Froze or Frozen? Past Tense Of “Freeze” (Helpful Examples)

The past tense of the verb “to freeze” has two different variations: “froze”, and “frozen”. This sounds simple, but figuring out which one you have to use can often be a little tricky. If this is something that you struggle with, don’t worry! In this article, we’ll be going over these two past tenses of “freeze” and explaining you which one to use in different contexts.

Froze or Frozen: Which is Correct?

Froze and frozen are both correct forms of the verb “to freeze”. However, you use them in different contexts. Froze is a preterit, which means it can’t be used as an adjective. Frozen is a past participle, which can be used as an adjective, or together with another verb.

Froze or Frozen: Which is Correct?

Struggling to understand when you use either of them? Here are a few examples which will give you a better idea:

  • Last night, the lake froze because it was very cold.
  • The lake has frozen over this winter.

Both sentences sound like they convey similar meanings. And they do, which is what makes things so confusing! However, they do convey slighltly different nuances, which we’ll explore later on in this article, so keep reading!

Past ParticipleFrozen

When Is “Froze” Correct?

“Froze” is correct when you’re talking about the past, and not when using it as an adjective. As a preterit, froze is not used together with a modal verb like “to have”. So you can’t say “The water has froze”. However, what you can say is “the water froze”.

Still not sure what we mean by that? Here’s a little bit of extra context. You use “froze” to talk about something that happened in the past, but doesn’t have relevance today. For example, “the lake froze 300 years ago”, or “the lake froze last night”. However, you use frozen to talk about something that happened in the past that still has an effect on the world today. For example “The lake has frozen over, we can finally go ice skating on it this year”. If you’re describing something that happened only once, or which isn’t ongoing, you should use the verb form “froze”.

Example Sentences Using “Froze”

  • I nearly froze to death last night, it was so cold outside!
  • My phone froze, I think it may be some kind of a bug.
  • He froze when he heard the bad news she had to give him.
  • She saw that the water on her windshield froze outside.
  • Richard froze up when he had to give a presentation in front of the whole class.
  • My fingers froze while I was playing hockey yesterday because I wasn’t wearing any gloves.

When Is “Frozen” Correct?

Frozen is correct in a few different contexts. For example, it can be used as an adjective. It can also be used together with the verb “to have”. For example, you can say “The water has frozen”, and even “the water had frozen” when talking about the distant past.

When you use “frozen” together with another verb like “to have”, it is called a past participle. Past participles are very useful. They allow us to talk about things that have happened in the past and that still have relevance in the present moment. For example “I have frozen a piece of pizza dough so I can use it in a month”.

You can also use “frozen” with the past form of the verb “to have”: “had”. Saying something “had frozen” implies that it was frozen at some point, but is no longer frozen now. So you might say, for example “the lake had frozen last winter, but this summer, there aren’t any traces of ice left in it”.

Example Sentences Using “Frozen”

  • The ground has frozen over during the winter.
  • Matthew had frozen up yesterday, when asked to give a performance in front of the crowd.
  • My computer screen has frozen due to a virus.
  • My toes had frozen so bad the past winter, but this time around I’ve got warm socks.
  • The meal she had planned was frozen, so she had to reheat it first.
  • She took the frozen bird home with her to try and revive it.

How “Frozen” Can Be Used As An Adjective

Frozen is not just a verb form, but also an adjective. You can say that something is “frozen” without using it as a verb. Instead, you use it as a descriptive word to give more details about the status of a noun. For example, when you say “the frozen pizza we had last night was very tasty”.

Like any adjective, frozen can be used to complete other adjectives. For example, you could say “the ground was frozen, hard, and black”. Or “the pizza was frozen, cheap, and tasty”.

You can also modify the adjective “frozen” by adding certain particles to it, or using an adverb. Something can be “half-frozen”, “fully frozen”, “completely frozen”, “partially frozen”, and even “badly frozen” or “horribly frozen”.

This is not something you’re allowed to do with the word “froze”, because it isn’t an adjective.

Example Sentences Using “Frozen” As An Adjective

  • The frozen meal had to be reheated before we could enjoy it.
  • My fingers were half-frozen from the cold by the time we got back home.
  • The frozen flowers looked very poetic under the moonlight.

“Have Froze” vs “Have Frozen”

Simply put, “have froze” is never correct. That’s because froze is a preterit, and should never be used alongside a verb like “have”. So instead of saying “I have froze some sauce to use at a later date”, say “I have frozen some sauce to use at a later date”.

It’s simple, if you’re going to use the verb “have” right before “froze”, you’ll want to use “frozen” instead.

Final Thoughts

The forms “froze” and “frozen” can both be correct, but they’re used in different contexts. You never use “froze” with a verb like “have” or “is”, but you always use “frozen” with a verb like “have” or “is” (unless it’s being used as an adjective).

To figure out which one you need to use, ask yourself whether you are using one of these modal verbs. If the answer is yes, go for “frozen”. If the answer is no, go for “freeze” instead. And if what you need in your sentence is a descriptive word, an adjective, then by all means go for “frozen”.

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