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How can I compare the current time to a time in past? Should I use past or passed? Given that the current time is 14:10, which of the following is more appropriate to use?

14:10 is passed the morning time.
14:10 is past the morning time.

14:10 is passed 14:00.
14:10 is past 14:00.

or even:

We are past 14:00
We are passed 14:00

2 Answers 2

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(1) past (plural pasts)

The period of time that has already happened, in contrast to the present and the future.

(2) past (adjective)

past (comparative more past, superlative most past)

Having already happened; in the past; finished.

(postmodifier) Following expressions of time to indicate how long ago something happened; ago.

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passed

Simple past tense and past participle of pass.

I think the best way to think about it, is that passed in the context of time is used wherever the word elapsed would be valid:

Time has passed / time has elapsed

Five minutes passed before either of us said anything.

past (except for The Past - meaning all time up until now) on the other hand is normally really a way of comparing two events, and generally means further than or later than.

It's time for bed. It's past eight o'clock!

The time now is half past three.

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  • Matt, your answer is quite good, but would be more helpful if you specifically identified the parts of speech these words can take, as you've done with the adjective form. Also, I can't come up with an example of the adjective "past" being used in either comparative or superlative form; can you? Feb 18, 2013 at 7:51
  • @ShawnMooney: comparative: *Which of these two tins of beans is more past it's sell-by date?". Superlative: "Which TV show is most past it's prime?". They're both admittedly uncommon, but they're both real.
    – Matt
    Feb 18, 2013 at 8:31
  • Great examples. I stand corrected. Feb 18, 2013 at 8:40
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Past means (among other things) "beyond in time; later than." In all your examples, you should use past.

14:10 is past the morning time.

14:10 is past 14:00.

We are past 14:00.

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