“Past Is Past” or “Past Is Passed” – Which Is Correct?

Homonyms, or words that sound the same when said out loud, are common in the English language. An example of homonyms are the words “past” and “passed”. This can serve as the basis for quite a lot of wordplay, such as in the well-known idiomatic expression “past is past”.

“Past Is Past” or “Past Is Passed” – Which Is Correct?

Both “past is past” and “past is passed” are correct. “Past is past” is a commonly used idiomatic expression which means that something that happened in the past is already in the past. “Past is passed” is a variation of the phrase that replaces the word “past” with “passed”.

Past Is Past or Past Is Passed

“[What is] past is past” is a popular idiomatic expression that dates back to the Middle Ages. It means that something that happened in the past is already in the past. The implication, thus, is that the past cannot be changed and we must move on from it.

“Past is passed” is a variation of the phrase that replaces the noun “past” with the verb “passed”.

The word “past” is a noun that refers to a period of time that has already elapsed. Meanwhile, the word “passed” is the past tense form of the root verb “pass”. It also refers to the passing of time. Specifically, time having already passed.

It is also a bit of clever wordplay because when both phrases are said out loud, you cannot tell the difference between the two. The noun “past” and the verb “passed” are homonyms, which means that they are pronounced in the exact same way.

Watch the video: Only 1 percent of ...
Watch the video: Only 1 percent of our visitors get these 3 grammar questions right...

Past Is Past

“Past is past” is an idiomatic expression that is usually said with the intent of telling another person not to dwell in the past. It means that something that happened in the past is in the past and cannot be changed.

“Past is past” is a popular idiomatic expression. It is usually preceded by the words “what is” or “the”. It is synonymous with other idiomatic expressions such as “what’s done is done”.

It is also often accompanied by sentiments of letting go of the past or moving on from the past.

Below are examples of how to use the idiomatic expression “past is past” in a sentence:

  • What’s past is past, okay?
  • Sometimes, I just really hate the fact that the past is past, you know?
  • When I met him in the cafe earlier for the first time since our break-up two years ago, I truly felt that what’s past is past between the two of us.
  • As my sister Elsa often says, what’s past is past and we should let it go.
  • I thought we agreed that what’s past is past and there are no hard feelings between us?
  • You can’t change what happened to your mother, Anna, because the past is past.
  • There is no use dwelling on the past because what is past is past and all we can do is move forward.

Past Is Passed

“Past is passed” is a variation of the idiomatic expression “past is past”. It means that what has happened in the past has already passed.

“Past” and “passed” are homonyms. The difference between the two is that one is a noun (“past”) while the other is a verb (“passed”).

When you use the words “past” and “passed” together in a sentence, it usually looks like the following example:

  • The past has already passed.

It is rare to see “is passed”, unless it functions as a variation of the well-known phrase “past is past”.

Below are examples of how to use the phrase “past is passed” in a sentence:

  • The past is passed, and we cannot get it back.
  • You will regret not having savored the moment when the past is passed.
  • Let it go, it’s in the past, and what’s past is passed.
  • The past is passed; you and I should leave it there.

Passed Is Passed

“Passed is passed” is a variant of the phrase “past is past”.

“Passed is passed” is not a phrase that you will often read in English texts. It is a variation of the more popular idiom “past is past”.

Below are examples of how to use the phrase “passed is passed” in a sentence:

  • What has passed is passed.
  • That which has already passed is passed.
  • An event in your life that has already passed is passed.

Passed Is Past

“Passed is past” is a variant of the phrase “past is past”.

The phrase “passed is past” makes use of the similar-sounding verb “passed” and noun “past” to make a variation of the expression “past is past”.

Below are examples of how to use the phrase “passed is past” in a sentence:

  • What has passed is past, my dear, so don’t dwell on it any more than you have to.
  • The time that has passed is past.
  • Time passed is in the past.

Which Is Used the Most?

According to Google Ngram Viewer, “past is past” is by far the most used phrase among the following variations of the phrase: “past is past”, “past is passed”, “passed is passed”, and “passed is past”.

We can use Google Ngram Viewer to see and compare how often particular phrases are used in a wide range of books published over a particular period of time. Based on data from books written in the English language that were published between the years 1900-2019, “past is past” is the most popular than all of its other variants (“past is past”, “past is passed”, “passed is passed”, and “passed is past”).

past is past,past is passed,passed is past,passed is passed

What is interesting is that this has been true since the year 1900. All of the other variations of “past is past” are not commonly used, especially in comparison to how frequently “past is past” is used in books written in the English language.

Final Thoughts

The phrases “past is past” and “past is passed” are both correct. “Past is passed” is a variation of the more well-known “past is past” that replaces the word “past” with the verb “passed”. Despite the change in wording, both phrases still essentially share the same meaning.

You may also like: “What’s Past Is Past” – Meaning & Correct Usage