Output or Outputted – What Is the Past Tense of “Output”?

If you want to speak or write about the past tense form of the verb “Output” do you say “Output” or “Outputted”?

The good news is that verbs tend to have clear past tense forms. We’ll be able to figure out which is correct and which is not.

Output or Outputted – What Is the Past Tense of “Output”?

The past tense of “Output” is, well, “Output” or “Outputted”. “Outputted” is very rarely used, and even sounds strange. But it isn’t necessarily wrong. If you want to play it safe, whenever trying to say “Output” in the past tense, just go for “Output”.

Past Tense of Output

Take a look at the examples below:

  • The newly installed printer should have output a test page.
  • The newly installed printer should have outputted a test page.

Keep in mind that “Output” is frequently used as a noun. In fact, it’s easier to apply it as a noun, with other verbs to complement it. But when in its verb form, both “Output” and “Outputted” are grammatically correct.

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When to Use “Output”

“Output” is the amount produced by a person, machine, factory, or even a country. This word, as a noun or a verb, is related to the ability to produce items and keep the supply chain moving. As a verb, the most common form for its past tense is “Output”.

Take a looks at how “Output” works in a sentence, both as a noun and as a verb:

  1. Joshua’s company has tripled its output.
  2. The machine should be able to output more finished products.
  3. The machine had output more finished products overnight, so we can finish delivery today.
  4. The factory’s output wasn’t enough to meet demand this summer.
  5. Let’s output more of the launch product, and less of the classic version of it, please.

As you can see from the sentences, “Output” is a word that flows better as a noun – indicating the result of the work of a company, for example. However, it doesn’t mean “Output” as a verb is incorrect. It’s just harder to apply.

Taking that into consideration, it makes it a little easier to keep the past tense as simple as possible. In that context, “Output” would be the most acceptable version.

The Cambridge Dictionary only acknowledges “Output” as the past tense for “Output”, and indicates that “Outputted” isn’t even a word.

When to Use “Outputted”

“Outputted” is a common form, used to indicate the past tense of “Output”. Since both “Output” and “Outputted” are considered acceptable forms for the past tense, you can choose which you prefer to use.

Let’s take a look at some examples:

  1. The machine had outputted more finished products overnight, so we can finish delivery today.
  2. The machine we just brought in should have outputted more product.
  3. Anna outputted more than Greta, but her demeanor led to her firing.
  4. I was worried the printer outputted only half of what we needed to deliver.
  5. I was worried the printer output only half of what we needed to deliver.

“Outputted” is a correct form to discuss the past tense of “Output”. We can’t deny, however, as you can see on sentences 4 and 5 that “Output” is simpler and easier to use.

The point is, it makes sense people would prefer to incorporate “Output” and not “Outputted” to their vocabulary.

Which Is Used the Most?

Which one of those forms is used more often, “Output” or “Outputted”? Let’s look at the graph from Google Ngram Viewer and find out.

was output or was outputted

“Output” (or “Was Output”) is used much more frequently than “Outputted” (or “Was Outputted”). This has been a trend for many, many years.

In fact, considering “Outputted” seems so rarely used, some might try and make a case that this form is either incorrect or obsolete.

We’re not sure about that. But one thing is certain: it’s not wrong to choose the easiest, simplest form to communicate, when faced with two options that do the job just as well.

Final Thoughts

Both “Output” and “Outputted” are the correct form of the past tense of “Output”. However, it’s undeniable that “Output” is an easier form, widely accepted as the most common. Also, keep in mind you can use “Output” as a noun, accompanied by other verbs you may be more comfortable with.