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There are a few questions about past vs. passed, but it seems to me that this is very much a subtle matter, where small changes can change the answer, so here is yet another one.

If you were to say, "Go past/passed the store, then take a left.", would it be past or passed?

A friend of mine insists that it is passed, but I disagree. She is so convinced that it is passed that she believes I am being willfully ignorant. I am not an expert in the English language, so it's possible that I'm wrong, but it would be a surprise to me if I were. So, StackExchange, what's the verdict? Who's right?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 15 down vote accepted

Past, rather than passed, is certainly what is needed here, but it’s not, as others have said, an adverb when used in this way. It’s a preposition having the store as its complement.

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Ah yes, you are correct. –  Phoenix Dec 11 '11 at 20:43
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Past definition 13 (adverb): So as to pass by or beyond.

For passed to be the correct word, you would need to say something like this:

I passed the store, then turned left.

But this:

Go past the store, then turn left.

is undoubtedly correct.

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It's past; it's being used as a preposition in your example. Passed is a verb (usually).

Here's an example using each one:

  • We went past the mall on the way to the store.
  • We passed the mall on the way to the store.
  • You should go ahead and pass the slow car.
  • You should go ahead and go past the slow car.
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protected by RegDwigнt Mar 10 '13 at 22:05

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