Troubleshooted is not a word, but troubleshot is.

Is this really the correct word to use?

I always feel like saying:

I troubleshooted it.


I troubleshot it

For some reason, it just doesn't sound right to me.

  • 15
    I don't like either -- I tend to go with "I finished troubleshooting it" or "I figured out the problem" or "I fixed it." When the right word sounds wrong, find another right word. – J.T. Grimes Sep 15 '10 at 16:33
  • Agree with Boofus: I spent xx hours troubleshooting. – moioci Sep 15 '10 at 21:49
  • Seems to be another of these modern day defective verbs like "input" (-: – hippietrail Jun 3 '11 at 16:15
  • 1
    One reason that "troubleshot" rings wrong is that it would be so rarely used. No one troubleshoots for a living; they troubleshoot in order to fix something, so the past tense of "troubleshoot" should ideally be "fixed": "Did you troubleshoot that?" "Yes, I fixed it." – JeffSahol Dec 29 '11 at 14:15
  • @Boofus The elephant is still there. – Eduardo Jan 4 '12 at 19:57

To troubleshoot is the verb in the infinitive form.

Present: I troubleshoot it.

Simple Past: I troubleshot it.

Present perfect: I have troubleshot it.


The etymology of troubleshoot - the words trouble+shoot - mean that it follows the same rules as shoot itself. The past-particple of which is shot, not shooted.

"I troubleshot it" is correct, even if it sounds odd. That's English for you!

  • 16
    According to all the dictionaries, the standard past-tense form is, indeed, troubleshot. But, I must say that I think your reasoning for why this is true is a bit too strong (i.e. etymology trumps all). When words combine with other words to derive a new word, this new word's forms need not be dependent on the original word's forms. They can be, but there are also many cases where this doesn't happen. This article discusses a bit how messy/complex it is: itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/004151.html – Kosmonaut Sep 15 '10 at 15:56

Why do you assume that troubleshoot takes an object? If you treat it as intransitive, the problem doesn't arise: I troubleshoot for a living, and I was troubleshooting last week, but ?"I troubleshot." (with full stop) would hardly ever be used. Daydream is similar: I often daydream, and I was daydreaming half an hour ago, but you never have to decide whether the perfect tense is ?daydreamt or ?daydreamed (unless in a phrase like "I daydreamed you were in love with me", which I think is extending the word too far).

  • 6
    "I troubleshot for Acme Rocketboot Company for 25 years, but despite my best efforts they never perfected their product." – Peter Shor Mar 6 '12 at 20:00
  • Why would you treat it as intransitive only? – Kyle Delaney Jun 26 '17 at 20:19

Troubleshot sounds wrong perhaps because it's a backformation from noun troubleshooting. In which case, the correct procedure would be to regularize it as 'Troubleshooted' but that's even worse.

(This is why you have "flied out" in Baseball and "mother-in-laws" for multiple MILs.)

My advice? Go with "fixed".

  • 6
    I don't like fixing as a replacement. It sounds less professional and fixing is not the same as troubleshooting. You can troubleshoot something without necessarily fixing it. – user16425 Dec 28 '11 at 20:14

I have done lots of troubleshooting and it never occurred to me to say either "troubleshot" or "troubleshooted", of course I never thought about it either.

But I did talk about it and guess what I said... "I have been troubleshooting".

So it may lose some points for being not simply a preterite tense but it wins more points for being perfectly natural.

(It doesn't work for the other modern defective verb, input though)

  • I have been inputting data? – JD Isaacks Jun 3 '11 at 16:34
  • @John: Well that does kinda work but "I have been inputting my password" makes it sounds like quite a long complicated password (-: – hippietrail Jun 3 '11 at 16:45
  • Inputting ... that's something they do in golf. – GEdgar Dec 29 '11 at 13:34
  • 1
    I'm the kind of person who prefers the shortest form even if it sounds wrong. – Kyle Delaney Jun 26 '17 at 20:19

I troubleshot the problem and fixed it.

Sounds good to me.

protected by RegDwigнt Dec 28 '11 at 20:41

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