Past is a noun (meaning "a previous time"), an adjective (meaning "ago"), and a preposition (meaning "beyond").
- The past two weeks have been hard for Sally. She has not passed any of her exams. When she walked past me, I told her to forget the past and look toward the future.
- "We passed two men in baseball caps, chatting outside a pub."
(Norman Lewis, "Essex")
- "I slithered across the mud in city clothes, past knots of bait-diggers forking worms into buckets."
(Jonathan Raban, "Sea-Room"
(a) We drove _____ the exit five minutes ago.
(b) We _____ the exit five minutes ago.
(c) In the _____, students wore caps and gowns.
(d) In _____ years, students had to do kitchen chores.