| | | |

Past Tense of Keep

The English verb “keep” is a crucial one for learners to master since it is among the most frequently used, and also has a wide range of definitions and applications, particularly within phrasal verbs.

The past tense of “keep” is “kept”, and its past participle is also “kept”.

The main definitions of the word include to keep having or holding something without giving it away or returning it, as well as to not lose, sell, return or throw something away.

What is the past tense of “keep”?

Keep (verb):

InfinitiveSimple PastPast Participle
to keepkeptkept

(1) To keep having or holding on to something; to continue doing something

(2) To have something without giving it away, returning, selling, losing, or throwing away

  • Infinitive                       to keep
  • Simple Past                 kept
  • Past Participle             kept

Conjugation Table of “keep”

 PronounInfinitiveSimple PastPresent PerfectPresent Continuous
Ikeepkepthave keptam keeping
You (sing.)keepkepthave keptare keeping
He/She/Itkeepskepthas keptis keeping
Wekeepkepthave keptare keeping
You (pl.)keepkepthave keptare keeping
Theykeepkepthave keptare keeping

Example Sentences of “keep”

(1) To keep having or holding on to something; to continue doing something

  • Could you keep hold of my bag while I go to the bathroom? Thank you
  • You can keep that pen, I don’t need it anymore
  • Can he keep this secret?

(2) To have something without giving it away, returning, selling, losing, or throwing away

  • I can’t believe that he kept her letter for all these years
  • They kept the gifts they were given and treasured them

Focus: Past Tense of Keep

“Keep” is one of those words in English that can seem quite simple on the surface, but when you dig a little deeper you discover it has more complex uses, especially when used as part of a phrasal verb, such as “keep up” or “keep in with”. Below we’ve prepared some example sentences to show the range of ways the past tense of keep can be used. We’ve utilized the following tenses:

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

Simple Past of “keep”

  • He kept his promise to his mother, eventually becoming a successful surgeon
  • They kept their wine in a magnificent temperature-controlled cellar under the house
  • I kept the letters in my writing desk, but that desk was unfortunately lost in the fire

Present Perfect of “keep”

  • As a spy, she has kept many secrets in her life
  • You have kept up with all your homework and assignments, even while ill. How diligent!
  • They have kept the dog in that kennel for too long! No wonder it can’t socialize with other dogs

Past Continuous of “keep”

  • I was keeping my clothes in the left-hand cupboard, but  now we need that space
  • They were keeping me up at night with all their noise, so in the end we had to move
  • You were keeping me in the dark about these financial difficulties, weren’t you?

Past Perfect of “keep”

  • We had kept the secret so well until Theresa opened her big mouth at the bar last night
  • You had kept such an excellent record until that incident. What a pity!

Understanding the Verb “Keep”

Derived from the Old English “cēpan,” meaning “to seize or hold,” “keep” is multifaceted, indicating retention, possession, or maintenance of a particular state.

Phrasal Verbs with “Keep”

“Keep” is foundational to various phrasal verbs:

  • Keep on: To continue doing something.
    • If you keep on practicing, you’ll get better.
    • She kept on talking even after the meeting ended.
  • Keep up: To maintain pace or to stay informed.
    • I can’t keep up with all the latest tech trends.
    • He kept up with the leading runner in the marathon.
  • Keep away: To prevent someone from approaching or handling something.
    • Keep away from the broken glass.
    • I try to keep the kids away from sugary snacks.

Common Mistakes

  • Here are some common blunders associated with “keep”:
  • Incorrect: I keeped the book you lent me.

Correct: I kept the book you lent me.

  • Incorrect: He keeps study every day.
  • Correct: He keeps studying every day.

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

You can check other past tense words and our past tense resources by clicking on the links in the table below and in the resource list below that.

Table 2: Table of Links for irregular Past Tense Verbs

learn keepfindbe

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

Similar Posts

Always welcome thoughts and comments, new blogs can be lonely!!