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What Is The Past Tense of Sink

Sink is a very versatile verb in English, and can be used to mean a number of different things. Broadly speaking, the word “sink” refers to the downward movement of something from a higher position to a lower one, and is very often associated with objects moving through water.

The simple past tense of “sink” is “sank” and the past participle is “sunk.”

What is the past tense of “sink”?

Sink (verb):

(1) To become submerged; to move down below the surface of something, especially a liquid such as water; cause an object to move in this way

(2) To drop down or descend

  • Infinitive                       to sink
  • Simple Past                sank
  • Past Participle             sunk

Conjugation Table of “sink”

 PronounInfinitiveSimple PastPresent PerfectPresent Continuous
Isinksankhave sunkam sinking
You (sing.)sinksankhave sunkare sinking
He/She/Itsinkssankhas sunkis sinking
Wesinksankhave sunkare sinking
You (pl.)sinksankhave sunkare sinking
Theysinksankhave sunkare sinking

Example Sentences of “sink”

(1) To become submerged; to move down below the surface of something, especially a liquid such as water; cause an object to move in this way

  • The Titanic sank after hitting an iceberg in the North Atlantic
  • A torpedo from HMS Conqueror sank the Argentine cruiser General Belgrano in 1982
  • Dense and heavy objects will sink if you place them in water, whereas lighter objects tend to float

(2) To drop down or descend

  • The stock market sank to a new low today after economic chaos gripped the nation
  • I love watching the sun sink below the horizon at the end of the day
  • He watched with joy as his golf ball sank into the hole

Focus: Past Tense of Sink

To offer more insight into the use of “sink” in all its past-tense forms, we’ve prepared the following sets of example sentences. The following tenses will be used to demonstrate the range of how we can use “sink” to talk about past events:

  • Simple past
  • Present perfect
  • Past continuous
  • Past perfect

Simple Past of “sink”

  • A freak wave sank the fishing boat off the coast of Kent, but luckily the crew escaped unharmed
  • My heart sank when I received news about my not getting into Oxford University
  • The value of my favorite painting sank when it was discovered that it was a fake

Present Perfect of “sink”

  • We have sunk about half of the enemy ships, but the rest are retreating
  • They have sunk millions of dollars into this project already, we can’t ask them for more

Past Continuous of “sink”

  • I saw with my own eyes that the ocean liner was sinking
  • The market price was sinking all day, but then rallied in the later afternoon
  • The lion was sinking its teeth into the gazelles leg when suddenly the latter kicked the lion square in the face

Past Perfect of “sink”

  • The German super battleship Bismarck was eventually sunk in the North Sea in May, 1941.
  • Our hopes were sunk when we heard that our parent company had gone bankrupt.

Understanding the Verb “Sink”

“Sink” is derived from the Old English “sincan,” meaning to go down or submerge. It can imply literal submersion or a decline in quantity or strength.

Phrasal Verbs with “Sink”

  1. Sink in: To be fully understood or realized.
    • It took a while for the news to sink in.
    • I read the letter several times before its meaning sank in.
  2. Sink back: To move back into a relaxed or resting position.
    • She sank back into the comfortable chair.
    • After hearing the news, he sank back in disbelief.
  3. Sink down: To descend or lower oneself.
    • He sank down into the soft bed.
    • She felt so tired she could just sink down and sleep.

Common Mistakes with “Sink”

  • Incorrect: The boat has sank.
  • Correct: The boat has sunk.
  • Incorrect: She sinked into despair.
  • Correct: She sank into despair.

You can check other past tense words by clicking on the links in the table below.

We also have a full list of irregular verbs from A – Z on the site which you can access from the link here.

Table 2: Table of Links for irregular Past Tense Verbs

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We also have articles and worksheets which we will link examples of below, and if you need more you can try the search box.

I have been a teacher of English for over 15 years, in that time i made hundreds and thousands of resources and learnt so much i think its worth sharing. Hopefully to help teachers and parents around the world.

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