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?


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.



Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

Symitar Documentation Services


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