Grammar Tip: passed/past

What’s the difference between ‘passed’ and ‘past’?

PASSED is a verb (to pass). If you can pass something, then you use the word ‘passed’ if it has already happened (just to confuse you – this is past tense).

I passed my grammar test with flying colours.

Fergal passed the slow car, screaming abuse from behind the safety of his closed windows.

PAST is an adjective, noun, adverb and preposition – basically, if you can’t use the verb ‘to pass’ then you should use ‘past’.

(adj) Doris felt that her past experiments with Skittles and Guinness were going to come back to haunt her.

(n) We can learn from the past.

(adv) Bob ran past Fern and hoped she didn’t recognise him as “that guy” from last night.

(prep) If you walk past the gate you’ll find a magical fairyland full of feather boas and glitter.

As Eliza PASSED the bucket to Henry, she couldn’t help but feel that he needed to gain confidence to do things for himself but was inhibited by his PAST failures.


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