to text, to text message, to send a text message [verb] [sms’te, ge-sms’t] [‘es-em-es-un’] Iconspeaker_klein

SMS is the acronym for Short Message Service. In Dutch we use the acronym as a noun for the text message itself, and then of course we’ve derived a verb by adding the ending -en. It is not used as such in English, and you might hear the unsuspecting Dutchman use it this way when speaking English.

The spelling of the verb “sms’en” and its conjugations is tricky and often done incorrectly. The rule is that when you derive a verb from an acronym, an apostrophe is required to separate the acronym from the ending -en.  Then there is debate whether or not a hyphen is necessary in the past participle.

“Ik zal je sms’en als ik op Den Haag Centraal ben aangekomen.”
(“I’ll text you when I’ve arrived at The Hague Central Station.”)

“Frank zat continu met zijn nieuwe vlam te sms’en tijdens het werkoverleg.”
(“Frank was continuously sending text messages to his new flame/ladylove during the project meeting.”  A “werkoverleg” is actually some kind of project progress meeting. The verb “overleggen” translates to “to consult/confer”. Note that the typical
Dutch construction for continuous activities is used here: [subject]  + [conjugation
of verbs suchs as “lopen” / “zitten” / “staan” / “hangen”]  + [te] +

“Wat heb je haar ge-sms’t?” – “Nou, dat ik verschrikkelijk verliefd op haar ben!”
(“What did you text her?” – “Well, that I’m madly in love with her!”)

“En wat deed je toen?” – “Nou toen sms’te ik haar weer! En daarna heb ik nooit meer iets ontvangen!”
(“And what did you do next?” -“Well, then I sent her another text message! And after that, I never received anything back!”)

Related words:
– “Sms / sms’je”: text message.
– “Mobiel(tje)”: mobile (phone).
– “06”: colloquialism for a mobile phone number (all mobile phone numbers start with “06” in the Netherlands).

“Heb je zijn 06 voor me?”
(“Do you have his cell phone number for me?”)

There’s a very popular commercial on Dutch TV these days that is actually not about text messaging, but about sending emails with your mobile. The commercial starts with a guy trying to order 5 kilos of “inktvis” (squid). Because of the small keypad the users make mistakes and typos. Most famous one liner from this commercial is “goeiemoggel!”, which is supposed to be a typo of “goeiemorgen!” (good morning!). In Dutch commercials, humour is the most important ingredient and studies have shown that it’s the best way to make a message stick with the Dutch. As a result “goeiemoggel” can now be heard in many Dutch offices every morning… 🙂