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Blew or Blown: Which is the Correct Past Tense of Blow?

To 'blow a bubble', is the present simple tense. 'I blew the job interview', is the past simple, and 'I've blown the opportunity,' is the past participle.

Blew/blown in application.
Blew/blown in conversation.



What’s the past tense of “blow”?

What’s the past tense of the verb blow? Is it blow, blew, or blown? If you’re looking for the short answer, it’s below. To get a better understanding, read the  full article (don’t just blow through it.)

Verb forms of blow

The verb blow, as described by Collins Dictionary, “If the wind blows something somewhere or if it blows there, the wind moves it there: A chill wind blew at the top of the hill.” Also, “If you blow, you send out a stream of air from your mouth: Take a deep breath and blow.

presentpastfuture
simpleI blowI blewI will blow
continuousI am blowingI was blowingI will be blowing
perfectI have blownI had blownI will have blown
perfect continuousI have been blowingI had been blowingI will have been blowing
12 verb tenses of ‘blow‘.

To blow is in the present tense: ‘I need to blow my nose.’

Blew is the simple past: ‘A chill wind blew at the top of the hill.’

Blown is the past participle: ‘The car tires have blown out!’

Is blow a regular or irregular verb?

The verb, to blow, is irregular, since neither of its past tense forms end in –ed, as regular verb forms do. Walked, talked, laughed, and played, are all examples of regular verb forms in English, since they end in –ed in both their past tense and past participle forms.  

This makes the verb to blow irregular, since its past tense forms end in something other than -ed (i.e., blew/blown). See the chart of other irregular with two past tense conjugations:


base verbpast tensepast participle
swimswamswum
flyflewflown
blowblewblown
drawdrewdrawn
eatateeaten
drinkdrankdrunk
Irregular verbs (two past tense conjugations).



When to use “blew” or “blown”

The simple past tense of blow is blew, which sounds the same as the colour and hue, blue. To see what differentiates the simple past tense blew, and the past participle of blown, read and compare these sentences:

Sarah blew out all of her birthday candles. (past tense)

The storm has blown over. (past participle)

What’s the difference between the two sentences? Both are in the past, and so describe actions that have already occurred in time. However, the past simple and past participle nevertheless differ from each other in clear ways both structurally, and in their purpose.

The past participle is formed by the use of an auxiliary + the past participle form of a verb, which in this case is blown. For example, in the sentences shown above, the verb, has pairs with blown to form the past perfect aspect, and the passive voice (which takes the subject as the received of the sentence’s action).

Sentences with “blow” (simple present)

I delivered a blow on his arm.

To whistle, you need to blow softly.

Blow out the candle.

Great winds blow upon high hills.

Do not blow the whistle.



Sentences with “blew” (simple past)

The wind blew her hair back from her forehead.

She grabbed a tissue from the box on the counter and blew her nose.

The linebacker blew past the tackle.

The wind blew the sign over.

He drew on his cigarette and blew out a stream of smoke.

Sentence examples with “blown” (past participle)

The ship was blown onto the rocks.

The safe had been blown by the thieves.

Each of the cottages were blown down, one by one.

It must have blown off in the storm.

The plane was blown up by hijackers.

Origin of the word blow

From etymology online on blow (v.):

“Move air, produce a current of air,” Middle English blouen, from Old English blawan “to blow (of the wind, bellows, etc.), breathe, make an air current; kindle; inflate; sound” a wind instrument,  from Proto-Germanic *blæ-anan.

Read about more confusing verbs

Learn more about verbs

Sources  

  1. Merriam-Webster, definition of blow.
  2. Etymology online, origin of blow.


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