January 23, 2016 | Posted in: Writing & Grammar Tips
Passed vs. Past
When Passed and Past are Commonly Confused
Example 1: They walked passed/past an abandoned building.
Rewrite the sentence in the present tense. They walk pass the old house. Does it read correctly? Is another verb used in the sentence? If it doesn’t read correctly and there is another verb, then past would be correct as you need an adverb.
Example 2: They passed/past an abandoned building.
Rewrite the sentence in the present tense. They pass an abandoned building. Does it read correctly? Is another verb used in the sentence? If it reads correctly and there isn’t another verb, then the past participle (past tense) of to pass (passed) would be correct.
Passed is a verb in the past tense. As the past participle of the verb “to pass,” it can be an intransitive verb (doesn’t take an object) or a transitive verb (requires both a subject and one or more objects).
Example (intransitive verb): The days passed quickly. The subject is days, and there is no object.
Example (transitive verb): Thomas passed his final exam. The subject is Thomas, and the object is his final exam.
Example (transitive verb): Silas passed Nico the book. The subject is Silas, the direct object is the book, and the indirect object is Nico.
Past relates to location and locates something in time (and sometimes in space). It can be used as an adjective, noun, preposition, or adverb.
Past as an Adjective
Definition 1: Gone by in time; elapsed; done with; over.
Definition 2: When attributed to a group of people, it can also mean having served one’s term of office; former.
Example 1: Her days for partying are now past.
Example 2: All past presidents of the United States were male.
Past as a Noun
Definition: The time that has gone by; a time, or all the time, before the present.
Example: In the past, many homes did not have indoor plumbing.
Past as a Preposition
Definition 1: Beyond in time; after; beyond the age for or time of (when stating time of day in minutes, quarter or half hours, or a particular time).
Definition 2: Location; at or on the farther side of (something); up to and beyond (a person or place).
Example 1: It is half past five.
Example 2: My house is the first one past the park.
Past as an Adverb
Definition: So as to pass or go by.
Example 1: The ball sped past Susan’s head.
Example 2: Sylva pushed past the crowd.