Posted by: episystechpubs | June 17, 2015

Editor’s Corner: Past and Passed

Dear Editrix,

Sometimes I’m not sure if I should use the word past or passed. They sound the same. Does it really matter which one I use?

Sincerely,

Baffled in Buffalo

Dear Baffled,

Though past and passed sound the same and are similar in meaning, they are not interchangeable. Here’s the breakdown:

Passed is the past participle of the verb to pass.

· John passed the bakery every day on his way to work. (John went by the bakery.)

· Shirley’s mother passed last year. (In this case, passed is a euphemism for died.)

Pass can also be a noun.

· Bill completed the pass to Heather and she scored a touchdown.

The word past can be used as several different parts of speech, but not as a verb.

Past as:

· An adjective (modifying a noun): It’s probably best to ask April for help. She’s been in charge of all the past picnics for Joe’s Chicken Shack.

· An adverb (modifying a verb): I thought Uncle Bob would stop by after the game, but he just drove past.

· A preposition (directional): It’s no fun playing tennis with Butch. He always hits the ball past the net, out of the court, and into the canyon.

Yours,

Editrix

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

Symitar Documentation Services


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