Text, as a verb, is a confusing word for some since it’s quite new. Many ask what is the correct past tense of text. Do you add “-ed” at the end or not?
Adding “-ed” at the end of verbs is the standard way of turning them into past tense. Following this default rule, the correct past tense form of “text” is “texted.”
How was it decided that the past tense of text is texted? Please continue reading to learn more about the rationale and verb tenses in general. After this, we also encourage you to learn English online for free with Denwa Sensei!
Tenses of a verb
Why is it important to learn what the past tense for text is? Apart from tenses being an important part of speech, learning grammar rules related to verbs and tenses are also essential for effective communication, particularly in written English. They tell people when the action has happened. Has it happened already? Is it happening right now? Or will it happen in the future? In the case of texting, it explains whether or not you have already sent the message. Thus, understanding the tenses of a verb, such as the past tense of text, helps you convey the timing of actions and events accurately.
There are a total of 12 tenses. However, the three main tenses in English are present tense, past tense, and future tense. Meanwhile, according to corpus research, the most-used tenses in academic writing are the simple present, the simple past, and the present perfect tense.
Text as a verb
In today’s digital age, the word “text” has taken on a whole new meaning. It once referred only to written material, such as books or newspapers. Now, it also serves as a verb to describe the act of sending a written message to someone using a mobile device.
The origins of “text” as a verb can be traced back to the early days of text messaging. In the 1990s, mobile phones were becoming more common, and with them came the ability to send short messages to other phone users. These messages were originally called SMS, or Short Message Service.
As the popularity of text messaging grew, so did the use of “text” as a verb. People began to say things like “I’ll text you later” or “Text me when you get a chance.” The verb form of “text” became so common that it was eventually added to dictionaries as a valid word.
One factor contributing to the rise of “text” as a verb was the increasing use of mobile devices. As smartphones became more advanced and widespread, people began to rely on them more and more for communication. Texting was seen as a quick and convenient way to send messages, especially for those on the go.
Another factor was the rise of social media and instant messaging apps. Services like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger allow people to send messages to each other instantly, regardless of their location. These services often used “text” as a verb in their marketing, further cementing its use in popular culture.
Today, “text” is a widely accepted verb in English, used by people of all ages and backgrounds. It has become a staple of modern communication and is unlikely to go away anytime soon. So “text” remains a ubiquitous and important part of our daily lives.
How to write the simple past tense of a verb
As mentioned above, you need to pick your verb tenses correctly. Otherwise, the person you are talking to may be misinformed. Suppose you have used the future tense of the verb when it has already happened. The person may wait for that thing to happen, not knowing that it’s already done. Miscommunications like this can lead to big problems.
So, how do you form simple past tense? For the most part, it is very easy.
This is the standard way to form a simple past tense. Take the root form of the verb. In this case, that would be “text.” Add -ed at the end. In this example, the word becomes “texted.”
Add ‘d’ to words that end with ‘e.’
Suppose the verb already ends with the letter ‘e.’ All you need to do is add a ‘d’ at the end. For example, the simple past tense of “taste” is “tasted.”
Replace y with -ed
Let’s say the verb ends with ‘y,’ like “fry.” To convert this to simple past tense, you replace the ‘y’ with -ed. Thus, it becomes “fried.”
Special Cases Use ‘t’ Instead of -ed.
- For some verbs, you don’t add ‘d’ or -ed at the end. Instead, you replace the last letter with ‘t.’ The words “sleep,” “bend,” and “spend” become “slept,” “bent,” and “spent.”
Some Irregular Verbs Change A Lot.
Irregular verbs don’t follow any of the rules above. They become new words when converted to simple past tense. Unfortunately, there are no irregular rules. You have to know the words or check the dictionary to know. Some examples of irregular verbs are:
- choose – chose
- fly – flew
- go – went
- run – ran
- buy – bought
Special Verbs That Retain Their Form
Some verbs don’t change when you turn them into simple past tense. “Put,” “fit,” “set,” “read,” and “hurt” are a few examples.
Past tense of Text: Where The Confusion Comes From
Now that we have discussed the rules for converting verbs into a simple past tense, it has become clear why there’s confusion with the word “text.”
Some verbs end with ‘t’ when converted into past tense. On top of that, many of the words that don’t change when written in past tense also end with ‘t.’ Since “text” also ends with ‘t,’ people may think these rules apply to the said word.
But “text” is not an irregular verb. So it does not keep the spelling when converted into simple past tense. Also, adding -ed to words that end with ‘t’ is not unprecedented. For example, the words “tempt” and “accept” become “tempted” and “accepted,” respectively.
The takeaway is that the correct past tense of text is “texted”.
Past Continuous Tense, Past Perfect Tense, and Past Perfect Continuous Tense
As mentioned above, there are 12 tenses. Four of those are related to the past tense. We already clarified that “texted” is the right “text” past tense form. But that’s the simple past tense form. How about the other three?
In this section, we will discuss the other “text” past tense forms.
The Past Continuous Tense
The past continuous tense is used to depict a previous action or occurrence that was ongoing at a certain period. It is composed of the past tense of “to be” (was/were) and the present participle (-ing). For example, “I was walking to the store” or “I was eating breakfast.” The past continuous tense is often used in combination with the simple past tense to indicate two simultaneous activities.
That said, the past continuous tense for “text” is “was texting.” An example sentence would be: “I was texting Bryan when the pizza delivery man arrived.” This means that the subject was in the act of sending a message to Bryan when the delivery man arrived.
The Past Perfect Tense
The past perfect tense is used to indicate an action or event that occurred before another previous action or occurrence. You create it by combining the auxiliary verb “had” with the main verb’s past participle. For example, “I had walked to the store” or “I had eaten breakfast.” The past perfect tense is used to create a clear sequence of events and to emphasize the order in which actions or events occur.
Here’s an example of a sentence with text’s past perfect tense:
“I didn’t realize that Bryan had texted me until I checked my phone an hour later.”
The Past Perfect Continuous Tense
The past perfect continuous tense, also known as the past perfect progressive tense, is a verb tense used to describe an action that started in the past and continued up until another point in the past. In other words, you use it to describe a longer action in the past that had been ongoing before another event or time in the past.
To form the past perfect continuous tense, you use the past participle of “to have” (had), the past participle of “to be” (been), and the present participle of the main verb (ending in -ing).
The basic structure is: Subject + had + been + present participle of the verb + object.
An example sentence with “text” as the verb is: “I had been texting my friend Bryan for hours before the pizza delivery man arrived.”
How is it different from past continuous tense? In the former example, it was not clear whether or not the speaker still texted Bryan when the pizza delivery man arrived. Meanwhile, it is clear in this new example that the speaker stopped texting Bryan when the pizza arrived.
Misconceptions About The Past Tense
There are several common misconceptions about past tense that can lead to confusion and errors. Here are some of the most common past-tense misconceptions:
- All verbs in the past tense end in “-ed.” Many regular verbs form the past tense by adding “-ed” to the base form of the verb. For instance, talk → talked. But not all verbs follow this rule. Irregular verbs have different past tense forms (e.g., eat → ate) that must be memorized.
- The past tense is always used to talk about past events: While the past tense is commonly used to talk about events that happened in the past, it can also be used to talk about hypothetical or imaginary situations. For example: “If I had more time, I would have gone to the party.” Additionally, the present perfect tense is often used to talk about past events that have relevance to the present. Here’s an example sentence: “I have eaten breakfast already.”
- The past tense is the same thing as the past participle: While the past tense and past participle forms of regular verbs are often the same (e.g., walk → walked), this is not always the case. For example, the past tense of “lie” is “lay,” while the past participle is “lain.”
- The past tense is the only way to talk about past events: It’s true that the past tense is the most common way to talk about past events. But other forms can be used, such as the past continuous (e.g., I was walking), the past perfect (e.g., I had walked), and the past perfect continuous (e.g., I had been walking).
It is important to understand these common misconceptions about past tense in order to use it correctly and effectively in your writing and speaking. By being aware of these misconceptions, you can avoid common errors and communicate more clearly and accurately.
How To Improve Your Knowledge Beyond Knowing the Correct Past Tense of Text
So you now know that “texted” is the correct past tense of text. You should not stop there. Instead, you should study more about verb tenses. That way, you’ll know how to convert verbs into their past tense form without looking it up in a dictionary or on the internet. It’s key to becoming more fluent in English. More than that, you should practice speaking in English more.
Here are things you can do to enhance your knowledge of the English language:
Of course, the best thing to do to improve your English knowledge is to practice. The more you practice, the better you will become. Set aside time each day to read, write, listen to, and speak English.
Review Regular and Irregular Verbs
You form the past tense of regular verbs by adding -ed to the base form of the verb (e.g., talk → talked), while the past tense of irregular verbs is formed in different ways (e.g., go → went). Reviewing and memorizing the past tense forms of common verbs will help you use them correctly.
Watch Movies, TV Shows, and Internet Videos in English
Watching English videos is a great way to improve your listening skills and familiarize yourself with natural, spoken English. You have plenty of choices for movies and TV shows. And most videos on very accessible video-streaming websites like YouTube and Twitch are in English.
Reading is one of the finest methods to learn and enhance your English proficiency. Past-tense books, essays, and other forms of literature should be perused. This will expose you to various writing styles and help you grasp how to effectively utilize the past tense.
We recommend that you particularly read novels since they are long and contain a lot of words and sentences.
Writing is often a good approach to developing and enhancing one’s abilities. It will help you grow more confident and skilled with the past tense, whether you’re keeping a diary, writing essays, or just taking notes. Use past tense verbs in your writing as much as possible. Write journal entries or short stories in the past tense. Top this with using past tense verbs in everyday conversations for best results.
Use Grammar Exercises
The right use of the past tense requires careful attention to grammar. Try to comprehend and implement the principles of grammar while writing or speaking in the past tense.
Online grammar exercises can help you with this. They let you practice correctly identifying and using the past tense. Try various exercises, including fill-in-the-blank, sentence correction, and verb conjugation exercises.
Ask a native speaker or teacher to review your writing or speaking and provide feedback on your use of the past tense. Having someone analyze your work and give criticism will help you grasp tenses better. It will help you identify areas where you need to improve and get specific advice on how to do so.
Take Online Courses
Taking online classes is a simple approach to enhancing your ability to use the past tense and the tenses in general. Many courses include lessons, exercises, and tests that may help you comprehend grammatical principles and enhance your skill.
The best thing is that online courses are easier to find than English instructors in your area, depending on where you live. Also, you can study English in the comfort of your own home.
The past tense of text is “texted.” It is a new verb; people only started using “text” as a verb in modern times. But aside from that, there is nothing special about it. The word is not an irregular verb. Therefore, “text” follows standard rules. You simply add “-ed” to the base form, turning it into “texted.” And that’s “text” in past tense form.