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Past participle of a verb created from an acronym

Since RSVP has morphed into a verb, I was wondering the correct way of using its past tense.

"Only 1 person RSVP'd to my event."

"Only 1 person did RSVP to my event."

"Only 1 person RSVPed to my event."

Which is correct, or if they are all incorrect, what is the correct way?

  • That question doesn't seem to answer my question. It seems to be subjective. Commented Jul 12, 2011 at 4:10
  • In that case, also the answer reported here is subjective. The question is still a duplicate, as there is already a question asking the same topic.
    – apaderno
    Commented Jul 12, 2011 at 12:52
  • 2
    The answer isn't what I was looking for and at the bottom of all questions it says, "Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged *participle *acronyms or ask your own question." So I asked my own question. Commented Jul 12, 2011 at 13:08

2 Answers 2


In formulating past tenses of unlikely words or acronyms, an apostrophe-d is always used to prevent confusion or mispronunciation. (Obviously this is non-issue in speech.) You could also use the auxiliary do if you want to avoid this construction. These two sentences are thus correct:

  • Only one person RSVP'd to my event.
  • Only one person did RSVP to my event.

Also, keep in mind that whenever acronyms are put in past tense using the apostrophe-d formulation, no account is taken of the full logical meaning of the acronym. Thus, you have examples like

  • DIY'd (which means engaged in a DIY project or carried out DIY on, etc),
  • BS'd,
  • SWAK'd (sealed with a kiss),

and so forth.

RSVP (Répondez S'il Vous Plaîtreply if you please/please reply) is a special acronym because it functions as a verb. However, we have all found it convenient to take it away from its largely stiff, formal original context (e.g. RSVP: Mr. Jones) to more useful ones, such as:

  • Don't forget to RSVP.
  • I did not RSVP. Can I still come?
  • Anyone planning to come should RSVP, so I know how many burgers to buy.
  • Please RSVP ASAP! (never mind the repetition!)

The past tense is less common, but RSVP'd would be the correct way to write it down.


RSVP is what you put at the bottom of an invitation, and means "please reply".

I don't think many people are likely to say "I didn't please reply to the invitation".

Better to just say "I didn't reply".

  • "RSVP" has a specific meaning in English compared to just "reply." Commented Jun 16, 2017 at 0:26
  • 1
    Indeed it has, and that specific meaning means that it is /Only/ used at the bottom of invitations, and not outside of that context. If you answer an FAQ, you don't say "I FAQ-ed", you say "I answered", and if you respond to an invitation, you don't say "I RSPV-ed", you say "I responded". One of the biggest problems the English language has is that of people trying to invent rules to allow them to continue to make stupid mistakes. Commented Jul 29, 2017 at 7:05
  • dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/rsvp, with examples of RSVP as a verb such as "He failed to RSVP to the invitation", "We urge people who wish to attend not to leave rsvping until the last week as there are limited spaces for the evening", and "With a spreadsheet, I can look down the list and see who has RSVP'd, who is bringing a 'plus one' and who wants the vegetarian option."
    – Krazy Glew
    Commented Apr 20 at 17:38

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