Which of the following is correct?

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

Both seem plausible to me.

  • 3
    Hmm what with this community edit, I'm not sure I understand the question any more. Great question anyway. Apr 1, 2012 at 17:37
  • I though the past was prologue.
    – Hot Licks
    Feb 3, 2016 at 2:32

4 Answers 4


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.


Could be past.

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


'Saying "the past is passed" is grammatically incorrect, unless you are making a passive construction.'


The threshold is exceeded. Whatever needed to be kept within the threshold has exceeded the threshold.

The deadline is passed. Whatever needed to be ready by the deadline has passed the deadline.

Although I'm not sure that caters for tautological nonsense like "the past is past".

  • Can you please edit this post with more information? You do not provide any support for your claims, nor do you fully explain them. Support, preferably with links, will prevent your question from being down-voted.
    – Hank
    Feb 1, 2017 at 15:03

"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.


  • Oh right, because all English idioms are grammatically correct.
    – Tuesday
    Feb 3, 2016 at 5:33

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