Difference Between Pass and Past

Pass vs Past

Pass and past are words in English language that pose a problem of incorrect usage to people whose mother tongue is not English, or not too familiar with the language. While past clearly refers to the time gone by and tells us about something that has already happened, pass is a verb that refers to a person or object passing by something or somebody. However, despite such clear demarcation, there are situations where it seems either of the two terms can be used in a sentence which is a confusing state. This article tries to differentiate between the two words, to make it simpler for the readers.

Past is a point in time that has happened in a point of time, while passed is an action verb that describes the act of going passed someone or something. However, there are many other uses of passé as will be clear after reading these sentences.

He passed out after his sixth drink.

He passed away after suffering a major heart attack.

A white BMW passed past me while I was on the road.

In the first sentence, a person is being described who loses his sense after consuming excessive alcohol. In the second sentence, there is a reference to the death of a person because of a disease while, in the third sentence, a person is telling how a white car overtook him on the road.

Let us now take a look at the other term past. This is a word that refers to a time that has already passed or happened like when an adult person talks or reminisces about his childhood events. However, there is nothing to suggest that one can talk about events that took place years ago as anything happening only moments before also classifies as past.


When talking about the difference between pass and past, the following sentences beautifully exemplify how the two words can be used side by side in a sentence.

Sachin was clearly past his prime when he passed the age of 35.

Sachin, when he passed 200 runs in a match went past Saeed Anwar’s record of 194 in a match.