Both past and passed can be used of motion and time. The word past can be used as an adjective, a preposition, a noun, or an adverb. The word passed is the past tense of the verb pass. Both words have many uses.
When past is used as an adjective it refers to a time gone by or something from, done, or used in an earlier time. Below are some examples of past used as an adjective.
- She was good at her job because of her past experience.
- I just saw my parents this past weekend.
- He is a past [=former] member of the club.
- It hasn’t been this warm in past years.
When past is used as a preposition it means “beyond (a particular place)” or “up to and beyond (a person or place)” or “later than (a time).” Below are some examples of past used as a preposition.
- We walked past the post office on our way home.
- Her house is a mile past the school.
- He looked past me and saw his friend approaching us.
- It was past 5:00 pm when we left.
- I think that sauce is past its expiration date.
When past is used as a noun it refers to an earlier time. Below are some examples of past used as a noun.
- She was living in the past and couldn’t move on.
- We had such happy memories of the past.
- They have an interesting past.
When past is used as an adverb it means “to and beyond a certain point or time.” Below are some examples of past used as an adverb.
- We drove past too quickly to see if they were home.
- Three bunnies hopped past energetically.
- A year went past before I heard from my sister.
The word passed is the past tense of the verb pass which means “to move through or into a place or a time” or “to let a period of time go by” or “to go from one person or place to another” or “to happen or take place.” Below are some examples of how passed is used.
- We passed [=moved past] our friends in the hall.
- Time passed slowly while we were waiting to see the doctor.
- The ships passed each other in the night.
- Fear and panic passed through the crowd.
- The rumor quickly passed from student to student.
- They passed the time by playing games.
- The meeting passed without incident.
Pass and passed have many uses that have to do with motion and time. Past can also refer to motion or time.