Passed vs. Past

Hello sweet little gumdrops!

One of the most notable characteristics of the English language is that just because something sounds one way, it doesn’t mean you spell it sounding it out. In fact, if you spell exclusively by how words sound, you’ll end up with a nonsensical mumbo jumbo that will make people wonder if you dropped out of high school (kind of like the people who write “prolly” instead of “probably”).

Now, as I’ve mentioned before, some mistakes are more justifiable than others. Such is the case with passed and past.That said, for you to understand the difference, you have to be pretty clear on what is a verb, a noun, and an adverb. If you’re confused as to what each of those terms mean, take a refresher course on  parts of speech, then come back to this blog.

When to use PASSED

Passed is a verb. It’s the past tense of the verb pass.  So if you’re moving beyond something, you passed it.

“I passed your house this morning on my way to work.”   
“I passed the California Bar Exam. Hell yeah, I did!”

When to use Past

  1. Past refers to a previous point in time. Depending on the sentence,  it could be a noun, an adjective, or a preposition.

    “The past few weeks have been rough, since almost three weeks after Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico still hasn’t received adequate assistance from either the state or federal governments.” 

What are the verbs in the sentence above? “Have been,” and “received.”
Meanwhile, “past” is used as an adjective denoting a period of time.

2. “Past” is also used as a preposition denoting going beyond a certain point.

      “Oh look! It’s 9:00 PM! It is definitely past my bedtime!”
       (I’m a fairy in my thirties. 9:00 PM is a sensible time to go to bed).

      “To get to the park, keep driving past this entire row of Victorian homes,
then make a left.” 

A simple way to remember: If it’s not a verb, use “past.”

Alright, little darlings. It’s time for a green juice. Gotta go get my health on.

Have a wonderful day and don’t forget to floss.

Much love,

The Fairy Godwriter

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