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What is The Past Tense of Drive

The verb “drive” in English is an important one for talking about movement. It most commonly is used to refer to the action of operating motor vehicles (except motorcycles, which typically use ‘ride’ as their verb).

However, it can also be used to refer to the action of certain forces propelling or carrying something along in a given direction. The past tense of “drive” is ‘drove’ and the past participle is ‘driven.’

What is the past tense of “drive”?

Drive (verb):

(1) To operate and control a motor vehicle, in particular its direction and speed

(2) To push, propel, or carry using physical force; to push or compel someone to act in a certain way

  • Infinitive                      to drive
  • Simple Past                 drove
  • Past Participle             driven

Conjugation Table past tense to drive

 PronounInfinitiveSimple PastPresent PerfectPresent Continuous
Idrivedrovehave drivenam driving
You (sing.)drivedrovehave drivenare driving
He/She/Itdrivesdrovehas drivenis driving
Wedrivedrovehave drivenare driving
You (pl.)drivedrovehave drivenare driving
Theydrivedrovehave drivenare driving

Example Sentences Past tense to drive

(1) To operate and control a motor vehicle, in particular its direction and speed

  • We drove from Boston to Portland and the scenery was just beautiful
  • I drive to work every single day but usually can avoid traffic jams
  • He was driving on the wrong side of the road, which is why the accident occurred

(2) To push, propel, or carry using physical force; to push or compel someone to act in a certain way

  • The wind drove the beach-goers back to their cars for the day
  • She was driven to madness by all the difficulties in her life
  • The kids are driving us crazy at home, so we’re planning to send them to summer camp
What is the past tense of “drive”

Focus: Past Tense of Drive

The above examples demonstrate quite well just how versatile the verb “drive” can be. However, given that the verb changes its form quite radically depending on the tense, it’s important to spend some time focusing on its past-tense forms and seeing how they are used.

Below we’ve prepared some example sentences that make use of a number of different past-tense forms for “drive” including:

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

Simple Past: to drive

  • It’s a very reliable car, and I drove it for many years without any issues
  • Our bad behavior is definitely what drove the teacher to become so angry
  • We decided that it would be better if we drove there instead of taking the train

Present Perfect: to drive

  • He has driven me insane over this past week! Please tell him to stop
  • You have driven hundreds of miles today already, so perhaps we should take a break
  • They have driven this route many times, so they are very familiar with it

Past Continuous: to drive

  • We were driving down Route 66 when we suddenly saw a wild deer in the road
  • The intense sun was driving us back towards the shaded areas, it was so hot

Past Perfect: to drive

  • The wind had already driven us back inside before you arrived
  • We had driven half way to London before we realized we forgot the Christmas presents

Understanding the Verb “Drive”

Originating from the Old English “drīfan,” meaning “to drive, push,” it implies controlling and steering a vehicle or pushing forward an idea or initiative.

Phrasal Verbs with “Drive”

“Drive” anchors numerous phrasal verbs:

  • Drive away: To force to leave or to depart by car.
    • She drove the stray dogs away.
    • He drove away in a hurry.
  • Drive up: To approach or arrive in a vehicle or to cause an increase.
    • She drove up to the mansion in a fancy car.
    • The announcement drove up the company’s stock prices.
  • Drive out: To force to leave or expel.
    • They tried to drive out the invaders.
    • We need to drive out corruption.

Common Mistakes

Watch out for these errors with “drive”:

  • Incorrect: He drives to work tomorrow.
  • Correct: He will drive to work tomorrow.
  • Incorrect: They has driven over 100 miles.
  • Correct: They have driven over 100 miles.

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

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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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