DM wonders about
the usage of words such as “cast, broadcast, and cost.” As far as I can remember the past tense and past P. of broadcast is broadcast; however recently I checked an online dictionary and it has broadcasted. Is this an American standard or has it always been like this?
The three examples, cast, broadcast, and cost belong to that dwindling category of “strong” verbs that continue to change their past forms.
Broadcasted has already made the leap. The alternate form broadcasted is in the big dictionaries on both sides of the Atlantic. Merriam-Webster lists it among the inflected forms:
broadcast also broadcasted; broadcast also broadcasted; broadcasting; broadcasts
The OED gives it a nod in very tiny type after its definition of the radio transmission use: Inflected pa. tense and pa. pple. broadcast. occas. broadcasted.
AskOxford is unequivocally accepting:
broadcast: verb (past broadcast; past part. broadcast or broadcasted) 1 transmit by radio or television.
Although broadcasted has gained acceptance in the realm of radio transmissions, I would hesitate to use the -ed form to refer to sowing.
Broadcast entered the language as an adjective to describe the spreading, or casting, of seed by hand, as opposed to planting it in furrows or holes. The first recorded use of the adjective is 1767. The first documented use of broadcast as a verb, still in the context of spreading seed, is 1813. It acquired its radio sense in 1921.
When it comes to the regularized forms “costed’ and “casted,” writers will want to exercise caution.
In modern usage casted is not universally accepted. It’s not even in the online Merriam-Webster Abridged (yet).
It is in the OED, but only as an obsolete form of cast.
“Elijah Wood was casted as Frodo Baggins,” sounds horribly incorrect to my ears, but an online search for casted without quotation marks brings up 3,030,000 hits; with quotation marks, 1,250,000. These numbers suggest that “casted” as the past tense of cast, at least in the context of choosing actors for a role, will eventually make it into standard usage.
The form “casted” also crops up as a suffix in computer jargon:
Using modern OpenGL and GLSL for preprocessing and ray-casted visualization, the BlockMap and its evolution are used to build a realtime multiresolution renderer for large urban models.
The OED entry offers 83 numbered definitions for cast as a verb, including its use to express the casting of metal, the casting of lots, and the casting of aspersions. For these the standard past form is undeniably cast. (My search also turned up numerous examples of the nonstandard form “casted” in connection with the casting of metal.)
Costed has not replaced past tense of cost in ordinary speech. I don’t think that many native speakers above the age of five would say “The gum ball costed a quarter.”
As a transitive verb meaning “to estimate or fix the cost of production of an article or piece of work,” however, the accepted past form is costed:
Rich world money systems place no value on coral or Amazonian rainforest. They cannot be traded, so they cannot be costed.