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Q: Text messaging - past tense of verb "text" ( Answered,   4 Comments )
Subject: Text messaging - past tense of verb "text"
Category: Computers > Wireless and Mobile
Asked by: poocacy2184-ga
List Price: $2.00
Posted: 13 Sep 2005 07:04 PDT
Expires: 13 Oct 2005 07:04 PDT
Question ID: 567531
I'm looking to settle a debate with a friend.  What is the past tense
of the verb "text" in the context of text messaging, and what is the
proper pronunciation?  I think it is "texted," pronounced teks-ted or
tek-sted.  She thinks it is "texted," but she thinks it is pronounced
like "text."  I need some info on the internet to back up my claim.
Subject: Re: Text messaging - past tense of verb "text"
Answered By: justaskscott-ga on 13 Sep 2005 10:38 PDT
Hello poocacy2184,

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

See also:

"People just can't live, if living is without their mobile" (15
January 2003) [fourth paragraph]

"Texted" does appear to be the most common spelling.  "Texed,"
"tex'd," and "texd" show up from time to time as well.  I checked the
freqency by trying these four searches on Google:

"texted" "text message"

"texed" "text message"

"tex'd" "text message"

"texd" "text message"

If the only possible form were "texted," I believe that the standard
pronunciation would be "tex-ted," "tek-sted," or "text-ed."  After
all, we pronounce the past tense of "test," a similar verb, with two
syllables rather than one.  However, since there are other past tense
forms such as "texed" -- and since "text" by itself already sounds
like a past tense form -- the pronunciation "text" (or "texd") is also

"Collins Word Exchange Forums  > Jeremy's Week in Words  > Did u jst
txt me?" (31 Jul 2005 +)

"Irregular verb in the making" (July 26, 2005)

"Mantex Newsletter -- Number 64 - mid-February 2002 -- Writing - on
Screen + Paper" [under "How do you say that?"]

At this point, I believe that there is no clearly triumphant
pronunciation.  Both you and your friend have a legitimate claim!

- justaskscott

Search strategy --

Search terms used on Google in various combinations:

"+text +ed"
"+tex +ted"
"text message"
"oxford english dictionary"

[I tried other searches as well; but the search terms I've mentioned
led me to the pages I've cited.]
Subject: Re: Text messaging - past tense of verb "text"
From: research_help-ga on 13 Sep 2005 07:46 PDT
Well, I have to disagree with both of you.  Text is a noun, not a
verb.  While it may be used as an action in modern slang, I do not
think there is a true pronunciation for this non word.
Subject: Re: Text messaging - past tense of verb "text"
From: poocacy2184-ga on 13 Sep 2005 08:03 PDT
I believe it will not be long before it appears in Webster's.  After
all, it wasn't long ago that "email" was not a word.  Now it is

That said, if it were considered a legitimate verb, what do you think
the correct past tense and pronunciation would be?
Subject: Re: Text messaging - past tense of verb "text"
From: jupdfl-ga on 13 Sep 2005 11:58 PDT
I would agree with research_help-ga. Whereas some people may use
"text" as a verb as slang, I think what is implied is the verb
"messsage". People say they are "texting", but they are really
"messaging". The long version being "I am text messaging you." And the
shortened (although incorrect) "I am texting you." Same goes for past
tense. It is not "I texted you.", it is "I messaged you." But since
that can be confusing (email message?, voice message?) people specify
the technology, text message. And since "I text messaged you." is such
a mouthful, it is (again, incorrectly) shortened to "I texted you."

But poocacy2184-ga, you're probably right too.  Look at those other
nouns that people have turned into verbs....task, wordsmith. Ugh!
Subject: Re: Text messaging - past tense of verb "text"
From: myoarin-ga on 13 Sep 2005 15:05 PDT
I would like to agree with my fellow commenters (or commentators), but
the OED is pretty much the authority, and it seems that the dubious
practice of making a verb from a noun has a long history.  Luckily,
the language is not carved in stone, so there is some freedom in
pronunciation and choice of verb forms  - and the evolution of nouns
based on verbs (see above).

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