Misused Words: Past vs Passed

The English language can be so confusing. Past and passed are words that are easily mixed, especially in writing.

Misused words: Past and passed

However, the quickest way to remember how to use the two words is this: Past is used as a noun, adjective, adverb, or preposition. Passed is used as a verb.

For example: I don’t like to think about my past. (Noun)

For example: Joan read two books this past week. (Adjective)

For example: The editor ran past and almost knocked me over. (Adverb)

For example: We will leave when it is half past the hour. (Preposition)

For example: My son passed the history test. (Verb)

If you are not sure which word to use, simply ask yourself, “is the word passed (past) being used as a verb? If so, you know to use passed. If it isn’t, you know to use past.

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Grammar Tip: Adjectives vs Adverbs

A Lot of people get confused by adverbs. Are you one of them? In this post I am going to try and explain the purpose and usage of adverbs. However, one cannot talk (or write!) about adverbs without mentioning adjectives because they do similar grammar jobs.

Grammar Tip: Adjectives vs Adverbs

Image by ArtsyBee (2015) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain


Adjectives are words that modify (describe) nouns*.

For Example: The BROKEN pencil. The OLD typewriter. Allison’s NEWEST book will be released next week.

In these examples, “broken,” “old,” and “newest” are adjectives because they modify (describe) what KIND of pencil, typewriter and book.


Adverbs are words that modify verbs, adjectives and other adverbs.

For example: Kate ran QUICKLY. The box is QUITE large. Jack writes VERY slowly.

In the above examples of adverbs, “quickly” modifies the verb ran; “quite” modifies the adjective large; and, “very” modifies the adverb “slowly.”
>A good way to pick out adverbs in a sentence is to look for “ly.” However, be careful! Some adjectives (such as lovely) end in “ly” and there are several adverbs that do not end in “ly” such as yet, too, here, quite, so, not, always, less, also, and well (as well as others).

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*For a little refresher: A noun is a person, place, thing, or idea (such as freedom, love, etc.).


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