Past vs Past Participle
Past and Past participle are two grammatical forms that show difference between them in usage. Past is used for one particular purpose while the past participle is used for another. What they both have in common is that both of them affect the verb. In English, the verb has three forms; present, past, and the past participle. For regular verbs, both past and the past participle are the same. However, for irregular verbs the past and past participle of the verbs differ. That is why it is necessary to study the past and past participle forms of the verbs by heart.
What is Past?
Past is sometimes referred to as simple past as in the sentences given below:
I gave a book to Francis.
He looked at her friend.
In both the sentences given above, simple past tense is used. Past tense indicates the completed nature of an action. In the first sentence, the action of giving is completed when somebody said ‘I gave a book to Francis’. The action took place some time ago. In the second sentence, you can see that the action of looking was over when somebody said ‘He looked at her friend’. The action of looking took place some time ago.
What is Past Participle?
On the other hand, past participle is a grammatical form of a verb when a perfect tense is used. This perfect tense could be present perfect, past perfect or future perfect. Observe the sentences given below:
I sing a song daily.
He sang a song last night.
He had sung a song that day.
In the first sentence, present tense is used and the verb in the present tense form is used. In the second sentence, past tense is used and the verb in the past tense form ‘sang’ is used. In the third sentence, past perfect tense is used and the verb in the past perfect tense ‘sung’ is used. In other words, the form ‘sung’ is the past participle form of the verb ‘sing’. This is the difference between the past tense and the past participle. Let us see another example of the verb ‘drink’ in the following sentences:
He drinks milk every day.
She drank the lemonade.
She had drunk the milk mixed with honey.
In the sentences mentioned above, the second sentence has the application of past tense in the verb ‘drank’, whereas the third sentence has the application of past participle form of ‘drink’, namely, ‘drunk’. From these examples, it becomes very clear that is past participle form of the verb is used with perfect tenses.
A very important use of the past participle is how it is used in passive sentences. Without the past participle we cannot build even one passive sentence. The formation of passive voice verb is as follows.
Be (in the given tense of the active voice sentence) + past participle of the given verb
- I brought some books. (past tense)
Some books were brought by me.
- She drinks milk. (present tense)
Milk is drunk by her.
- He will buy some apples. (future tense)
Some apples will be bought by him.
In all these examples, you can see how every tense needs past participle to form passive verb. The past participle is also used in the third conditional. Look at the following example.
If I had seen her I would have called her.
What is the difference between Past and Past Participle?
• Past is sometimes referred to as simple past.
• On the other hand, past participle is a grammatical form of a verb when a perfect tense is used.
• Past participle is used in passive voice sentences.
• Past participle is also used in the third conditional.