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Is it past tense (/rɛd/) or present tense (/rid/)?

I can imagine rationale for either choice. Past tense because it's an acknowledgment that the message has been read, or present tense because it's an acknowledgement that the message has been opened and the recipient is thus reading it.

  • youtube.com/watch?v=F0Y1pq3O_4A That's how everyone I know says it... long e on read. – JLG Apr 25 '14 at 20:57
  • A more authoritative source would be nice. I've always said /rid/, but I've just run into a few people who claim they've never heard anything besides /rɛd/. Maybe both are fine. I don't want to be prescriptive, so asking for an authoritative source might be sort of hypocritical. – Wesley May Apr 25 '14 at 20:59
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    Search for "read receipt" in the Video tab of Google, and you will find thousands of videos with the phrase pronounced. Pick a more authoritative one. I looked at several, and all said read with the long e. – JLG Apr 25 '14 at 21:10
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I strongly doubt there's an authoritative answer here.

But, I would think /rid/ would minimize ambiguity: hardly anyone's going to gloss it as "reed receipt" (unless papyrus is popular in your region); saying /rɛd/ could easily get understood as "red receipt", plausibly thinking it means something like "debt" or similar.

  • Yeah, I feel the same way about the ambiguity. I'd never heard /rɛd/ until today, but I was immediately confused for exactly this reason. – Wesley May Apr 25 '14 at 21:06
  • I don't agree with this at all... I'm not saying some people don't pronounce it "reed", but I have never, ever heard it said that way, and I definitely don't think it's confusing at all. "Red receipt" means nothing to me. A "read receipt" is a pretty common thing. I'm afraid I see nothing to be confused about here. (Also I think past-tense "read" makes more sense in general, but I can see OP's reasoning for either case.) – WendiKidd Apr 26 '14 at 1:25
  • @WendiKidd I'm pretty sure nollidge means 'reed' is the most common sound for 'read receipt' although I find his answer slightly hard to read (no pun intended). The point he is making (I think) is that if you say 'reed receipt' no-one will mistake it for the literal 'reed' (a water plant or wind instrument or an electrical relay) – Frank Apr 26 '14 at 7:05
  • @Frank Yeah, what I'm saying is that I don't think if you say it "red" then anyone's going to think you mean an actual receipt that is the color red, either. I'm having trouble thinking of a context in which the two items could be confused. And I've only ever heard it as "red", and the past tense makes more sense to me because the receipt indicates that the recipient has already read/begun reading the email... If, as the OP says, it was meant to imply "they're reading it now", then you'd go with "reading receipt", not the present "read". (Which is also weird.) So I understand, I just disagree. – WendiKidd Apr 26 '14 at 14:46

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