Friday, January 27, 2012

Passed vs. Past


I know I’ve already claimed that I’m an English badass, but that’s more a pun than it is shameless self promotion (which is why I separated badass into Bad Ass in the blog title up there). Bad Ass. B.A. I have a B.A. in English. Get it? I think I may have overdone it.

But I digress.

Even as a self proclaimed badass, I have my own grammar vices. One of the biggest ones? Passed vs. past.

I never had this issue before the book I’m working on. But you know when you see something or say something so many times and everything starts to run together? Yeah that’s happening to me. So I’m outlining the differences between the words as much for myself as for you. (I know, it’s self-serving. But I’m getting tired of googling these damn words. It makes me feel less B.A. every time I do it).

And here we are!

Pass (Merriam-Webster):
Verb – To move, proceed, to go
(Note: I’m only going over the verb form of pass in this post.)

Past (Merriam-Webster):
Adj. – Just gone or elapsed
Preposition – Beyond
Noun – Time gone by

Now to the hard stuff. The word “passed” is the past participle of the verb to pass. The word past can be an adjective, adverb, or a preposition. But it’s not used as a verb (that’s the real key here).

So:

I passed the Reverend on my way to the circle.

But

I walked past the Reverend on my way to the circle.
I had to get past the Reverend to make it to the circle.

If you’re looking for a verb, use “passed.” If you’re looking to describe (adjective, adverb, preposition), use past. And of course, when talking about the past, use past. :)

I hope that helps you as much is it helped me!

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