–verb (used without object) Digital Technology.
15. to send a text message: Texting while driving is an accident asking to happen.

Can I use:

  • I text to her but she didn't text me back.
  • I will text on your facebook later.

What about the simple past and past participle forms? Is it text, text, text?

  • Your dictionary is wrong (text is not intransitive). meta.english.stackexchange.com/questions/2843/… Commented Jul 25, 2012 at 1:00
  • @Mechanicalsnail No, the dictionary is entirely correct. Text works just fine as an intransitive verb, and there is nothing whatsoever wrong with the example given in the dictionary quoted in the question. Commented Sep 9, 2015 at 17:30

7 Answers 7


As a new coinage it would take regular verb inflections: text, texts, texted, etc.

And as I hear it used, the "to" is unnecessary.

I texted her but she didn't text me back.

It feels like the verb form is going to parallel "call" in that respect: You wouldn't say "I called to her" if you meant you called on the phone.


New verbs normally occur as regular verbs, so you'd expect past tense and past participle texted. However, for reasons of phonology, some speakers may produce the past tense and past participle as text. Only time will tell which form wins. Perhaps they'll remain alternatives.

Although the current meaning of text is new, it first occurred as a verb around 1600 when it meant 'To inscribe, write, or print in a text-hand or in capital or large letters'. The past tense and past participle occur as texted in all the OED's citations, including those illustrating the current meaning.


Text can be used as a verb both transitively and intransitively, in many different ways. It usually means only messaging by SMS (short message service) using mobile telephones. Other forms of textual messaging (such as on Facebook) are not texting.

Here are some examples from the Corpus of Contemporary American English. (They mostly the past tense form texted because the part-of-speech tagger tags all incidences of text as a noun, so it is difficult to find examples of text as a verb.)

Recipient as direct object:

  • And she hasn't texted me all day.
  • I knew it was him because I texted him and I saw him take out his phone
  • Each time I texted a friend or family member to say where I was, the auto correct says I was in tacos and not Taos.

Message as direct object:

  • We have entre into this cozy family scene because Bristol herself texted an invite.
  • Newark mayor Cory Booker's tweet to Snooki, after she texted a post about being stuck in traffic in Newark
  • Sara found out and texted,' We're having a bake-off.'

Transitive uses with a direct object (message) and an indirect object (recipient):

  • " It's time to be the best ever, " a friend texted our new hero before he became just that.
  • Perry, who bounced a plastic bottle off his head at the 2009 VMAs, texted him a photo of her breasts and got their romance started.
  • Tapping on my iPhone, I texted my secret to my teammate, K-9, along with a pic.
  • Shortly before kickoff in the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas, he texted Gerhart good luck

Intransitive uses:

  • And truckers who texted while driving were twenty-three times more likely than others to have a collision.
  • She always called or texted to let me know when she was home
  • If you're texting a ton, that mystery disappears too quickly and he'll see you more as a friend

Uses with a clause subordinated by that indicating the message:

  • While I drove there Tuesday night, Mike Lynch texted that there were 60 vehicles in line
  • She had texted Tyree that she was pregnant
  • Imperative form too, "Text me when you get there."
    – Xantix
    Commented Sep 10, 2012 at 23:12
  • The second sentence under the topic "recipient to direct object" should read: "I knew it was he . . . . and not I knew 'it was him' because I texted him and I saw him take out his phone. The rule says: Subject pronouns are used if they rename the subject. They follow to be verbs such as is, are, was, were, am, and will be.
    – user60455
    Commented Dec 24, 2013 at 17:10
  • @LetitiaVaughan the examples are all quotations extracted from the Corpus of Contemporary American English (americancorpus.org). The quotation in question is from a transcription of an ABC "Primetime" broadcast titled "BOYFRIEND CAUGHT IN THE ACT; WILL THE BEST FRIEND SPEAK UP?" broadcast in 2010. corpus.byu.edu/coca/?c=coca&q=27573437
    – nohat
    Commented Dec 27, 2013 at 18:44

For sure, the common forms are text, texts, texted, texting, etc. It is a regular verb. That is the way it is used. It is also commonly used as a transitive verb so: "I texted Mary, so please text Sue and I am sure they will text us back." "I texted to Mary" doesn't sound right. However, I think one would text to Facebook, rather than text Facebook, though perhaps others might disagree.

  • It patterns exactly like "tell" and "show".
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Jun 17, 2011 at 11:20

If texting is widely used, texted should only be expected to follow.

Merriam-Webster already lists text, texter, texting and texted in this sense.

"I'd luv it if u can textify ur remarks, I forgot what u said ."

  • I doubt that they were not in fact introduced at the same time. Does any Englishs speaker "verb" a noun without simultaneously introducing the past tense, gerund, et cetera? It's implicitly there.
    – Kaz
    Commented Apr 25, 2012 at 7:42
  • 1
    Tx @JR for the edit. It's actually, merriam.
    – Kris
    Commented Apr 25, 2012 at 7:52
  • @Kris - Merriam, with a capital M.
    – J.R.
    Commented Dec 24, 2013 at 20:02

A fact that appears to have been missed in the answers so far is that some people (I have met some) have taken to using the verb 'to tex'.

If you allow that then of course the past participle 'texed' (not 'text') makes perfect sense.


"I will tex him tomorrow."

"I texed her yesterday."

Listen carefully and even ask a few people. You may discover the same as I have. It's certainly possibly to find examples with Google search.

Here's a (self?) published example

“I texed Megan and asked her what was going on. She texed back that it was her brother and he had a crush on me so she changed places with him"

Weavers of the Crystal Domes: Book One of Kudzu Worlds By Suzanne Strange


I text to her but she didn't text me back.

Correct usage:

I texted her but she didn't text me back

As for the second sentence:

I will text on your facebook later.

Correct usage:

I shall text you on your facebook later

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