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Which of the following is correct?

  • “The past is past.”
  • “The past is passed.”

Both seem plausible to me.

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3  
Hmm what with this community edit, I'm not sure I understand the question any more. Great question anyway. – Cerberus Apr 1 '12 at 17:37
    
I though the past was prologue. – Hot Licks Feb 3 at 2:32
up vote 1 down vote accepted

It's passed (passed by us, over, finished). It's entirely correct, although rather archaic to conjugate pass with be.

The past is passed, the future is now is apparently a quote from Joe Dirt, but it's rather like Shakespeare's Tempest:

Whereof what's past is prologue; what to come, In yours and my discharge.

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Could be past.

The past is past, the future unformed. — William Gibson (from All Tomorrow's Parties)‎

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"Passed" is the past tense form of the verb "to pass." Therefore, saying "the past is passed" is grammatically incorrect, unless you are making a passive construction (the past is passed... by some guy walking by in his memory). Instead, you need the adjectival form "past" here.

The past is past.
The past is painful.
The past is purple.
The past is preternatural.

etc...

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Oh right, because all English idioms are grammatically correct. – timothymh Feb 3 at 5:33

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