It's purely textual...
February 8, 2012 2:44 PM   Subscribe

Text? Or, texted?

In trying to explain that I have completed the task of texting someone, would I say that I "text" someone? Or, would I say that I "texted" someone?
posted by AlliKat75 to Writing & Language (34 answers total)
 
Texted.
posted by Slinga at 2:44 PM on February 8, 2012


texted
posted by 2bucksplus at 2:45 PM on February 8, 2012


Texted. Text is the present tense verb. If you say "I text you" you mean in general, or right now.
posted by jessamyn at 2:45 PM on February 8, 2012


Fair...but I am stuck on, I "wrote" you. I didn't "writed" you. True. they are different words, but it's throwing me off. "Texted" just sounds weird to me.
posted by AlliKat75 at 2:49 PM on February 8, 2012


"Text" is a weak verb (it makes its past tense by adding "-ed"), not a strong verb (that changes its form in the past tense).

"I write you"/"I wrote you" but "I email you"/"I emailed you".
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:50 PM on February 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


So stop thinking about "writing" and starting thinking about... "starting"? You didn't stort, you started.
posted by i_am_a_fiesta at 2:51 PM on February 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yes, "texted" works, but if that doesn't sit well, you can just say "I sent you a text".
posted by Ufez Jones at 2:52 PM on February 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's because "writed" isn't a variation of the verb "to write". "Texted" is a bit of a tricky one because until very recently "text" was a noun. Only with the proliferation of mobile phone technology has it become a verb, essentially as a way of shortening the phrase "to send a text". It's a mutation of language, and as such purists will consider it an aberration.
posted by fearnothing at 2:52 PM on February 8, 2012


Texted, yes. Are you being thrown by the fact that it sounds like it already has an "ed" ending? ("teksed")

Though if you started saying "toxte" as the past tense, I would find that pretty entertaining.
posted by Greg Nog at 2:53 PM on February 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


There's a lot of inconsistency in languages, particularly English.

If you take your analogy to "write" to its logical conclusion, the past tense of text would be toxt, or some other monstrosity.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 2:54 PM on February 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


"To text" is a regular verb in English. "To write" is an irregular verb. Irregular verbs tend to be old, from quite far in the language's past; new verbs tend to be regular.
posted by kdar at 2:55 PM on February 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Texted", but it's pronounced exactly the same as "text" with the accent most people have around here (the midwest).
posted by wayland at 2:59 PM on February 8, 2012


I sent them a text rather than I texted them.
posted by AugustWest at 3:01 PM on February 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


When they text in Texas they say they have texted someone.
But when they are going to text in Texas they say I am fixing to text
posted by Postroad at 3:02 PM on February 8, 2012


Greg Nog...yes! The sound of it is killing me. It sounds like something a child would say. I am pretty sure I am going to start saying "toxte", just to see if I can get that to catch on.
posted by AlliKat75 at 3:02 PM on February 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


There always "SMS-ed" if you want to sound Euro.
posted by drjimmy11 at 3:04 PM on February 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Esemessed"
posted by jozxyqk at 3:05 PM on February 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Incidentally, dictionary.com agrees with "texted" as the past tense.
posted by jozxyqk at 3:09 PM on February 8, 2012


When new verbs are made out of nouns, they are always weak/regular verbs. Strong/irregular verbs are old verbs, though not all old verbs are strong/irregular.

Sometimes strong/irregular verbs become weak/regular verbs through repeated use. Among people who do diving as a sport or profession, it seems like "dived" is preferred to "dove", for instance.
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:34 PM on February 8, 2012


kdar is right. Regular versus irregular verb conjugations. (Or the "strong" versus "weak" construct, although I never heard of that in English.)

Context doesn't matter. Even though texting is a form of writing, it doesn't matter since it is a separate word. Think of go and went, versus walk and walked. Go is irregular, walk is not.

I am pretty sure I am going to start saying "toxte", just to see if I can get that to catch on.

Please don't. We don't need any more irregular verbs.
posted by gjc at 3:36 PM on February 8, 2012


'Texted' is correcked.
posted by painquale at 3:36 PM on February 8, 2012


Sometimes strong/irregular verbs become weak/regular verbs through repeated use. Among people who do diving as a sport or profession, it seems like "dived" is preferred to "dove", for instance.

That might be a perfect versus imperfect tense thing? "I was a diver. I dove off the board many times when I dived for Wassamadda U."
posted by gjc at 3:42 PM on February 8, 2012


gjc, I hear "dived" in all contexts from divers. If you watch TV coverage of a diving match, you can sometimes even tell who used to dive and who didn't by whether they say "dived" or "dove".
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:56 PM on February 8, 2012


May I just point out that "dived" is standard in British English?
posted by ob at 4:23 PM on February 8, 2012


May I just point out that "dived" is standard in British English?

Yeah, I'm English and the first time I came across 'dove' in an American book, I thought it was referring to a pigeon.

I use 'texted' but everyone I know uses 'text' and it really makes me wince. Tenses, people!
posted by badmoonrising at 4:41 PM on February 8, 2012


Text used as a verb is still relatively new so it will sound awkward to some listeners for a while. SMS is what, 20 years old? We still use the world "dial" to refer to making a call even though phones have had push buttons and our phones no longer have actual dials on them. We English speakers will often repurpose a word than invent a new one (or borrow one from another language). And we're not even consistent by country.

It may take getting used to. And as a relatively new form, the English speaking world are not yet unanimous on how we're going to proceed. But it seems most of us (at least in North America) have settled on texted as the past tense form of text.

My little dictionary app has the following conjugation:
Present:
* I text
* you text
* he/she/it texts
* we text
* they text
Present participe: texting
Past participle: texted

You can be old school and keep text a noun and used "I just sent you a text" instead of "I just texted you."

Most of the people I text people using iMessage but I'll still use SMS or text. BBM users might use BBM as a verb which my inner 10-year old would laugh "ha ha he just said BM."

When I typed out the conjugation I realized I didn't know the Spanish word for text as a verb. I will always say "envié un texto" or "escribí un texto." I know some Spanish speakers use tuitear (twuitear) as the verb for "to tweet."so I wonder if there's a term of text as a verb? I'll have to ask around to see if there's a verb form of text in that that kids are using now before it gets an entry in the Real Academia Española.
posted by birdherder at 5:26 PM on February 8, 2012


"Messaged" because "texted" sounds so awkward. (And yes, verbing weirds language.)

Or, if I'm in a situation where word budget is not a concern "Sent a text."
posted by Ookseer at 5:28 PM on February 8, 2012


AlliKat75: The sound of it is killing me. It sounds like something a child would say.

I am brought up short whenever I find myself saying "edited it." Some words and phrases can be mildly disorienting. I've found that repeating the phrase or word out loud normalizes it until the strangeness goes away, a sort of reverse version of saying a word so often it starts to lose meaning and sound completely weird.
posted by Kattullus at 5:41 PM on February 8, 2012


Texted.

It's a made up word and no one uses "toxt" (because it sounds retarded) or "text" (because it is present-tense) to denote the past tense.

If you don't like how it sounds, the answer is to say "I sent Greg House a text message" instead of "I texted House."
posted by J. Wilson at 6:21 PM on February 8, 2012


ed
posted by oceanjesse at 6:21 PM on February 8, 2012


Or the "strong" versus "weak" construct, although I never heard of that in English.

Is that a US thing vs. other English-speaking countries, or a linguistics thing vs. an English grammar thing? Google isn't really helping me come up with an answer to this.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:00 PM on February 8, 2012


Is that a US thing vs. other English-speaking countries, or a linguistics thing vs. an English grammar thing?

It's a linguistics thing: to simplify a bit, in the Germanic languages (including English, German, Dutch, etc.) strong verbs are those which form their past tense via internal vowel changes. The canonical example is sing, sang, sung; others are write, wrote, written; break, broke, broken.

Contrast this with weak verbs, which generally form their past tense via a "-t" or "-d" suffix, e.g. hunt, hunted; love, loved; or shout, shouted.

Of course, as always, this is a bit simplified, and English's predilection for wacky vowel shifts means that paradigms are a little bit obscured.
posted by andrewesque at 8:34 AM on February 9, 2012


Birdherder: "textear" and "texteando" are very common in latinoamérica, "textéame" a little less so. But there's still no fast way to say "te mandé un mensaje de texto."
posted by ke rose ne at 12:41 PM on February 9, 2012


I teach English to people who don't speak it as a native language.

These days, verbs with /t/ or /d/ as the final sound in the present form - ignore spelling here, just focus on sound - have the "ed" at the end of the past form pronounced as a separate syllable. Consider:

demand --> "demand-id"
want --> "want-id"

but!

ask --> "askt"
enjoy --> "enjoyd"

Additionally, there is an alternate pronunciation for some verb-derived adjectives that have the same spelling as the verb's past form:

blessed --> "blesst"/"bless-ed"
learned --> "learnd"/"learnt"/"learn-ed".

So the issue isn't the newness of the word or poor grammar or anything like that; it's that "text" ends in a /t/ sound, and so for many native speakers, the obvious thing to do - so obvious that they'd never even consider saying it differently! - is to say "text-id" - which you would probably write as "texted".

Here's a bit of an explanation for people learning English from the BBC.
posted by mdonley at 1:32 PM on February 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


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