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Give vs. Gave: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sumera Saeed || Updated on November 6, 2023
"Give" is the present tense form, meaning to present or hand over something; "gave" is the past tense, indicating the action has already happened.

Key Differences

Give is a present tense verb that implies the act of presenting or handing something to someone, while gave is the simple past tense form of the same verb, indicating the action has been completed in the past. For instance, "I give you my word" is a present promise, whereas "I gave you my word" refers to a promise made earlier.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 06, 2023
Give suggests a current or future action, where the subject offers something to another. Gave, on the other hand, is retrospective, looking back on an action of offering that has already taken place. "They give their time to charity" shows ongoing or intended generosity, contrasted by "They gave their time to charity," which acknowledges past acts.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 06, 2023
In instructional or hypothetical contexts, give can serve as a base form or imperative, such as in guides or commands. Gave cannot assume this role as it is fixed in the past; its use is confined to narrative or reportive contexts. "Give me your attention" commands focus now, while "She gave me her attention" reports on a previous occurrence.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 06, 2023
Grammatically, give pairs with present, future, or present perfect tenses, while gave is used with the past or past perfect tenses. "I will give you a call" promises a future action, differing from "I gave you a call," which recounts an action that has taken place.
Janet White
Nov 06, 2023
The present form give may also be used in continuous tenses to show ongoing action ("I am giving a speech"), whereas gave does not have this capability and is solely used for actions that have been completed ("I gave a speech yesterday").
Sumera Saeed
Nov 06, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Tense

Present tense
Past tense
Sumera Saeed
Nov 06, 2023

Time of action

Current/Future
Completed/Past
Sumera Saeed
Nov 06, 2023

Usage in sentences

Can be imperative
Cannot be imperative
Sumera Saeed
Nov 06, 2023

Example

"I give her advice."
"I gave her advice."
Janet White
Nov 06, 2023

Associated tenses

Present, future, perfect
Past, pluperfect
Harlon Moss
Nov 06, 2023
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Give and Gave Definitions

Give

To present voluntarily.
I will give a speech at the conference.
Huma Saeed
Nov 06, 2023

Gave

Provided or supplied before.
They gave assistance to the affected families.
Harlon Moss
Nov 06, 2023

Give

To yield or concede.
The metal will give under intense pressure.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 06, 2023

Gave

Performed or executed previously.
She gave a captivating performance.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 06, 2023

Give

To provide or supply.
They give food to the shelter.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 06, 2023

Gave

Presented voluntarily in the past.
He gave a presentation at the meeting.
Huma Saeed
Nov 06, 2023

Give

To perform or execute.
The actor will give a dramatic reading.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 06, 2023

Gave

Yielded or conceded previously.
The bridge gave under the weight of the truck.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 06, 2023

Give

To administer.
The doctor will give the patient a vaccine.
Janet White
Nov 06, 2023

Gave

Administered in the past.
The nurse gave the medication at 8 AM.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 06, 2023

Give

To make a present of
We gave her flowers for her birthday.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 03, 2022

Gave

Past tense of give.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 03, 2022

Give

To place in the hands of; pass
Give me the scissors.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 03, 2022

Gave

Past participle of give
Sumera Saeed
Nov 03, 2022

Give

To deliver in exchange or recompense; pay
Gave five dollars for the book.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 03, 2022

FAQs

What is the infinitive form of 'gave'?

The infinitive form is 'to give'.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 06, 2023

Can 'give' indicate a repeated action?

Yes, 'give' can describe habitual actions.
Sara Rehman
Nov 06, 2023

Is 'gave' ever correct in the present tense?

No, 'gave' is exclusively past tense.
Sara Rehman
Nov 06, 2023

Is 'give' an irregular verb?

Yes, 'give' is an irregular verb.
Sara Rehman
Nov 06, 2023

What is the past perfect form of 'give'?

The past perfect form is 'had given'.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 06, 2023

Can 'gave' be used to describe current actions?

No, 'gave' is used only for past actions.
Huma Saeed
Nov 06, 2023

Can 'give' be used in passive constructions?

Yes, e.g., "The gift is given by her."
Sumera Saeed
Nov 06, 2023

Can 'give' be a noun?

No, 'give' is not commonly used as a noun.
Harlon Moss
Nov 06, 2023

Is 'give' used for future actions?

Yes, 'give' can indicate future actions.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 06, 2023

What is the past participle of 'give'?

The past participle is 'given'.
Sara Rehman
Nov 06, 2023

What is the third-person singular form of 'give'?

It is 'gives', as in "She gives."
Janet White
Nov 06, 2023

How is 'gave' used in a sentence?

'Gave' is used to describe an action completed in the past.
Harlon Moss
Nov 06, 2023

Are there any idioms with 'give'?

Yes, like "give it your best shot."
Sara Rehman
Nov 06, 2023

What is the subjunctive form of 'give'?

The subjunctive form is 'give', as in "I suggest that he give..."
Sumera Saeed
Nov 06, 2023

Can 'give' be used reflexively?

Yes, as in "give yourself a break."
Sumera Saeed
Nov 06, 2023

Does 'give' have different meanings?

Yes, 'give' can mean to present, supply, yield, etc.
Harlon Moss
Nov 06, 2023

Can 'give' be used in the imperative mood?

Yes, 'give' can be used as a command.
Sara Rehman
Nov 06, 2023

Does 'gave' change in the third-person singular?

No, 'gave' remains the same in all persons.
Janet White
Nov 06, 2023

Can 'give' be used as a modal verb?

No, 'give' cannot be used as a modal verb.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 06, 2023

Is 'gave' ever used in a conditional sentence?

Yes, in past conditional sentences.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 06, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.
Edited by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.

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