Grammar Sentence Structures 2022-11-12 00:00

Past Tense of Seek: What Is it?

Past tense of seek title cover

In English, irregular verb forms can be confusing, even for native speakers! Seek is an irregular verb with an unexpected past tense form.

The word seek means to look for or to search. The past tense of seek is sought.

In this article, we will find out more about the past tense and past participle forms of seek.

  1. What Is the Past Tense of Seek?
  2. To Seek Conjugations
  3. How to Use the Past Tense of Seek

What Is the Past Tense of Seek?

What we often refer to as the past tense of a word is actually the simple past form. The simple past is the way we state something happened once in the past (e.g. I ran, we stopped). The simple past form of seek is sought.

Past tense of seek is sought

Here are some examples of what the past tense of seek looks like in a sentence:

  • The boss sought a perfect fit for the team: someone reliable, sociable, and experienced.
  • The explorers sought the fountain of youth deep in the rainforest.
  • I sought out my perfect wedding dress for months.

What Is the Past Participle of Seek?

The past participle of a verb is the form used to construct sentences in the perfect tenses. Perfect tenses refer to completed (or to be completed) actions.

Many irregular verbs have different simple past and past participle forms. However, seek is easy. The past participle of seek is also sought.

Here are some examples of sought in the present perfect, past perfect, and future perfect tenses, respectively:

  • The litigators had sought a compromise over countless hours, to no avail.
  • Thanos has sought all of the Infinity Stones for eons.
  • After this next baking attempt, I will have sought the perfect bread recipe 33 times.

Verbs also have a present participle, which is the verb form used in the progressive tenses. The present participle of seek is seeking. This follows the normal pattern for present participles, even though the past tense and past participle are irregular.

Using the wrong word for irregular verbs is a common grammar mistake. ProWritingAid’s free grammar checker will make sure you’re using the correct past tense or past participle for all irregular verbs.

To Seek Conjugations

Simple Present Simple Past Infinitive Past Participle Present Participle
seek sought to seek sought seeking

How to Use the Past Tense of Seek

Use sought when you’re writing in the simple past, past perfect, present perfect, or future perfect tenses.

Synonyms for sought

You can use the past tense of seek when you need a strong synonym for “looked for.” Some other synonyms of sought include:

  • explored
  • pursued
  • searched
  • combed
  • quested
  • pursued
  • endeavored
  • solicited
  • undertook

Context matters when selecting a synonym. Sought is already a power verb, but you don’t want to overuse it in your writing.

You can use ProWritingAid’s Word Explorer to help you find the perfect synonym for sought or any other word. In the web editor, click on any word then click on Word Explorer.

ProWritingAid's word explorer

You’ll see a box where you can navigate to find many related words. Under Thesaurus, you can find both synonyms and contextually related words. The Word Explorer will even help you find rhyming words and alliterations.

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