text box Words that cause confusion

passed and past

Passed or past?

These two words are confusing because they sound the same and sometimes the meaning is similar.

Passed is almost always a verb.

Miranda drove past me on the highway. (drove is the verb)

Miranda passed me on the highway. (passed is the verb)

past 

(adjective): Stanley is past president of the organization.

I’ve been preoccupied these past few months.

(preposition): I’ll meet you at half past five.

Walk past the statue in the center of town and you’ll find the theater on your right.

(noun): In the past, a quorum was sufficient; now, all members must be present.

Ask her about her past.

(adverb): Months went past but no letter came.

I was sitting on the porch when Alan walked past.

passed

(verb): The teacher passed out the exam.

He passed out after the party.

She passed by me without saying a word.

The measure passed without objection.

Joe passed a bad check and was arrested.

Passed can be used as a noun referring to those who have “passed away” (Say a prayer for the passed.) and as an adjective in games and sports (e.g., a passed ball), but passed is most commonly used as the past tense of the verb to pass.

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