past or passed



  • gone by in time and no longer existing: The danger is now past
  • belonging to a former time: They made a study of the reasons why past attempts had failed. He is a past chairman of the society.
  • occurring before and leading up to the time of speaking or writing: The band has changed over the past twelve months
  • memory trick – past – t  time gone by past


  • (usually the past) the time before the moment of speaking or writing: she found it hard to make ends meet in the past. The war-damaged church is preserved as a reminder of the past
  • the history of a person or place: The monuments act as guidelines through the country’s colourful past
  • the form of the verb that describes the actions in the past: past tense, past perfect, past continuous…


  • to or on the further side of: he rode on past the crossroads
  • in front of or from one side to the other of: he began to drive slowly past the houses
  • beyond in time; later than: It was past 6.30 when I left work. My watch said twenty past twelve
  • no longer capable of: He is past giving the best advice
  • beyond the limits or scope of: I was long past caring and immediately fell asleep on the bed


  • so as to pass from one side of something to the other: A flotilla of glossy limousines swept past
  • used to indicate the lapse of time: A week went past and nothing changed


not put it past someone – believe someone to be capable of doing a particular wrong or rash thing: I wouldn’t put it past him to steal from his own family.
past it – British informal – too old to be of any use or any good at anything: Many employers seem to consider anyone over 50 to be past it.



  • move or cause to move in a specified direction: They passed the school and headed into town. A plane passed overhead. He passed a weary hand across his forehead. He passed an electric current through it
  • change from one state or condition to another: Homes which have passed from public to private ownership.
  • euphemistic, chiefly North American die: I was with him the night he passed. British English pass away – She passed away in her sleep.
  • go past or across; leave behind or on one side in proceeding: on the way to the station she passed a cinema. The two vehicles passed each other
  • go beyond the limits of; surpass or exceed: The Portuguese trade passed its peak in the 1760s. This item has passed its sell-by date
  •  [no object] (of time) elapse; go by: The day and night passed slowly
  • spend or use up (a period of time): This was how they passed the time
  • come to an end: The danger had passed
  • happen; be done or said: Not another word passed between them
  •  transfer (something) to someone, especially by handing or bequeathing it to the next person in a series: Your letter has been passed to Mr Rich for action. The poem was passed from generation to generation. He passed her a cup. 
  •  (of a candidate) be successful in (an examination, test, or course): She passed her driving test


For more about passed and phrases go to the Oxford Dictionary site  


To pass often means ‘to move past’, also ‘to sail past’, ‘to fly past’, ‘to run past’, ‘to hop past’, etc. If you have used a verb indicating motion already, then it will be with ‘past’ and not ‘passed’. 

Remember, ‘passed’ is the past tense of the verb ‘to pass’. For movement to pass a place  we can have I passed/ She passed/ They passed etc.

When we use past it’s with a verb  – a verb + past  I went past / She drove past/ He ran past 

 To test whether ‘passed’ is correct, substitute it with ‘went past’.  If your sentence still makes sense, then ‘passed’ is the correct version.

She passed the shop.
She went past the shop.
(Still makes sense – passed is correct)

She skipped passed the shop. (Not correct – passed is wrong can’t have verb +passed together)

She skipped went past the shop  (Should be – She skipped past the shops)


Now do this spelling exercise

past or passed?

Type in or choose the correct passed or past.

past or passed 2

Type in or choose the right word

Watch the past and passed guest video for more help – click here