On Twitter Wednesday, internet grammarians attempted to settle what is apparently an age-old debate — is the notification you get when someone reads your email or text message pronounced “red” receipt or “reed” receipt? Is it intended to be past tense, or present?
And it was so, that when those Ephraimites which were escaped said, Let me go over; that the men of Gilead said unto him, Art thou an Ephraimite? If he said, Nay; Then said they unto him, Say now “read receipt”: and he said “red receipt”: for he could not frame to pronounce it right. Then they took him, and slew him at the passages of Jordan: and there fell at that time of the Ephraimites forty and two thousand.
I was not aware that this was even a debate — obviously, the answer is past tense. A read receipt indicates that someone has “red” your message. Does the other option make even a single iota of sense?
Apparently, it does. Mic editorial director Cooper Fleishman put a poll on Twitter to resolve this very important question, and with a sample size of 150 voters thus far, past tense holds only a slim lead — 42 percent to 40. (The remaining voters indicated they had no idea what Fleishman was talking about.)
The intractable reed/red controversy has been around since at least 2010, and it doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon. It’s gotten so desperate that reasonable people are asking Nicki Minaj to issue a final ruling on the issue before it tears the internet apart at the seams:
We haven’t seen a pronunciation squabble this contentious since the GIF/JIF wars of ‘13.