The Past Tense of “Go”| Explained
  • 3-minute read
  • 26th September 2023

The Past Tense of “Go”| Explained

Have you ever pondered the past tense of the verb “go”? Well, you’re not alone! English learners often struggle when forming the past tense of irregular verbs, such as “go.” This post will explain how to form the past tense of “go” and explore its various uses.

“Go” has two past forms: “went” and “gone.” We’ll show you when to use each, so let’s dive in!

“Went” Explained

The most common past tense form of “go” is “went.” We use this simple past tense in straightforward narratives or descriptions of actions that occurred in the past. For example:

I went to the store yesterday.

She went on vacation last month.

They went to the theater last night.

You can use “went” for completed and repeated actions that happened in the past.

I went to the beach yesterday. (Completed action)

I went to the beach every day while living in California. (Repeated action)

“Went” is your go-to choice when describing a simple past action.

“Gone” Explained

Now, things get more interesting when we use the past participle of “go.” “Gone” is used in conjunction with auxiliary verbs like “have” or “had” to form complex verb tenses. We use it in the present or past perfect tense. Understanding the perfect tense can be challenging for some English learners, especially those who don’t use it often in their native language. Here are some examples of the use of “gone”:

She has gone to the doctor. (Present perfect)

They had gone to the beach before the rain started. (Past perfect)

Lucy will have gone to the movies by the time you come home. (Future perfect)

You could have gone to England. (Modal auxiliary)

In these examples, “gone” is used to show that the action of going occurred before – or in relation to – another event in the past. A hypothetical idea in the past is presented in the modal auxiliary example.

The tricky part is knowing when to use “has” or “have” in the perfect tense. On the other hand, “had” stays the same in the past perfect tense!

“Gone” is also used to indicate that someone has left or is no longer present.

I’ve gone.

He’s gone.

As you can see, there’s no indication of where the person went. Sometimes, this confuses English learners, who might wonder, “Where’s the person now?” They just need clarification that the person has left and won’t return.

When to Use “Went” and “Gone”

Understanding which past form of “go” to use can be tricky, but here’s a general guideline to help you:

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●  Use “went” when referring to simple, past actions.

●  Use “gone” when you need the past participle form for perfect tenses.

●  Use “gone” when talking about someone who’s left

Remember that “gone” is often paired with auxiliary verbs, indicating a connection to another event or time frame in the past. If you’re uncertain, it’s best to stick with “went” for the simple past tense.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

I have went to the party.

This is incorrect. The correct form is:

I have gone to the party.
She had went home before I arrived.

The correct from is:

She had gone home before I arrived.


Remember that “go” has two principal past tense forms: “went” and “gone.” We use “went” for simple past actions and “gone” with auxiliary verbs to form perfect tenses. Knowing when to use each form will enhance your English grammar skills and make your writing more precise. So the next time you wonder about the past tense of “go,” you’ll be confident in your choice.

If you’re working on an essay that involves the past tense of “go,” we strongly advise proofreading it once it’s finished. Proofreading can be challenging, so we recommend asking our proofreading experts to review your writing. They will ensure perfect grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Additionally, they can check that you’ve used the correct past tense of “go.” Consider submitting a 500-word document for free!

 Happy learning and happy writing!

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