Past and Passed

A writer friend posed this question recently. When do you use past and when do you use passed?

Very good question. Remember the following rules and you’ll avoid the dilemma:

  1. Past is an adverb describing when.  It was past the deadline.
  2. Passed is the past tense of pass, which is a verb. He passed the ball on the fourth down.
  3. Pass and Past may also be nouns; passed isn’t.  My visitor’s pass was part of my past.

Or do as I do. Forget the rules and just memorize this line: I passed the store when I drove past it.

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