1. CMacgregor93
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    CMacgregor93 Member

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    the Confusion Of Passed & Past

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by CMacgregor93, Jun 18, 2012.

    Sounds silly here but there was a sentence I came across which struck me as weird.

    The two spellings of Past/Passed mean different things. So If I was to walk by something, what one would I used ? Past would likely be in Past tense but Passed would be in present tense, unless I'm getting it wrong.

    What works better or is the right one to use ?

    Hope someone can help.
     
  2. JaketheNinja
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    JaketheNinja Member

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    I had to read that twice to understand what was being said......don't worry my fault entirely.

    Anyway, I don't think you change with Tense, but then I may be wrong as well, but I think it changes on the form of the sentence:
    'I passed the shop.' or 'He passed the shop.'
    but
    'I walked past the shop.' or 'He walked past the shop.'

    It depends on the verb, and word order of the sentence.
     
  3. ulubelu
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    ulubelu Member

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    I always thought (not having English as my native language) that past was something that happened in the past (like it is spelled) but that I passed the shop, when it was something I did - like an action so to speak. But maybe I'm wrong?
     
  4. killbill
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    killbill Contributing Member

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    "Passed" is the past form of the verb "to pass".

    -I passed him without so much as a glance. (no confusion here because passed is use as a verb indicating motion)

    -I walked past him without so much as a glance. (can't use the VERB "passed" here because we already have a verb "walked" in the sentence. "Past" is a preposition here.)

    so, the easiest way to remember is: "Passed" when there is no other verb involve, and "past" when there is already another verb. Of course this is just concerning the meaning indicating motion. To pass, passed, and past has various other meanings which you should look up.
     
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  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I passed past the store.

    Passed is the past tense of the verb to pass. Passed will only appear in a verb context.

    Past is a noun, referring to the time prior to the present. Past is also an adjective, related to the noun usage, or a preposition, as used in the example sentence. Past can even be an adverb. But past is not a verb.

    So with all the meanings of past or pass, and there are several of each, past will never be a verb, and passed will always be a verb.

    Caveat - this is current US usage. I know that past has been used in archaic English as a verb, and I'm not sure if it is acceptable as a verb in UK English.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    you're right, cog... both times! ;)
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah, the site is doing that a lot lately: double posting with only a single submit click. Very annoying.
     
  8. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've never heard of 'past' being a verb in modern UK English.
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Thanks, madhoca. I know US English pretty well, but I'm not always sure what is considered acceptable in the UK (and Australia, and Canada).
     

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