I recently heard an Australian reporter say on air in a story about an expected royal announcement that palace staff had been ‘summonsed’ to the Palace for the ‘big announcement’ about the royals.


To my knowledge, the correct word is summoned – not summonsed.

To summon means to order (someone) to be present OR to make some quality present in yourself – e.g. to summon up the courage.


summon BBN quote-then-imitate-the-action-of-the-tiger-stiffen-the-sinews-summon-up-the-blood-william-shakespeare-91-11-72


Who cares?

Now, I understand that TV ratings are NOT won by correct word choice – however, I  argue that certain mistakes like this one (summoned/summonsed) are  ‘jarring’ to members of the more mature demographic who still get their news from TV news.

It’s not that hard to alert newsroom staff about commonly confused and misused words.

With cutbacks to newsrooms – reporters now often need to ‘sub’ (edit and check ) copy and write their own headlines. I argue mistakes appear even worse when written – in print or on supers and straplines in TV news.  As  a young reporter, I made plenty of mistakes (and I still do) – but more senior colleagues let me know of my mistakes so I didn’t repeat them.


Usually, you should use summoned – not summonSed.




However, a fellow ‘word nerd’ informed me that summonSed is technically correct when a summons has been issued. So, SummonSed is correct when you mean

(1) “to cite to appear before a court, judge, or magistrate,” or

(2) “to request (information) by summons.”

When I help organisations, including media organisations, use the right words – I encourage them to avoid using ‘problem words’ like summoned/summonsed.

Even if you are technically correct – it can ‘sound wrong’ to viewers/lsteners – especially more mature viewers/listeners who were probably taught the difference between summoned and summonsed.

So, I encourage you to summon forth another word like ‘called’ or ‘ordered’ to the palace.



One thought on “Summoned or summonsed?

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