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Forgot vs. Forgotten: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Published on January 21, 2024
"Forgot" is the simple past tense of "forget," used for actions completed in the past. "Forgotten" is the past participle, used in perfect tenses and as an adjective.

Key Differences

"Forgot" is the simple past tense form of "forget," indicating an action that was completed in the past. "Forgotten" is the past participle form, used in perfect tenses (like present perfect, past perfect) and sometimes as an adjective to describe something that has been forgotten.
"Forgot" is typically used to talk about a specific instance in the past, such as "I forgot my keys yesterday." "Forgotten" is used in contexts that connect the past action to the present or another time, as in "I have forgotten my keys," implying the action's relevance to the current moment.
When using "forgot," the sentence usually does not require an auxiliary verb, e.g., "She forgot the password." In contrast, "forgotten" often appears with an auxiliary verb like "have," "has," or "had," for example, "He has forgotten the password."
"Forgotten" can also function as an adjective, describing something overlooked or no longer remembered, such as in "a forgotten hero." "Forgot" does not serve as an adjective and is strictly a verb form.
"Forgot" emphasizes a completed action in the past with no direct link to the present. In contrast, "forgotten" often implies a past action with ongoing relevance or effect, like in "The forgotten details are now important."

Comparison Chart


Simple past tense.
Past participle.

Usage in Sentences

Used without auxiliary verbs.
Often used with auxiliary verbs ("have," "had").

Context of Use

Refers to a specific past action.
Indicates a past action with present relevance.

Adjectival Form

Not used as an adjective.
Can be used as an adjective.

Implication of Time

Focuses on a past event with no present connection.
Suggests a past action affecting the present.

Forgot and Forgotten Definitions


Specific Instance.
She forgot to lock the door when she left.


As an Adjective.
A forgotten melody played on the radio.


Completed Event.
He forgot the answer during the quiz.


Lost in Memory.
The ancient language is now forgotten.


Momentary Lapse.
They forgot their lines in the play.


With Present Impact.
His advice was long forgotten but still useful.


Past Action.
I forgot my appointment yesterday.


Ongoing Relevance.
The password has been forgotten.


Immediate Past.
We just forgot where we parked the car.


Overlooked Aspect.
The forgotten details emerged much later.


Past tense and a past participle of forget.


A past participle of forget.


Simple past tense and past participle of forget


Of which knowledge has been lost; which is no longer remembered.


Inflection of forget


A person or thing that has been forgotten.


Not noticed inadvertently;
Her aching muscles forgotten she danced all night
He was scolded for his forgotten chores


No longer known; irretrievable;
A forgotten art
A lost art
Lost civilizations


How is 'forgotten' used differently?

"Forgotten" is the past participle, used in perfect tenses or as an adjective, often implying ongoing relevance.

Can 'forgot' be used as an adjective?

No, "forgot" is not used as an adjective.

What does 'forgot' mean?

"Forgot" is the past tense of "forget," used for actions that happened and were completed in the past.

Is 'forgotten' always used with 'have' or 'had'?

Often, but not always, as it can also be an adjective.

Is 'forgot' only for recent past events?

It's for any specific past event, not necessarily recent.

Does 'forgotten' imply something is permanently forgotten?

Not always; it can refer to something temporarily overlooked.

Do 'forgot' and 'forgotten' have the same root word?

Yes, both come from the root word "forget."

Can 'forgot' and 'forgotten' be used interchangeably?

No, they have different grammatical uses and contexts.

Is 'forgotten' more emotional in tone?

It can be, especially when used as an adjective.

Are 'forgot' and 'forgotten' specific to English?

Yes, they are specific forms in English grammar.

Can 'forgotten' stand alone in a sentence?

As an adjective, yes; as a verb, it typically needs an auxiliary.

Does 'forgotten' suggest a lasting impact?

It can, especially in its adjectival form.

Can 'forgot' refer to a habitual action?

Not usually; it's for specific instances.

Does 'forgotten' always mean completely out of memory?

Not necessarily; it can mean temporarily out of focus.

Is 'forgot' formal or informal language?

It's neutral, used in both formal and informal contexts.

Can 'forgot' be used in future tense?

No, it's specifically past tense.

Can 'forgotten' refer to intentional forgetting?

It usually implies unintentional forgetting.

Does 'forgot' imply a single instance of forgetting?

Yes, it refers to a specific instance.

Is 'forgot' used in passive voice?

No, it's typically active voice.

How does context change the use of 'forgotten'?

Its use as an adjective or verb changes its context.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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