Sometimes, in business and formal situations, you may hear someone use the word “costed” to refer to the previously determined budget for the project. But is “costed” actually a word, and if it is, how do we use it correctly?
It is correct to say “costed” when we use “cost” in the past tense and as a past participle, when measuring out the cost of something. For example, we might use the verb “costed” when we have previously determined all the expenditures involved in a project. However, you would never use this to refer to how much you spent on something.
We come across the word “costed” more in British English than in American English, but you may still encounter it in some business and project-planning situations. This article will explore the word “costed” and how to use it correctly.
What Does “Costed” Mean?
Collins Dictionary defines “costed” as having the price of a project “calculated in advance” (source). So, when you plan to do something for a project, you will have to consider the various costs involved before you begin.
We typically use “costed” when referring to an official written report that outlines all the project expenditures. Therefore, as a past tense verb, “costed” shows that someone previously determined the project’s costs.
Sometimes, we may come across “costed” in conjunction with “out” to make up “costed out.” For example, we may ask, “Have they costed out the project?” Thus, both “costed” and “costed out” mean the same thing.
It is also essential to differentiate between using “costed” and “priced.” Merriam-Webster explains we can use “priced” as a participial adjective that refers to something with a specific economic value already set.
We derive participial adjectives from the past participle of a verb. Therefore, you can use the past tense of the verb “price” both as the verb and the adjective “priced.”
For example, we may say, “the dinner was well priced,” or “they priced the bread at only $1.00.” To use “costed” here would be incorrect.
Is It Grammatically Correct to Use “Costed”?
It is uncommon to use “costed” in American English, and you are more likely to find it in British English. However, it is still grammatically correct to use “costed,” depending on the circumstance.
If you are in America, the most likely situation where you would hear “costed” is in a very formal setting, but even this is somewhat unlikely.
However, if you were in a business meeting in the United Kingdom, you will likely hear someone use “costed” concerning the predetermined costs of the project they’re discussing.
Still, it is important to avoid using “costed” when talking about the “cost” of something in the past tense, as in how much you spent on something. For example, it would be grammatically incorrect to say, “The milk costed more than I expected it to.”
“Cost” and “costed” have two different, though similar, definitions. While we normally define “cost” as the price or economic value of something, “costed” refers to the act of predetermining the relevant costs for a project.
How Do You Use “Costed”?
We can use it in the simple past tense in the sense of estimating the cost of something. When “costed” is a past participle, we use it in the perfect tenses and often in the passive voice. In each case, we follow “costed” with a noun group serving as the object of the sentence.
Past participles are different from simple past tense verbs because we often use them with auxiliary verbs like “have,” “has,” “had,” “will,” and “was.” Helping verbs, or auxiliary verbs, support the main verb of a sentence (source).
For example, in the sentence “Yesterday I worked,” we form the simple past tense of the verb “work” by simply adding -ed to make “worked” (source).
However, in the past participle form, we would include the auxiliary verb “have” with the main verb “worked,” as in “I have worked all day today.”
Thus, past tense verbs function independently, while past participles typically require helping or auxiliary verbs.
When Can You Use “Costed”?
We can use “costed” when referring to someone calculating expenditures in the simple past tense or the perfect tenses.
Using “Costed” in a Full Sentence: Simple Past Tense
When we use the simple past tense, we follow the verb “costed” with the direct object, typically consisting of a noun group.
- I costed the project today.
- The surveyor costed my project today.
Using “Costed” in a Full Sentence: the Passive Voice
In contrast to the active voice, in which the subject of the sentence is doing the action the verb signifies, the passive voice means that the subject passively receives the action (source).
We usually avoid writing in the passive voice, so we may wish to avoid using “costed” other than in the simple past tense. This is also why it is more common in speech than in writing.
When we are learning the proper ways to write English, writing guides will tell us that it is best to avoid using the passive voice. However, there are circumstances in more formal settings where using the passive voice may be preferable, like scientific papers where it adds an air of objectivity (source).
We use this grammatical pattern in both the active and the passive voice.
- The surveyor will have costed out the project by the end of the day.
- The project was costed by me.
- Projects are not costed out that way.
- The new building has been costed and approved.
- It is always a good idea to have a kitchen renovation costed out.
Using “Costed” in a Full Sentence: the Perfect Tenses
The perfect tense shows actions that are already completed or that have been completely done in the past. In the perfect tense, the verb phrase includes helping verbs like those discussed above, with the verb in its past participle form (source).
There are three types of perfect tenses: present perfect, past perfect, and future perfect. We will discuss these in more detail later when we look at the broader concept of verb tenses. For now, let’s consider some examples.
In the present perfect tense, we use costed as follows:
- She has costed the project.
- I have costed all the materials you wanted, and we cannot afford them.
- Our accountants have fully costed the proposal.
In these sentences, the verb “costed” is in its past participle form and the verb phrase includes helping verbs “has” or ”have.”
In the past perfect tense, we signal that one event happened before another. In this tense, we use “costed” as follows:
- I had costed the project already.
- He had not costed the materials you wanted.
- Our accountants had not costed the proposal completely.
In these sentences, “costed” is also in its past participle form, but the verb phrase includes “had” — the past tense of the helping verb “have.”
In the future perfect tense, we refer to an event someone planned to happen at some point in the future. Using “costed” in this tense would work as follows:
- I will have costed the project tomorrow.
- By next week, she will have costed the materials you wanted.
- Our accountants will have costed the proposal in the morning.
In What Context Can You Use “Costed”?
We use “costed” when talking about the estimated cost of something (usually a project) in the past tense. “Costed” is typically best for formal settings, like government or business meetings. Therefore, it is uncommon to hear the word “costed” when, for example, you are talking to your friends after school.
For example, when a business team is budgeting a new office building, we may hear the word “costed” when someone refers to the budget planning phase of the project.
We may also come across “costed” in government settings, specifically when discussing the budgeting of policies. For example, “We will implement the properly costed policy in July.”
Again, “costed” is more common in British English than in American English. So, if you were traveling overseas for a business meeting, you may be more likely to hear “costed” than you would in the U.S.
When Not to Use “Costed”
It would be incorrect to simply use “costed” as the past tense of “cost” when we mean the expense we paid for something instead of calculating the expense of something ahead of time. Likewise, it is incorrect to use “costed” in the sense of “priced.”
“Cost” functions as either a present, past, or future tense verb when referring to price.
- The groceries costed more than I expected.
- Do you know how much that dinner costed?
- The tickets were well costed.
- The groceries cost more than I expected.
- Do you know how much that dinner cost?
- The tickets were well priced.
What Can You Use Instead of “Costed”?
You can use the following phrases and words in place of the word “costed”:
- Priced at
- Valued at
Merriam-Webster defines “price” as “the amount of money given or set as consideration for the sale of a specified thing.” Adding the preposition “at” denotes that someone determined this price in the past.
Collins Dictionary defines “value” as expressing “how much money it [something] is worth.” Again, adding “at” denotes that someone determined the value in the past.
Meanwhile, according to Collins Dictionary, to determine something is “to cause it to be of a particular kind.” So, when we use it in the past tense, and we determine the price of something, we set it at a particular cost beforehand.
|SIMPLE(Focus on activity)||I studied English yesterday.||I study English.||I will study English tomorrow.|
|CONTINUOUS||I was studying English yesterday.||I am studying English.||I will be studying English tomorrow.|
|PERFECT||I had studied English.||I have studied English.||I will have studied English tomorrow.|
|PERFECT CONTINUOUS||I had been studying English.||I have been studying English.||I will have been studying English tomorrow.|
It is tricky to make sure you select the correct verb tense in English. There are three possible verb tenses to choose from — past, present, and future tense — and variations on each.
Verbs in the past tense refer to actions somehow related to the past. For example, it can refer to an action that is finished or one starting in the past and still in progress. It can also refer to an action or condition that someone or something performs habitually in the past.
In contrast, verbs in the present tense focus on actions that are currently happening. Somewhat confusingly, we can sometimes use present tense verbs to refer to an action in the past or to future events.
Meanwhile, verbs in the future tense refer to actions that will occur in the future, and this tense requires the modal auxiliary verbs “will” or “shall.”
Four Main Aspects
In English, each of these tenses can take four main aspects: simple, continuous, perfect, or perfect continuous.
The simple tense presents the action in its simplest form. The continuous tense presents the action as something that has, is, or will be in progress at a certain time. We form the continuous tense by adding -ing to the verb.
We use the perfect tense to show an action that is finished or complete by adding “have,” “has,” or “had” as auxiliary verbs. In the perfect tense, the main verb is in its participle form. For example:
- The food has been cooked.
- Many hands were raised.
In these examples, “cooked” and “raised” are the past participles, and “has been” and “were” are auxiliary verbs.
Finally, we use the perfect continuous tense for an action that is, was, or will be continuing in the future. This article was written for strategiesforparents.com.
For more information on the perfect past tense, head to our article “Is Past Perfect Necessary? Understanding Proper Usage.” For more information on participles, check out our article “Is It Correct to Say ‘Actioned’?”
Although we may never need to use “costed” in our day-to-day lives or even come across it in conversation, it teaches us a great deal about the proper use of verb tenses in English.
As we continue to learn English, we will need to determine whether we should use the past, present, or future tense and whether these tenses should be simple, continuous, perfect, or perfect continuous.
The word “costed” shows us that sometimes some past tense and past participle forms are only appropriate for a very specific meaning. Remember, “cost” refers to the price of something, whereas “costed” refers to calculating or setting the cost of something.