Confused Words #2: Past and Passed
Two words that many English speakers confuse are past and passed.
The confusion between past and passed is understandable because they sound the same: [past].
The spellings have been confused for centuries, but modern speakers who have access to free dictionaries and universal public education may be expected to master the difference.
Passed is the past tense of the verb to pass.
Past is the spelling of four other parts of speech, but NEVER a verb.
Pass (the verb)
The verb pass has numerous meanings, among them,”to move or move on, to go by, to move or be transferred to the next place.” The principal parts are pass, passed, (have) passed. The verb is used both transitively and intransitively. Here are some examples:
You must study harder if you expect to pass your exams. (transitive)
Please pass me the salt. (transitive)
Did you pass? (intransitive)
Dorothea passed the bar exam last September. (transitive)
That reckless driver passed on the right. (intransitive)
Past (NOT the verb)
The word past can function as four parts of speech: noun, adjective, adverb, and preposition:
past (noun): time that has gone by. Usually preceded by the article the.
Example: It’s not a good idea to dwell on the past.
past (adjective): gone by in time.
Examples: They never dwell upon their past losses, except to learn from them. (attributive adjective)
Our relationship was mutually beneficial, but now it is past. (predicate adjective)
Note: An attributive adjective stands before a noun. A predicate adjective completes a being verb.
past (adverb): beyond
Example: He came to the haunted house and then ran past.
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