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Submit vs. Submitted: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Updated on February 5, 2024
"Submit" is a verb meaning to present for judgment or consideration, while "submitted" is its past tense or past participle form, indicating the action has already occurred.

Key Differences

The word "submit" is an action verb that refers to the act of presenting something to someone for review, judgment, or consideration. It suggests a process in progress or an action that one intends to perform. "Submitted," on the other hand, is the past tense and past participle form of "submit," indicating that the action of presenting something for review or consideration has already been completed. This distinction is crucial in understanding the timing and status of actions within communication, documentation, or instruction contexts.
Using "submit" typically implies a future-oriented action, one that is to be taken or is currently in the process of being taken. For example, when someone says, "I will submit my application tomorrow," it indicates a future action. Conversely, "submitted" places the action in the past, showing that it has already been completed, as in, "I submitted my application yesterday." The use of these forms helps to clarify the sequence of events or the status of tasks and processes.
In instructional or procedural texts, "submit" serves as a directive or an imperative, instructing someone to perform the act of submission. It's an active voice that prompts action. Meanwhile, "submitted" is often used in passive constructions to report or record that an action has been taken, as part of reflective or reportive statements that document completed actions. This usage is common in academic, legal, and professional communications.
The grammatical tense of "submit" versus "submitted" also influences the perceived urgency or immediacy of the action. "Submit" can create a sense of immediacy or future obligation, while "submitted" can convey completion, often used in contexts where confirmation or acknowledgment of receipt is necessary. This distinction affects how information is processed and understood by the reader or listener, impacting response times and perceptions of responsibility or action required.
"Submit" and "submitted" differ primarily in their tense and the timing of the action they describe. Understanding and using these words correctly is essential for clear communication, especially in formal, academic, or professional settings, where the status of tasks and actions needs to be precisely conveyed.

Comparison Chart


Past tense or past participle

Action Timing

Indicates an action to be done or being done
Indicates an action that has already been done

Context of Use

Used for future or ongoing actions
Used for completed actions


Active, implying direct action
Often used in passive voice for completed actions


Implies obligation or intention to act
Implies completion and fulfillment of an action

Submit and Submitted Definitions


To present for approval.
Please submit your report by Friday.


Yielded or surrendered to authority.
The documents were submitted to the committee.


To yield or surrender to authority.
The general refused to submit to the enemy.


Proposed for consideration.
A proposal was submitted for review.


To propose for consideration.
I will submit a proposal for the project.


Presented for approval.
The report was submitted on time.


To enter (data or documents) into a system.
Submit your application online.


Agreed to undergo something.
The candidate submitted to the terms of the contract.


To agree to undergo something.
You must submit to a background check.


Entered into a system.
The application was submitted through the portal.


To yield or surrender (oneself) to the will or authority of another.


To yield or surrender (oneself) to the will or authority of another.


To subject to a condition or process
Submit a tissue sample to testing.


To subject to a condition or process
Submit a tissue sample to testing.


To present (something) to the consideration or judgment of another
We submitted our ideas to our supervisor.


To offer as a proposition or contention
I submit that the terms are entirely unreasonable.


To accept or give in to the authority, power, or will of another.


To allow oneself to be subjected to something
Submit to an interview.
Submit to drug testing.


Simple past tense and past participle of submit


What does it mean to submit something?

To present it for review, consideration, or approval.

Can "submit" be used in a legal context?

Yes, it often refers to filing documents or evidence for legal review.

How do I know if I should use submit or submitted?

Use "submit" for future or ongoing actions and "submitted" for completed actions.

How do I use "submitted" in a sentence?

"The assignment was submitted before the deadline."

Is "submitted" always past tense?

Yes, it indicates actions that have already occurred.

What is the passive form of "submit"?

"Was submitted" or "has been submitted," depending on the context.

Can "submit" be used in academic contexts?

Yes, commonly for turning in assignments or research proposals.

Can both "submit" and "submitted" be used in emails?

Yes, depending on whether you are instructing or reporting.

Can "submit" imply compliance?

Yes, it can also mean to yield or surrender to authority.

Does "submitted" require an object?

Typically, yes, it refers to the item or action completed.

How does tense affect the use of "submit" and "submitted"?

It affects whether the action is planned, ongoing, or completed.

Can I use "submit" in a proposal?

Yes, to suggest offering the proposal for consideration.

What does "submit" indicate in job applications?

It means to apply or send in your application materials.

Can "submit" be used without specifying what is to be submitted?

Contextually, but clarity often requires specifying the object.

Can "submit" indicate a process?

Yes, it can refer to the act of undergoing or initiating a process.

Is "submit" only used in formal settings?

Primarily, but it can be used informally to suggest yielding or agreeing.

What does "submitted for your approval" imply?

That something has been presented and awaits your review.

Are "submit" and "submitted" used differently in digital platforms?

Usage aligns with action timing; "submit" for actions to be completed, "submitted" for actions completed.

How do "submit" and "submitted" relate to authority?

They can both imply action taken in response to or in compliance with authority.

When is "submitted" used in reports?

To indicate that the report has been completed and turned in.
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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