Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Words I'm Looking Up (One in an occasional, cleverly named series on words I'm looking up)

Came across this* while copy editing:

Ever since the creators of 'I Love Lucy' first broadcasted the program into
American homes ...
That, in turn, led to the question: What's the past tense of "broadcast"? Is it "broadcasted" or just plain old ed-less "broadcast"?

The answer: Both are correct, but one is a clear favorite.

Three out of three dictionaries prefer the past tense form "broadcast" -- no "ed." But all three -- Webster's New World College Dictionary, American Heritage online, and Merriam-Webster online -- allow both.

The copy editor's rule, of course, is to use the dictionary's preferred definition. So I dropped the "ed."

*As always, the wording has been disguised.

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smussyolay said...

oh, i'll definitely be coming here. grammar!!! and i'll get to learn stuff, too.

this one is tricky, cause the 'broadcasted' *sounds* weird, which is strangely enough, often is the quickest way for me to determine if something is correct.

however, broadcast is obviously also a noun and a present verb tense -- the broadcast, to broadcast. so, i can see why one might want to go with the 'ed' to officially distinguish the past tense, you know?

June Casagrande said...

I have to say, the big delight about being a copy editor is that you don't have to think about stuff like this. "I'm just following Webster's orders."

Seriously, if I had to pick a side in a lot of these disputes my head would blow up!


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