Passed vs Past │ Examples & Differences

Grammar Rules updated on  February 26, 2024 2 min read

The main difference between passed and past is that passed is always a verb and past is never used as a verb.

Passed vs past meaning

Passed vs past are homophones, which means the words sound identical but have different meanings and spellings.

Passed is the past tense of pass, which means to move in a specified direction or to leave behind in proceeding.

Past can be an adjective, a noun, a preposition, or an adverb, and we'll get into its various definitions below.

Definition of passed

We're pulling straight from Merriam-Webster for this definition of passed.

passed (v., past tense of the verb pass): to move, proceed, go; to go away, depart; to die

She passed the other runners in the race and came in first place.

Definition of past

Thanks again to Merriam-Webster for these definitions of past.

past (adj.): ago; having existed or taken place prior to the present

I saw my best friend this past weekend.

past (prep.): beyond the age for or of, after; at the farther side of, beyond; beyond the capacity, range, or sphere of

My class starts at half past five.

past (n.): a time gone by; something that happened or was done in the past; the past tense of a language; a past life, history, or course of action

His past was shrouded in mystery.

past (adv.): so as to reach and go beyond a point near at hand

I drove past my favorite house in the neighbourhood.

Past vs passed examples

Examples with past:

  • It is past her bedtime.
  • Bike past the store to see if it’s open.
  • In my past life, I was a butcher in a medieval town.
  • Go past the stop sign and take a left.

Examples with passed:

  • She passed the note to her best friend.
  • My uncle passed away last year.
  • Horror passed through the audience as the trapeze artist fell.
  • Kevin passed his friends in the hallway and waved.

Is it passed or past?

Here’s a little passed vs past quiz to test your knowledge on these homophones.

Walk past or passed?

Walk past

Past due or passed due?

Past due

Time has passed or past?

Time has passed

Get past or get passed?

BOTH: Get past and get passed are both correct in different scenarios.

Move past or passed?

Move past

When in doubt, check it out. Use QuillBot's Grammar Checker to make sure you're using the right word.

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What is the main difference between passed and past?

Passed is always a verb and past is never a verb. They may sound the same, but that is where the similarities end. 

Have the years past or years passed?

The years past is correct. We are discussing something (years) that have taken place prior to the present (past).

What does past mean?

Past can refer to a time prior to the present, someone’s history, or time.

What does passed mean?

Passed means to proceed or to die.

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Paige Pfeifer

Paige teaches QuillBot writers about grammar rules and writing conventions. She has a BA in English, which she received by reading and writing a lot of fiction. That is all she knows how to do.

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