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Given vs. Gave: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Updated on October 5, 2023
Given is the past participle of "give," often used as an adjective. Gave is the past tense of "give."

Key Differences

Given is primarily used as the past participle form of the verb "give." It can be used in various tenses, especially the perfect tenses, to indicate an action that has been completed. Gave, on the other hand, is the simple past tense form of "give" which denotes an action that occurred in the past.
In the sentence "I have given him my book," the word "given" is used to indicate a past action that has relevance to the present moment. In contrast, in the sentence "I gave him my book yesterday," the word "gave" signifies a definitive action that took place in the past.
Given can also function as an adjective, denoting something that is assumed or a premise. For instance, "Given the circumstances, we did our best." In this context, it indicates an assumption or premise. Gave, on the contrary, remains strictly a verb, representing the action of giving.
Another distinct use of given is in passive voice sentences. For instance, "The award was given to the best performer." Here, the focus is on the recipient of the action, not the doer. In contrast, "She gave the award to the best performer," is an active voice with "gave" representing a past action.
To summarize, while both given and gave originate from the verb "give," they have distinct grammatical and functional differences. Given can act as both verb (past participle) and adjective, while gave is strictly the past tense form of the verb.

Comparison Chart

Grammatical Role

Past participle of "give"
Simple past tense of "give"

Usage in Tenses

Used in perfect tenses (e.g., has given, had given)
Used in simple past (e.g., she gave)

Additional Functions

Can be an adjective (e.g., given circumstances)
Strictly a verb

Usage in Voice

Common in passive voice (e.g., was given)
Common in active voice

Relating to Assumptions

Can indicate an assumption or premise (e.g., given the situation)
Doesn't have this function

Given and Gave Definitions


Pre-established or assumed
The given parameters were strict.


To bestow or confer
He gave her a compliment.


Specified or stated
The tasks were hard for the given timeframe.


Past tense of "give"
She gave him a book.


Bestowed or awarded
The title was given to the top student.


To contribute or donate
They gave money to charity.


Past participle of give.


To allow someone to have
She gave him a moment to speak.


Specified; fixed
We will meet at a given time and location.


To yield as a result
The test gave a positive result.


Granted as a supposition; acknowledged or assumed
Given the condition of the engine, it is a wonder that it even starts.


Past tense of give.


Having a tendency; inclined
My neighbor is given to lavish spending.


Past participle of give


Bestowed as a gift; presented.


Something assumed or taken for granted
"It's a given that the writer of short stories will be keeping his day job" (Donald E. Westlake).


Inflection of give


Considering; taking into account.
Given the current situation, I don't think that's possible.


A condition that is assumed to be true without further evaluation.
When evaluating this math problem, don't forget to read the givens.


Already arranged. en


Currently discussed. en


Particular, specific.
No more than three people can be in that space at a given time.


Assumed as fact or hypothesis.
Given that we will get the resources, what do we want to achieve?


(with to) Prone, disposed.
He was given to taking a couple of glasses of port at his club.


Granted; assumed; supposed to be known; set forth as a known quantity, relation, or premise.


Stated; fixed; as, in a given time.


An assumption that is taken for granted


Specified in advance;
A given number
We will meet at a given time and location


Acknowledged as a supposition;
Given the engine's condition, it is a wonder that it started


Having possession delivered or transferred without compensation


(usually followed by `to') naturally disposed toward;
He is apt to ignore matters he considers unimportant
I am not minded to answer any questions


Past participle of "give"
I have given him a chance before.


Prone or inclined to
She is given to spontaneous decisions.


What is the primary grammatical role of "Given"?

Given is the past participle form of "give."

Does "Gave" function as an adjective like "Given"?

No, "Gave" is strictly a verb.

Is "Gave" used to denote present actions?

No, "Gave" denotes past actions.

Can "Given" be used as an adjective?

Yes, "Given" can be used as an adjective to denote something assumed or pre-established.

Can "Gave" be used in passive voice?

Not typically. "Gave" is more commonly used in active voice.

Can "Given" indicate an assumption?

Yes, e.g., "Given the circumstances, we decided to leave."

When do we use "Gave"?

"Gave" is used as the simple past tense of "give."

Can "Given" be used in present perfect tense?

Yes, as in "She has given her all."

How is "Given" used to show inclination?

As in "He is given to bouts of anger."

Does "Gave" have a similar function?

No, "Gave" doesn't denote inclination.

How is "Given" used in passive voice?

In passive voice, "Given" indicates a completed action, e.g., "The medal was given to him."

What's a passive sentence with "Given"?

"The award was given to her."

What's an example of "Gave" in a sentence?

"She gave him her phone number."

How do you use "Gave" in active voice?

"She gave him a gift."

Is "Gave" used to denote assumptions or specifications?

No, "Gave" strictly denotes a past action of giving.

What's a common adjective use of "Given"?

As in "given circumstances" or "given situation."

How can "Given" indicate a specification?

As in "The given task was hard."

In which tense is "Gave" typically used?

Simple past tense.

How do you use "Given" in future perfect tense?

"By tomorrow, I will have given the report."

Can "Gave" be used in future tense?

No, for future you'd use "will give."
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
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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