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Passed and Past

Commonly Confused Words


Passed and Past

Passed is both the past and past participle form of the verb pass. (Pass has many meanings, including to move, take place, go beyond, and complete successfully.)

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.

Answers to Practice Exercises

Glossary of Usage: Index of Commonly Confused Words

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