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What’s the Past Tense of Swing?

The present tense verb, swing, is an irregular verb with one past form, i.e., swung.

What’s the meaning of “swing”?

It’s sing, sang, sung, and ring, rang, rung; so shouldn’t it also be swing, swang, swung? Not so fast, says the rules of English verb conjugations—the verb swing doesn’t operate that way.

Swing, which describes moving repeatedly “backward and forwards or from side to side”, has one past verb form, and that is swung.

Swung is both the simple past form and past participle of swing (which is the present tense). For the remaining verb forms, refer to the chart below.

Forms of “swing”

simpleI swingI swungI will swing
continuousI am swingingI was swingingI will be swinging
perfectI have swungI had swungI will have swung
perfect continuousI have been swingingI had been swingingI will have been swinging
Tenses of ‘swing‘.

Swinged or swung?

past tense:  I swung my leg over the fence.

past perfect tense:  The door had swung closed behind the white cat.

If and when the word “swung” appears in the same sentence as an auxiliary verb (e.g., had/has/have, or is) this indicates a perfect/progressive tense, and not the simple past.

Remember: auxiliary verbs pair with participles to form the perfect and/or continuous aspects in grammar, which show time as ongoing, or ongoing up until a point in time (in the past or. present). We use helper verbs with participles to create these more complex aspects of tense, such as have/had/has.

Examples with “swing” in the present tense

She was sitting on the wall with her legs swinging‍ (present participle)

There was a massive swing away from the governing party in the election.

Cousin Arthur made me a swing in the ash tree.

She took a hacking swing at the grass.

His broad shoulders swayed with the swing of his stride.

Examples of “swung” in the past tense

He swung at the man, but missed, and fell.

He swung the hammer with all his strength.

The sail of the little boat swung crazily from one side to the other.

I swung my leg over the fence.

The door swung open and the children ran in.

Sentences with “swung”

He was pushing a door that swung open quite easily.

We had swung our arms in vain at the impending car crash about to happen in front of our eyes.

The door had swung closed behind the white cat.

Suddenly he had swung around to look at what was going on behind him.

In recent years the pendulum has swung from one extreme to the other and back again.

Worksheet: forms of ‘swing’

QuestionsAnswer options:
1. True or false:

“Swing” is a regular verb.
a. true
b. false
2. True or false:

“Swing” looks the same in the past tense and as a past participle.
a. true
b. false
3. True or false:

“Swinged” is the simple past tense of ‘swing’.
a. true
b. false
4. Which tense is this sentence in:

I swung my leg over the fence.
a. past
b. present perfect
c. past perfect
5. The sentence is in which tense:

Let your arms swing freely at your sides.
a. present simple
b. present continuous
c. past continuous
6. Choose the form of ‘swing’ to complete the sentence:

___ your arms can help to increase blood flow to the rest of your body.
a. swing
b. swings
c. swinging
d. swung


  1. b
  2. a
  3. b
  4. a
  5. a
  6. c

Phrases with swing or swung

a swing and a missto attempt something and fail at something
To get in the swing of things/be back in full swingto return to activity or being productive
To go with a swingmeaning that new people, typically in a work setting, help to bring fresh perspectives and insights
Not enough room to swing a catto push someone or something to one side, especially in an indifferent or disdainful manner
To take a swing at somethingto try something new
To swing for the bleachersto attempt something with the maximum amount of effort
To swing both ways said of people that are attracted to both men and woman
Swings and roundabouts a situation where gains or advantages are offset by equal disadvantages

Origin of the verb swing

From etymology online on swing (v.):

Old English swingan “beat, strike; scourge, flog; to rush, fling oneself” (strong verb, past tense swang, past participle swungen), from Proto-Germanic *swengwanan.

Read more about verbs!

Kinds of verbsWhat’s the past tense of …?
forms of ‘to be’… seek?
auxiliary verbs… teach?
present tense… catch?
future tense… buy?
past tense… read?
perfect tense… ring?
transitive vs. intransitive… drive?
participles… throw?
irregular verbs… lead?
modals… win?


  1. Harper, Douglas. “Etymology of swing.” Online Etymology Dictionary, Accessed 16 April, 2023.

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