Passed or past?

Passed or pastThe word past, unlike passed, has many different functions. It can be an adjective, noun, adverb and preposition:

That approach hasn’t worked in the past
The man rushed past her
He saw a car going past
She is a past president

The word passed is the past tense of the verb to pass:
I pass (present tense)
I passed (past tense)
I have passed (past tense)
I will pass (future tense)

Main point of confusion

Passed and past are mainly misused when describing movement. If you’ve used a verb indicating motion already, then it will be partnered with past and not passed, otherwise there would be two ‘movement’ verbs in the sentence.

You wouldn’t say ‘I pushed passed him’ – it should be:

I pushed past him
The plane flew past
I passed the café
He passed me during practice

Past is never a verb, so if you know that the word you want is a verb, passed is correct. Conversely, if you need a noun, adjective, adverb, or preposition, it’s got to be past.

As a rule of thumb, passed rarely follows is and past rarely follows has.