We work in an office and love to have questions about grammar. We are stumped on this one! Which sentence is correct and more important, why?
Please do not fill the glass pass half.
Please do not fill the glass past half.
My boss thinks the correct answer is"pass" and I think it is "past." I know it has to do with a verb. I use the following example to explain my theory.
The car went past me.
The car went pass me.
I am thinking because of the verb “went” we would use past in this case.
We leave it in your hands. Who knows, maybe I will get a raise!
Well, Cheryl, I hope you do get a raise, because you're right.
"Pass" can be either a verb or a noun: "Do not pass the problem on to me." "We crossed the mountain pass in a blizzard."
"Past" can be an adjective ("I fondly recall past family dinners"), a noun ("The past is over and done with"), an adverb ("She ran past"), or a preposition meaning "beyond"—and this is where your example comes in. "Do not fill the glass past half" is the same as "Do not fill the glass beyond half."
As a preposition, "past" also applies in cases like time ("It's half-past two"), space ("I walked past the office"), influence ("I'm past caring about the problem"), and amount or degree ("He can't count past ten without taking off his shoes").
I notice that some students confuse "past" and "passed." I can see why: many English verbs used to form the past tense by adding t, and some of us still use those forms. For example:
No doubt at some point "correct" English required us to write: "I past the problem on to him." But at some later point, "passed" became the, um, past tense, and "past" became all those various parts of speech.