“Forecast” and “Broadcast” Never Need -ed

By Maeve Maddox

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My telephone weather app really mashes on my grammar nerve when it tells me that “rain is forecasted.”

Likewise, I find it disturbing when a state supreme court judge, ruling on a misinformation case, begins a sentence with “Even assuming that Fox News did not intentionally allow this false narrative to be broadcasted….”

The verb broadcast, meaning, “to disseminate a message, news, musical anything from a radio or television transmitting station,” comes from the verb cast, “to throw,” especially, “to throw with force.” In 1807, to broadcast meant, “to scatter seed (etc.) abroad with the hand.” The modern communication sense entered the language in 1921.

The general meaning of to cast is “to throw,” specifically, “to project something with force, from the hand, the arms, a container, etc.”

The word occurs in a great many English expressions and collocations:
cast out
cast off
cast anchor
cast eyes on
cast dice
cast lots
cast a spell
cast about
cast a stone
cast a vote
cast a line
cast aspersions

Cast belongs to the class of irregular verbs that have the same word for all three parts, verbs like cut, bet, burst, and cost. For that reason, it seems obvious that the past form of broadcast would be broadcast.

Broadcast and broadcasted compete in early citations. The Ngram Viewer graph suggests that the form broadcasted enjoyed a brief ascendancy in 1924—when the word was new—before plummeting in favor of broadcast. A search on the the fraze.it site brings up 3,895 examples of “was broadcast” compared to 34 examples of “was broadcasted.”

forecast
Not as common as broadcast, the verb forecast is literally, “to cast before.” It is used in the sense of foretelling or predicting, as in foretelling the future. It can also mean “to estimate” or “to imagine beforehand.” Like broadcast, forecast forms its past tenses without -ed.

Forecast is most often used in the context of weather and economics:

Snow is forecast to settle to sea level in Southland, Canterbury and Wellington.

Clear skies are forecast into early Sunday with a chance of showers late Sunday.

The company forecast adjusted net income in the range of $500,000 to $1 million.

Analysts had forecast a profit of 36 cents per share on revenue of $170 million.

Greece’s public debt is forecast to reach 125% of its national income this year.

The form forecasted is often seen used as an adjective:

If forecasted snow holds off, he hopes to get in a Monday game at Neuqua Valley.

An increase within the latest forecasted range would be the largest since 2006.

What do the authorities say about these –ed forms?

The OED entry for broadcast notes that the inflected past tense and part participle are broadcast, “occasionally broadcasted.”

The Chicago Manual of Style does not state a rule, but implies it in paragraph 9.189, which shows how to cite sources from television:

Season 5, episode 4, of the Masterpiece series Downton Abbey, originally broadcast on ITV (UK) and PBS (US) and also available from Amazon Video

Merriam-Webster shows broadcast as the past form, but gives broadcasted an “also.” Nevertheless, all the examples cited of past tense use shows broadcast.

The AP Stylebook comes down firmly for broadcast and forecast:

broadcast The past tense also is broadcast, not broadcasted.

forecast Use forecast also for the past tense, not forecasted.

Now, if only I could figure out how to correct the weather app on my phone.

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