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Past Versus Passed

As regular patrons of my website know, I am currently on leave. My wife read my rough draft of The Eighth Day. She's the first person to read it in its entirety other than myself. She dutifully said she loved it, of course. A couple times, I caught her breaking out in goose flesh, which I believed to be a good sign.

While she read it, I read along with her, taking notes and making minor grammatical corrections whenever they jumped out at me. I found that I have a tendency to confuse "past" and "passed." I did some research on the difference between them, which I will now regurgitate both for my benefit and yours.

Past can be a noun, adjective, adverb, or preposition.

  • Noun: what happened at some earlier time (i.e. "He lived in the past").
  • Adjective: gone by or elapsed (i.e. "This past week has been heaven").
  • Adverb or Preposition: beyond; by (i.e. "He marched past" or "He marched past the troops").

Passed, on the other hand, is the past tense of pass, which means "to go by." It is always a verb.

"He drove past them. He passed them on the right."

Got it? Good.

 Read more on my Writer's Corner blog.