Past vs. Passed


Past vs. Passed

Past is one of those multipurpose words. It can be a noun, adjective, adverb, or a preposition.

Let's start with past. This word refers to something that took place at a certain point in time. Unfortunately, past has always had its sights set on functioning as a verb. Sometimes it tries to sneak its way in there, but that role is reserved for the word passed, which is the past participle of the verb to pass.

The word passed typically refers to a movement, or something that moved. This word can only ever be a verb, so it starts to feel antsy sometimes as well.

Watch out for its attempts to be something it's not.


"How Donna walks past the principal in that "F@$% You" t-shirt without receiving detention is beyond me."

Remember one paragraph ago when we told you that past is a multipurpose word? In this case, past is a preposition with principal as its object. And Donna is a girl with questionable fashion sense.

"Siobhan was feeling good about her pace during the second half of the 5K when a mom pushing a stroller zoomed past her."

In this sentence, past is acting as an adverb, and Siobhan better pick up the pace if she doesn't want to let Supermom beat her to the finish line.

"The little girl in the Cinderella dress was sad that her week at Disney World passed so quickly."

We bet after seven days of long lines and central Floridian humidity, her parents jumped for joy when it was over. This sentence calls for a verb in the blank, so that means passed is the word we're looking for.


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