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Passed vs. Past

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Past

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.

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18 comments

Great post, and one I might have passed in the past. I believe in many cases with new writers the issue isn’t one of confusion, but carelessness when editing.
As I always do, and I’m sure you would suggest, we should conduct a reading aloud session on our later edits – red pen at the ready. Once engrossed in the reading, unless the person reading is concentrating on the words, rather than the story, it would be easy to substitute one word for the other.
There are also many scribes who have no interest in types of verb, so simple examples of each word would work better as a guide.

This is awesome. It is a huge pet peeve of mine when I see people using passed and past incorrectly. I often struggle with affect vs effect and lie vs. lay. I’m going to have to search your posts to see if you have information I can use for these. Thank you for this.

This is such a Great post! this is so good to know this difference! 😉

A great post! It’s great to learn why as it makes it so much easier to remember. Thank you for sharing 🙂 x

I don’t think I have ever had a problem with these two words. Some others, yes such as, affect and effect. I would imagine this would be a confusing topic to some though, especially with the way kids shorten everything these days.

I love reading your posts, they are so helpful. I don’t think I have ever had issues with this in particular but I definitely have grammar issues.

Im a grammar geek so I love reading your posts! More often than not I get it right but sometimes you make me think twice and it’s always great to learn something new!

This is a great post, I always get confused with certain words like your and you’re… I love reading these, thanks for posting them!

I’m not always the best with grammar but this was a good explanation.

I may be using these words wrong. Now I will be able to use them correctly.

Oh my goodness I love this post! My kids are always joking with me and calling me a grammar natzi because its so important to me that they use words correctly and I’ve never seen anyone write a post about the subject. As technology evolves so rapidly, literacy is deteriorating exponentially and it’s frightening. Kudos to you for bringing this common mistake to our attention! <3 http://www.cassidyann.com

I am SO glad you wrote on this. Not enough people understand that this word is actually two words with two meanings.

I had to giggle because when I was younger, these two words would get my confused. I’m glad as an adult, I no longer have that problem.

This lesson needs to be shared far and wide. Specifically, it needs to be shared across the internet since I see it misused too often, ha!

This is such a great post. Good to know about the differences of passed and past. Thanks for sharing!!

Oh. Thanks for sharing. Good to know the differences between passed and past.

This is such a nice post! I love how you took your annoyance and put it in a mature statement.

This is so informative! Even myself misused these two words often lols. Thanks for clearing this up.

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