Drove or Driven: Which Is Correct? (Helpful Examples)

When it comes to learning the past tense, some verbs give us a pretty difficult time. Take “drive,” for example. The past tense of “drive” isn’t exactly simple because we are left with both “drove” and “driven.” This article will explore both options to help you understand them.

Drove or Driven: Which Is Correct?

You should use “drove” in the past simple form, which we use to talk about things we have traveled with in the past and are no longer doing in the present. You should use “driven” in perfect tenses, where something has happened before and can still be impacted today.

Drove or Driven

The easiest way to tell them apart is by using a secondary verb, known as an auxiliary verb. You can see this in the following examples:

  • I drove to see my parents.
  • I have driven to the ends of the earth.

Including “have” as an auxiliary verb helps us to use the perfect tense. In this case, “have driven” is known as the present perfect tense, where we started our journey in the past, but we’re still impacting it in the present (if we haven’t completed it yet, or we’ve just reached our destination).

Past ParticipleDriven

When Is “Drove” Correct?

First, let’s look at when the past simple form is correct.

“Drove” is correct when we simply want to say that we have driven somewhere in the past tense. It means that it’s already been and gone, and there’s nothing else we can do about it.

It’s the simplest past tense form of “drive,” which makes it a much easier form to use.

Example Sentences Using “Drove”

You can see how the past simple form of “drive” works with these examples:

  1. I drove to see you, but you weren’t there.
  2. She drove all day and night for you.
  3. He drove to the hospital last night.
  4. We drove to the park, but no one was around.
  5. They drove all day long, but they ran out of gas.
  6. We drove back to where we came from.
  7. I drove to my old house, and it brought back so many memories.
  8. We drove together all day long, and it was the most fun I ever had.

“Drove” is the past simple form of “drive.” We use it to talk about a journey (most often by car) that we’ve taken in the past.

When Is “Driven” Correct?

“Driven” is a little more complicated because it introduces the perfect tense. There are three tenses that use the perfect tense, and it helps to know them all.

“Driven” is correct in the past, present, and future perfect tenses. Each of these tenses requires an auxiliary verb to talk about something that has started happening in the past and is still happening in the present in some way.

Example sentences using “Driven”

We’re going to split each perfect tense into a different section and include examples for each. That way, you’ll have a much better understanding of what each perfect tense is supposed to look like.

Past Perfect

  1. I had driven there long ago, but I didn’t go back.
  2. I had driven my car for about three years, but I knew it was time to give it up.
  3. We had driven back and forth for hours, but the journey had come to an end.

The past perfect tense is similar to the simple past tense. We use “had” as the auxiliary to show that something has happened in the past, and we use “driven” with it to imply there’s nothing we can do to impact something that happened in the past that stopped us from driving.

Present Perfect

  1. I have driven to work every day for as long as I can remember.
  2. We have driven back to the countryside to visit the sights.
  3. They have driven all throughout the night, and you could be courteous of that.

The present perfect tense uses the auxiliary verb “have” to show that someone started driving in the past and is still doing so currently or that it’s possible to affect their “driving” at the present time.

Future Perfect

  1. I will have driven for sixteen miles if I get there.
  2. She will have driven for longer than she would have liked if you let her do this alone!
  3. They will have driven for an entire day just to see you!

The future perfect tense uses “will have” to introduce something that has started happening and will continue to happen in the future.

How “Driven” can also be used as an adjective

You can use “driven” as an adjective when talking about someone who has a desire or drive to succeed. It has no relation to driving in a car to get from one place to another and works instead to show that they’ve got a successful attitude.

Example sentences using “Driven” as an adjective

Some examples of “driven” in the adjective form will help you to understand how it works better.

  1. We are both driven, and we’re certain that we’re going to succeed if you just give us a chance.
  2. He’s not driven enough to complete this task. Please find a way to help him before it’s too late.
  3. I’m driven, and I know I can get to the end of this project before anyone else!

“Have Drove” Vs. “Have Driven”

“Have driven” is the correct form to use when writing in the present perfect tense. We use it to show that someone has started driving in the past and continues to drive in the present. “Have drove” is a misuse of the past tense form and should not be used.

  • Correct:I have driven for days to get here!
  • Incorrect:I have drove for miles to see you!

“Drove” only works without an auxiliary verb because it is the simple past tense.

You may also like: “I Have Gotten” or “I Have Got?” Difference Explained (Helpful Examples)

Final Thoughts

“Driven” and “drove” are too separate past tense forms. “Driven” is much more complicated because it introduces the past, present, and future perfect tenses. We need auxiliary verbs like “have” to help us with it. “Drove” is the simpler form of the two, with no extra verbs needed.