Past vs Passed: Difference and Comparison

The homophones past and passed are the most perplexing in the English language. Their spellings and meanings, on the other hand, are entirely different.

Key Takeaways

  1. “Past” serves as a noun, adjective, adverb, or preposition, referring to a previous time or beyond something.
  2. “Passed” is the past tense of the verb “to pass”, indicating movement, completion, or approval.
  3. Context determines the correct usage, with “past” relating to time or position and “passed” to actions or events.

Past vs Passed

In the English language, the past describes an elapsed time period. The term also signifies movement from one spot to another. Passed is a verb which is the past tense form of “pass”. It relates to a movement that progresses, elapses or passes.

Past vs Passed

It may also be used to describe a time prior to the current time or to indicate when a specific number of minutes have passed after an hour.

The term ‘passed’ is essentially the past tense of ‘pass,’ which has a variety of meanings in the English language. However, it is used to indicate that something has passed, elapsed or ended, or been cleared.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonPastPassed
MeaningWe can utilize “past” to describe anything that has already happened, finished, or is no longer happening.When anything passes, elapses, succeeds, or progresses, we use the word passed.  
Part of speechIt can be used as Adjective, Noun, Adverb, and Preposition.  The term passed can be used as Verb.
Related toIt is related to Time.It is related to Movement
Example 1Jane’s experience in marriage was not so good.More than one hour has passed.
Example 2We’ll meet on November 29, 2018, at twenty past three.Diya passed the sheets to me.

What is Past?

A noun, an adverb, or a preposition can all be used with the word “past.” Its most well-known definition pertains to the passage of time.

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In a grammatical context, “past” can also be used in this way. The term “past tense” is one of the most prevalent grammatical errors.

“Past” can relate to both time and direction as a preposition, and it signifies “after” (possibly ironically, given its noun and adjective forms refer to the time that has passed!).

Take a look at the following sentences:

He never did that in the past.

The past events shook his life.


What is Passed?

The word “passed” is a verb. It’s a variation of the verb “to pass.” It’s the…past tense form, at the risk of adding to the confusion. “Pass” may relate to a variety of things, and you would say “passed” if any of them happened in the past.

In the context of time, “pass” can also indicate “to go by”: “Time passed slowly while I waited.” It may also refer to giving something to someone else: “After she had eaten some of the potatoes, my mother handed them to me.

It might refer to getting a good grade on something: “I got my driver’s license yesterday!”. When lawmakers accept a measure, it is said to be “passed.” “This historic bill was recently passed by the House of Representatives.”

I passed the book to my friend.

She passed her intermediate with distinction.

She passed her sister without looking.

She moved past her sister without looking.

The word past is employed as an adverb in the second phrase to support the verb moved. This is because the word past has no meaning as a verb. It must always be combined with another verb.


Main Differences Between Past and Passed

  1. Past cannot be used as a verb since it is a noun. The past tense of the verb past is passed.
  2. Past is also an adverb that requires the presence of a verb. Passed, on the other hand, maybe used as a verb in phrases.
Difference Between Past and Passed
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Last Updated : 20 August, 2023

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19 thoughts on “Past vs Passed: Difference and Comparison”

  1. This article makes a convincing argument for the importance of understanding the differences between ‘past’ and ‘passed’.


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