Drank or Drunk?

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The Difference between "Drank" and "Drunk"

"Drank" and "drunk" are easy to confuse because they are both past forms of "to drink."
  • "Drank" is the past tense of "to drink." For example:
    • I drank my coffee too quickly.
  • "Drunk" is the past participle of "to drink" (i.e., the version that follows "had," "has," or "have"). For example:
    • I have drunk too much.
  • A "drunk" is a person who drinks to excess. For example:
    • He is a drunk.
    As an adjective, "drunk" means intoxicated. For example:
    • The drunk man was not as good a dancer as he thought.
    drank or drunk

    More about "Drank" and "Drunk"

    The table below summarizes "drank" and "drunk:
    VerbPast TensePast Participle
    to drinkdrankhave drunk
    The confusion surrounding "drank" and "drunk" is understandable because there is some overlap in how the two words are used. More specifically, "drank" (which is the simple past tense of "to drink") has historically been used as an alternative past participle [evidence]. However, using "drank" for the past participle is increasingly seen as an error.

    Example Sentences with "Drank" and "Drunk"

    Here are some example sentences with "drank" or "drunk":
    • I drank a coffee.
    • (Here, "drank" is the simple past tense.)
    • I have drunk a coffee.
    • (Here, "drunk" is a past participle.)
    • I have drank a coffee.
    • (Here, "drank" is being used as a past participle. Although historically acceptable, this is an error nowadays.)

    Drank

    "Drank" is the simple past tense of "to drink." For example:
    • I drank too much when I was in my twenties.
    • When I traveled with Frank Sinatra, God rest his soul, I used to drink like I could do it. In Vegas, the Rat Pack, which I was a little part of, drank all night and slept most of the day. (Comedian Don Rickles)

    Drunk

    "Drunk" is the past participle of "to drink." In other words, it is the version used with "to have" (e.g., I have drunk a lot). For example:
    • I'd rather have drunk from the spittoon in Barney's barber shop. (TV presenter Paul O'Grady)
    • (Here, "drunk" is a past participle.)
    As well as being used to form verb tenses (i.e., being used as a participle with "have"), the word "drunk" is also an adjective and a noun. For example:
    • A man's true character comes out when he's drunk.
    • (Here, "drunk" is an adjective.)
    • The best research for playing a drunk is being a British actor for 20 years.
    • (Here, "drunk" is a noun.)

    "Drank" and "Drunk" Were Previously Interchangeable

    Be aware that some dictionaries still list "drank" as an alternative past participle to "drunk." We would recommend, however, that you use "drunk" as the past participle.
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See Also

adverse or averse? affect or effect? Ms., Miss, or Mrs? avenge or revenge? bare or bear? complement or compliment? dependant or dependent? discreet or discrete? disinterested or uninterested? e.g. or i.e.? envy or jealousy? imply or infer? its or it's? material or materiel? poisonous or venomous? practice or practise? principal or principle? tenant or tenet? who's or whose? What are nouns? What are adjectives? What are verbs? What is the simple past? List of easily confused words