Pass Time or Past Time?

Pass Time or Past Time? What’s the Difference?(Pastime?)

Pass time and past time are very commonly confused with each other. It can be confusing trying to determine which use is correct, but with a little explanation, you won’t have any more problems!

Pass time means to spend your time doing something while past time means that something should’ve been done before. Another form that gets mixed up into the confusion is pastime, which is a word to describe an activity or hobby you do.

Pass Time

Pass time is used to describe the time that someone spends doing something. For example, when you are bored, you might pass time by scrolling through social media or playing video games.

It is important to remember that “pass time” is used as a verb. This is because pass time is describing an action that is being done. You are doing something specifically to take up time and make it go by faster.

She decided to read to pass time until she had to be at the airport.

People on a bus will try to pass time by playing games or reading the news.

We always used to talk about our day to pass time in the evening.

To pass time before the concert, the boys decided to head to the bar for a few drinks.

One of his favorite ways to pass time is by playing golf.

Past Time

Past time means that something should have been done already. The phrase is an adjective that is similar in meaning to past due. Past is acting as the adjective in the phrase to describe the time.

Where is our pizza? It is way past time for it to be here.

I turned in my final project past time, so I will lose points.

It is past time for you to be in bed.

I’ve decided it’s past time to pick a new hobby, what do you suggest?

She checked her bank account and discovered it was past time for her paycheck to deposit.

What About Pastime?

Pastime is another word that commonly gets mixed up with pass time and past time. Pastime is a noun that describes an activity or hobby that someone does outside of their working hours.

Contrary to what you might think, pastime is more closely related to pass time than past time. This is because pass time means spending time doing something and pastime is the activity one does to pass time.

America’s favorite pastime is baseball.

My friend’s favorite pastimes are fishing and hunting.

I learned that her least favorite pastime is hiking.

Learning poker is a new pastime of mine.

Remembering the Difference

All three of these phrases get confused with each other very often. It can be hard to keep them apart, but luckily this post is here to help. There is a super easy mnemonic that you can use to remember the differences between these words.

It is past time that you pass time with your pastime.

You can also remember the differences between the words by remembering what time of words they are. For example, pass time is a verb, past time is an adjective followed by a noun, and pastime is a noun.


Pass time and past time are mixed up with each other often because people aren’t aware of how they are different. After reading this article, you shouldn’t have any issue remembering which is which!

Pass time is used to describe something you are doing with your time and past time refers to something that should have been done already.