 'get your knickers in a twist'.

Warsaw Will May-07-2015

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I can not bring myself to say "texted". It sounds grammatically incorrect. I use "text", in past, present and future conversations. It may not be correct, but I have not found anything to say what "is" grammatically correct. I will continue my way until it is proven wrong!

Melony Jul-14-2016

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When one says, "I text John the other day," it sounds ridiculous!!! There are all kinds of words that serve as nouns and verbs. For example, take the word permit: "The permit was signed by the official." Here we have the word used as a noun. As a verb, we add th suffix "ed" to it like so: "The teacher permitted the student to use the restroom." Why is there even a discussion on this issue?!

kay joseph Aug-09-2017

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

anonymous4 Jul-02-2007

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

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

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

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

best, rest, etc.

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

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


KISS...

Aka

Aka_Alias Feb-18-2008

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

Spitfire Jun-09-2008

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

David_Calman Sep-21-2008

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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 Oct-05-2009

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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).

Mark2 Oct-06-2009

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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 Oct-09-2009

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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 Oct-18-2009

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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 Oct-23-2009

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p.s.

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

http://www.madog.org/dysgwyr/readings/reading01.html

It's quite funny but true!

Cheers :)

m.mouse Jan-28-2010

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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 Jan-28-2010

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

ceo Jan-29-2010

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

Lori1 Feb-22-2010

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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 Mar-05-2010

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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 Mar-28-2011

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I'm with Warsaw Will ... Bart didn't look too hard ... heck, all he had to do is scroll up a bit a the links and quotes are in my comments.

AnWulf Aug-17-2012

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Sorry, that should have read - All regular verbs whose base form ends in T or D sound the 'ed' syllable

Warsaw Will Aug-19-2012

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Wouldn'tthe easiest solution be for us all to be less lazy and just say "Text Messaged"? "Texted" sounds unintelligent anyway. I can't bring myself to say it.....at all. If you are in that much of a hurry..... like, "Someones gonna die if I say more words than necessary", then "I" think the "fastest past tense" should be simply "Text", as in, "I text her earlier, but got no response." There are plenty of words in the English language which share the rule that present, and past tense, are the same spelling:

hit and hit
hurt and hurt
Let and let
Quit and Quit
Set and Set
Shut and Shut
Spread and Spread
Cut and Cut
Wet and Wet

Thanks for your consideration : )

Mr. Webster Jan-01-2013

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After reading many arguments for both sides here's my two cents: the verb text should be considered irregular and should not be conjugated in the simple past tense as a regular verb. The reason I have come to this conclusion is because of the vowel sound created by the combination of ex in the middle of the word. This makes the verb text behave phonically like a word that ends with t preceded by a vowel, such as hit or cut, rather than a verb that ends with t preceded by a consonant, such as start. Grammatical rule changes based on phonics is not unheard of (pun intended) since we all know to precede some nouns beginning with the consonant h with "an" rather than "a" based on that fact that words like hour sound as though they begin with a vowel. Therefore, I will use text as both the present and past tense of the verb to text.

Alison1 Jan-16-2013

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I am an elementary school teacher with the audacity to require that my parents make a strategic effort to use the grammatically correct form of English with their children at home, as unfortunately, the color of their skin or even the intonation of their phrasing would be enough to cut them out of a job without adding the further impediment of a dialect perceived as a measure of intellect or ability. While teaching regular verbs in the past tense, I invariably have to state the rule someone mentioned further back in the thread: Regular verbs whose roots end in "t" or "d" always get a sounded "e", while all other regular verbs get a silent "e" when (-ed) is added. What I noticed is that my students will often overkill attempts to refrain from sounding the "ed" as "dead"(as in drop-ded), by neglecting to sound the "e" in ANY word which has the suffix (-ed). What sticks with them is that the sound of "dead" is "bad"(overgeneralization and classic modern day American problem -that of overgeneralization or taking things to extremes without thought - which will ultimately be our country's downfall as there are those poised to capitalize on this weakness) Back to the matter at hand, my urban 6 year olds forget that, in some cases, when following the rules, of the English language, you will hear "dead" or "ted" at the ends of regular verbs. Since it the word "text" now has widespread use as a verb and it endss in "t", it should be pronoinced TEX-TED, following the traditional rules of English, which is NOT the same as saying fix-ded or drop-ded, but probably evokes some feelings of wrongness (not a word) due to your elementary school teacher harping on wrkng uses of ted or ded or ed. Personally, I stick with the rules of English, but I assume that what rolls off the tongue most naturally for the majority of Americans is what will prevail in the end. Such is the way of the American masses. Whether it makes me and other lovers of language and diction cringe and whether rules of grammar are breached are moot at thus point in our country's evolution. Really important is whether we CAN and will attempt to understand each other when we commimicate. I will mot, however, be berated for following correct rules of English grammar before the rules have officially been changed. I think that is what bothers me about this debate. Also, what bothers me is the inability of some to acquire new information and an accompanyg set of rules and discriminate between appropriate and inappropriate applications of those rules.For those who call to mind the irregular verbs ending in "t", look up the reasons for their irregularity.

iboteecha Aug-17-2013

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What about the verb "put"? Today I put my keys on the table. Yesterday I ____ [put] them there. I have always put them there. You don't say "putted".
The following verbs work this way. Hit. Hurt. Set. Split. Let. Bet. Cut. Burst. Why would the word "text" not work that way? The only reason I can think of is because too many people started saying "texted" and the result has been that others are hearing it that way... so they say it, too... because in their world it sounds right. Therefore, it is becoming common, even though, by my grammar background, "text" should be the proper past tense of the verb. If your mom says "I seen" or "they've went" the whole time you're growing up, those sound right to you. But they are wrong. And we do have rules in grammar for a reason.... so we can understand one another's thoughts and meanings. If we don't all follow the same rules, it causes confusion. Language must have rules. But language is fluid and changes over time. That's why English is such a mess in the first place... because it was influenced by so many different groups of people over a long period of time. Now here we are.... with a new word. And we can't agree on what to do with it. No doubt, however the media handles it, that is how everyone will eventually use it. Comfortable or not. Or it will end up being like other words that came to have options. Yesterday I [hanged or hung] the flowers on the balcony. There was probably a huge debate over that one once upon a time.

DRae May-24-2014

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In the meantime there seem to be lots more hits on google for phrases like "she texted yesterday" than "she text yesterday"; so at the moment "texted" seems more common.

jayles May-24-2014

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@DRae - there has already been a lot of discussion about the 'put' group of verbs before your comment. Why make something irregular when a perfectly good regular version exists? The trend in English is towards regularisation, not the reverse. Why add a possibly ambiguous form when there is absolutely no need?

There isn't actually much disagreement about 'texted' except in forums like this:

'if she was going to go she would have texted us' - Oxford Dictionaries Online
tr.v. text·ed, text·ing, texts - 'She texted me when she arrived.' American Heritage at the Free Dictionary
' He texted a long wish list to his parents' - Random House at Dictionary.com

As for hanged and hung - they are traditionally used in different contexts (also discussed above), although that distinction seems to be slipping.

Warsaw Will May-25-2014

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There is absolutely nothing wrong with "texted". It's just a matter of people who don't understand grammatical rules hyper-correcting yet again. Btw, I'm a grammar nazi.

Grammarian Feb-22-2015

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While "text" may not be considered a verb by all, the majority of people use it as such. Therefore, it should be treated like other regular verbs that end in a 't' or 'd' sound. Paint goes to painted, wait goes to waited, mend goes to mended, paste goes to pasted. Yes, there are verbs such as "find" and "fight" that have irregular past tense forms, but unless the speakers of common English are going to come up with an irregular past tense for for "text", then we should go with what makes sense....TEXTED. The reason we add a second syllable to these verbs ending with 't' or 'd' is so that we can mark the tense change so people know we are referring to a time in the past. Using "fax" as an example does not make any sense, because fax ends with an /s/ sound not a /t/ sound. Just because there is an 'x' in "text" does not make it the same as all other words that have 'x' them.

Linnea Apr-14-2015

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Spelt: texed
Pronounced: texd or text... as one can't really hear the difference.
Easy way to get over that troublesome t thing.

Monocle Mar-20-2017

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Text past tense stays the same. He text mr today. He text me yesterday.

HuertaVivian8 Jul-19-2017

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Past tense should remain the same as present tense. "Text" is much more smooth since the "t" sound at the end can have a "d" sound...almost redundant to add another.

I text you today. I text you yesterday.

HuertaVivian8 Jul-19-2017

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Just say 'texd' sounds like text but when written denotes past tense.

Monocle Jul-20-2017

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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 Aug-11-2006

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"text" as a verb:

“Yea, and text underneath, ‘Here dwells Benedick the married man!’”

Shakespeare, Much ado about nothing

John4 May-28-2007

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Way to go RenagadeX!! My thoughts exactly.

lukeabud Dec-01-2007

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

Karli Jan-29-2008

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

anonymous4 Jan-29-2008

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"SMSed" sounds better than "texted".

Perhaps "texd"?

ricochet Aug-05-2008

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

pb1 Aug-14-2008

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

anonymous4 Sep-22-2008

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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."'
http://people.ischool.berkeley.edu/~nunberg/nucular.html

goofy Jan-11-2009

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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 Jan-13-2009

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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 Jan-13-2009

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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 Apr-08-2009

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

porsche Oct-05-2009

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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 Oct-08-2009

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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.

Mark2 Oct-09-2009

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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:

http://www.etymonline.com/imutate.php

shauncochransbox Oct-23-2009

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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 Oct-24-2009

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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 Dec-02-2009

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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 Jan-28-2010

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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 :)

Phil

m.mouse Jan-28-2010

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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!

Lori1 Feb-18-2010

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Well, You are wrong

bubbha Feb-22-2010

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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.

Phil1 May-27-2010

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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 Mar-26-2011

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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 Apr-01-2011

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I have always though it should be "text" not "texted" it sounds awful. To read and have read...text and text...or tex'd

Robert2 Apr-24-2011

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Language is a living thing and the vernacular is defined by those that speak it. The youth of our world have embraced text messaging and made it their own and they say "texted" pronouncing all of it "text - ed". So with all due respect to Webster and dissertations everywhere - Those that hold the real power on this, have spoken! Remember, too, every grammar rule has its exceptions. Weird isn't it?

Mrs.D. Apr-27-2011

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My best friend and I have this debate daily, as she is a text messaging machine. I do not text, so I do not use the word "texted" in any conversation, not even when I ask if she sent a message to someone. However, when I hear someone say 'texted" I want to immediately tell them that isn't a word and if it is a word it shouldn't be because it sounds terrible. Why can't it just be text? I will text you tomorrow. I sent you a text. We were text messaging all day etc...I always thought of "text" as written words. Just saying it sounds a little wrong to add the "ed" to the end of text. That's my .02 on this subject. I will note that I will not text, be text"ed" (ha)... well, I may write an old fashion letter, but not on my phone. I don't even think I use the word "emailed". But I'm also one of those that cannot get into the whole OMG, TMI, FYI, world of language.

Dawn1 May-05-2011

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Text will probably go regular in the past tense i.e. "texted" but the past tense could also easily be "text." as in the past tense of other verbs ending in "t": burst:burst, cut:cut, cost:cost, cast:cast, bet:bet. The tendency seems to be to make words regular - note the use of "mouses", not "mice" for more than one computer mouse.

AnotherTry Jun-10-2011

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Also: quit:quit, slit:slit, set:set, put:put. Perhaps a rule might be that if it ends in "t" then the plural is the same as the singular.

AnotherTry Jun-10-2011

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TEXT, TEXTED (TEXT) --- MILK, MILKED (MILKT)

AIVA Mar-11-2012

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After doing some research as this was driving me mad, the word "text" is officially a noun. therefore it has no past tense to it. If it were to be a verb I would happily say it is "text" for past tense, after looking at similar words mentioned above, ie, Put, eg, "PUTTING something on the table" but the past tense of the word is still "Put". same with "Cut", Cut, Cutting, Cut. And from that I can happily conclude that the Past tense of "text" is "text". Text, Texting, Text.

IF it were to be a verb though. And because it is not, if you were ever tempted to say "I texted you earlier", just say "I sent you a text earlier".

I hope this makes sense to you all :)

Bart Aug-15-2012

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Reconsidered ! I agree with Rima ."it's so simple"

A number of verbs are irregular and don't change in the past tense, most end with the letter -- T

e.g.
Beat - Cost - Cut - Hurt - Let - Put - Set - Bet - Hit - Quit - Shut - Read - Spread -
Wet - Thrust - Upset - Split - Slit - Shed - Preset - Bust - Bid - Burst- Fit - Wed
Knit - Sweat - Upset

Good precedence that ' Text ' logically and phonetically be treated similarly..

Monocle Sep-05-2012

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Well maybe not hundreds... Perhaps I was having a lucid moment :-)

However, that's another good point you raise regarding burn/burned and burn/burnt, though. Effectively, that has become a new verb.

But adding 'ed', making a weak verb, does sound the most appropriate way to bring it into the past tense.

But that's just English! Hehe

Methatica Sep-07-2012

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'Text' is 'written', surely?
'I wrote you a text.'
Back in the real world, though - yes, it's 'texted'. New technology - like the printing press in days of yore - always bring in new words.

Skeeter Lewis Jan-02-2013

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Interesting. Do you say fax or faxed?

Methatica Jan-16-2013

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I say faxed because it ends with an x, not and xt. Clearly, my argument was based on verbs that end in t, so if you'd like to give me an example of a a verb that ends with t preceded by a vowel sound that ends with ed in the past tense then I will concede my point.

Alison Jan-16-2013

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AND ALLISON, FOR THAT EXAMPLE YOU WERE LOOKING FOR: I FARTED ON YOUR BURGER AFTER I TEXTED YOUR MOM

BOBTHEBUILDER Feb-02-2013

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@Really?? - while agreeing with your grammatical conclusions, I wonder whether it is really necessary to be quite so condescending.

Warsaw Will Jun-22-2013

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