What’s the Past Tense of Drink: A Simple Guide to English Verbs

  • Drank” is the past tense of “drink,” used for actions completed in the past.
  • Drunk” is the past participle form, combined with an auxiliary for perfect tenses.
  • Correct usage of “drink,” “drank,” and “drunk” is essential for clear communication.

The past participle form of “drink” is “drunk,” which is used with auxiliary verbs to create the perfect tenses. For instance, one might say, “He had drunk the entire bottle before we arrived.” It’s important to distinguish between the simple past and the past participle to use the verb “drink” correctly in various tenses. The correct usage is essential not only in writing but also in everyday conversation, as it conveys the sequence of events and states of being.

What’s the Past Tense of Drink? Drink, Drank, or Drunk?

Drink is one such verb, with distinct forms for past events and actions. Understanding the difference between “drink,” “drank,” and “drunk” is essential for proper grammar.

The Short Answer—To Drink:

Verb FormUsage
DrinkBase form, used for the present tense
DrankSimple past tense
DrunkPast participle

To drink is the base form of the verb, used for present tense. When discussing events in the past, drank and drunk come into play, but they serve different purposes within the context of a sentence.

  • “I drink water daily.” refers to a regular action in the present.
  • “Yesterday, I drank a cup of tea.” indicates a completed action in the past.
  • “I have drunk three cups of coffee today.” is used when the past action has relevance to the present.

Drank is what most people need when they’re looking for the straightforward past tense form. It indicates an action that occurred in the past and was completed in the past.

How to Use the Past Tense of Drink?

TenseExample Sentence
Past SimpleShe drank her smoothie quickly due to the heat.
Present PerfectThey have drunk all the soda that was in the fridge.

In sentences, the past simple tense “drank” is used to describe actions that have no direct connection to the present moment:

  • She drank her milk without complaint.
  • They drank coffee while waiting for the store to open.
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The past participle “drunk” is employed when creating perfect tenses, requiring the helping verbs “has,” “have,” or “had”:

  • He has drunk more water today than yesterday.
  • She had drunk the last of the juice before anyone else got up.

Examples of the Word Drink Used in Sentences:

Below are sentences showcasing the use of “drink” in its various forms. Pay attention to the tense used in each sentence, as it determines the form of the verb “drink.”

Present Tense:

  • He drinks water every morning.
  • She does not drink coffee after 6 PM.

Past Tense:

  • He drank a glass of juice yesterday.
  • They didn’t drink any soda at the party.

Past Participle:

  • She has already drunk her tea.
  • It seems they have drunk the whole bottle.

Present Continuous:

  • He is drinking water because he is thirsty.
  • They are drinking tea while watching the sunset.

In the following tables, note how the verb “drink” is utilized in various sentence structures and tenses.

Table 1: Simple Tenses

TensePositive SentenceNegative Sentence
Simple PresentShe drinks tea at breakfast.He does not drink milk.
Simple PastI drank a smoothie after the run.They did not drink the lemonade.
Simple FutureShe will drink water after her workout.They will not drink soda tonight.

Table 2: Perfect and Continuous Tenses

TensePerfect SentenceContinuous Sentence
Present PerfectHe has drunk three cups of coffee today.She has been drinking water all morning.
Past PerfectThey had drunk the whole pot before noon.He had been drinking tea before we arrived.
Future PerfectShe will have drunk the whole pitcher by then.They will be drinking iced tea at the meeting.

In sentences expressing habitual or regular actions, the present simple tense is typically used, as in “He drinks water every day.” For actions that occurred at a specific time in the past and are finished, the past simple tense is appropriate: “She drank a cup of water.” The past participle, “drunk,” is used in perfect tenses to indicate actions that have been completed at the time of speaking or influence the present moment, like “They have drunk the water provided.”

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To show actions in progress at the moment of speaking or around the current time, the present continuous tense is used: “She is drinking water right now.” The nuances of each tense highlight different aspects of the action of drinking and understanding the use of “drink” in context is essential for mastering English verb conjugation.

Examples of the Word Drank Used in Sentences:

The word “drank” is the simple past tense form of “drink,” and it is used to describe the action of drinking in the past. Below are examples highlighting the use of “drank” in sentences, which will provide clarity on its proper usage.

The Simple Past Tense:

  • Yesterday, she drank water after her workout.
  • They drank tea while discussing the book.

Past Perfect Tense:

  • Before the guests arrived, the hosts had already drank a bottle of wine.
  • He hadn’t drank coffee, so he was still sleepy.

The following tables present sentences where “drank” appears in various contexts:

Shedrank her juice quickly at breakfast.
The childrendrank their milkshakes with glee.

The second table demonstrates the use of “drank” in more complex sentences:

ContextExample Sentence
Negative FormShe hadn’t drank any water all day and felt dehydrated.
Question FormDid you remember if they drank the punch at the party?


  • After the game, the team drank from the victory cup.
  • In the past, people often drank from wells or streams.
  • He drank his soda too fast and got hiccups.

Examples of the Word Drunk Used in Sentences:

Here are diverse examples demonstrating “drunk” in action:

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Simple Past Perfect:

  • She had already drunk her coffee when he arrived.
  • They hadn’t drunk anything since morning.

Present Perfect:

  • He has never drunk a drop of alcohol in his life.
  • They have drunk from the fountain of knowledge.

In each case, “drunk” is used after the auxiliary verb “have,” adhering to its role as a past participle.

Past Participle in Passive VoiceExample Sentence
Subject + is/are/was/were + drunkThe water was drunk rapidly by the athletes.
 The message is often drunk in through various media.

In passive voice constructions, “drunk” illustrates the action of drinking as something that has been completed upon the subject.

Using “Drunk” in Modal Constructions:

  • The wanderer could have drunk from the stream, but he chose not to.
  • She might have drunk the last of the milk yesterday.

With modal verbs like “could” or “might,” “drunk” expresses possible or hypothetical scenarios in the past.

Phrases with the Word Drink:

The verb “drink” is an irregular verb, leading to common confusion between its past forms. To provide clarity, we’ll look at phrases that include the word “drink” in different tenses.

Present Tense Examples:

  • She drinks water every morning.
  • They drink tea in the afternoon.

Past Simple Tense Examples:

  • He drank a cup of coffee yesterday.
  • They drank juice last night.

Let’s organize these phrases into two simple tables for quick reference:

Present TensePast Simple Tense
She drinks waterHe drank coffee
They drink teaThey drank juice

Phrases in the past tense often cause confusion, especially when differentiating between “drank” and “drunk”. Remember, “drank” is the simple past form, and “drunk” is the past participle needed when using the present perfect tense.

Past Participle Examples:

  • The milk has been drunk.
  • The lemonade had been drunk before they arrived.

To help distinguish between these, take a look at this comparison:

Past Simple TensePast Participle Usage
He drank coffeeThe coffee has been drunk
They drank juiceThe juice had been drunk

Here are example phrases with “drink” in various progressive and perfect tenses:

  • Present Progressive:

    • She is drinking her smoothie now.
    • They are drinking water during the break.
  • Present Perfect:

    • He has drunk his daily quota of water.
    • She has never drunk tea before.

Origin of the Word Drink:

The term drink stems from Old English drincan, which held the meanings “to swallow water or other fluid” and “to swallow up, engulf.” This word falls under the category of a strong class III verb, which in Old English had the past tense dranc and past participle druncen.

Old EnglishProto-Germanic

Its Proto-Germanic predecessor, *drenkanan, is linked to a variety of cognates in other Germanic languages.

  • Old Saxon drinkan
  • Old Frisian drinka
  • Dutch drinken
  • Old High German trinkan
  • German trinken
  • Old Norse drekka
  • Gothic drigkan

These cognates indicate a common linguistic heritage; however, the ultimate origin or connections of the Proto-Germanic root are unclear. Despite this, the concept of drinking is universally understood across these languages, showcasing the broad spread of the term.

Etymology of Word Forms:

Past TensePast Participle

The distinction between ‘drank’ and ‘drunk’ is historically layered. ‘Drank’ serves as the simple past tense, denoting a completed action. In contrast, ‘drunk’, as a past participle, is used in perfect tenses, often accompanied by an auxiliary verb like ‘have’ or ‘had’. Interestingly, historical usage records show that ‘drunk’ was also accepted as a past-tense form in periods between the 16th and 19th centuries.

  • Drank: Simple past; “He drank a cup of tea.”
  • Drunk: Past participle; “He has drunk a cup of tea.”


drink (v.)

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