Run Or Ran

As one of the most commonly used verbs in the English language, “run” and “ran” are often confused or interchanged by people learning the language. Both words represent the action of moving at a faster speed on foot, but they differ in their tense, usage, and meaning. Therefore, it is essential to understand the nuances of “run” and “ran” to use them correctly and convey coherence and clarity in your communication.

Firstly, “run” is present tense, while “ran” is past tense. Present tense refers to a happening that is occurring currently, while past tense points towards a happening that has already occurred. For example, when you say “I run every morning,” it means that you currently do physical activity in the morning, while “I ran every morning” means that you used to do that in the past. The present tense is simple and ends in “-s” when the subject is third-person singular such as “he runs” or “she runs,” while in other subjects, it remains as it is such as “we run” or “they run.” The past tense of run is irregular, which means that it doesn’t follow a predictable pattern, as opposed to regular verbs that end in “-ed” such as “walked,” “talked,” and “laughed.” Instead, run changes its spelling, and pronunciation becomes “ran,” making it essential to memorize its conjugated form.

Secondly, “run” and “ran” have different meanings and uses depending on the context. Broadly, “run” can mean moving swiftly using your feet, as in “I run to catch the bus,” or to operate a machine, system, or business, as in “He runs a software company.” Additionally, run can imply performing quickly an activity or something that requires physical or mental exertion, as in “She runs her fingers through her hair” or “He ran the marathon in record time.” Run can also describe a liquid flowing from a particular direction, as in “The water runs down the sink.” On the other hand, “ran” is exclusively used in the past tense to refer to the action of running previously, as in “I ran ten kilometers yesterday.” Ran can also imply escaping or fleeing from someone or something, as in “He ran away from the police.” Furthermore, “run” and “ran” can function as a base for phrasal verbs, which are verbs that consist of more than one word and often have idiomatic meaning. Examples of phrasal verbs using run are “run away,” “run into,” “run for,” and “run out,” that have different meanings than the base word.

Lastly, it is essential to use “run” and “ran” correctly to ensure coherence and clarity in your communication. Using the present tense instead of the past tense or vice versa can lead to confusion and convey the wrong message. For instance, saying “I run to the store yesterday” instead of “I ran to the store yesterday” makes the sentence incorrect in grammar and meaning. Similarly, using “run” instead of “ran” when referring to a past event can create confusion as the listener may misconstrue the time frame. Imagine telling someone, “I run into my ex yesterday,” and the listener assumes you have seen them presently when you meant the past. Thus, strive to use the correct tense and noun modifiers to describe the action precisely.

In summary, “run” and “ran” are crucial verbs in the English language that represent physical movement on foot. While “run” is present tense, “ran” is past tense, and they have different meanings and uses in various contexts. Correctly using “run” and “ran” is essential to ensure coherence and clarity in communication. Therefore, take time to understand their nuances, memorize their conjugation, and use them appropriately in writing and speaking.


Q: What verb goes with “has” and “have” in the present perfect tense?
A: The past participle of the verb, which is the base verb alongside “ed” or an irregular form, goes with “has” and “have” in the present perfect tense. For example, “I have run,” “She has run,” or “They have run.”

Q: Why is “ran” an irregular verb?
A: “Ran” is an irregular verb because its past tense form changes spelling and pronunciation from the base verb. While regular verbs form past tense by adding “-ed” to the base verb, as in “walked” or “laughed,” irregular verbs have an entirely different conjugated form that you need to memorize.

Q: How can I improve my usage of “run” and “ran” in writing and speaking?
A: To improve your usage of “run” and “ran,” practice reading and writing more in English and pay attention to how the verb is used in different sentences and contexts. Try to memorize their conjugation, understand their nuances of meaning, and avoid unnecessary or incorrect use of the verb in past or present tense. Additionally, use grammar checkers, dictionaries, or seek feedback from a native speaker or a teacher to improve your writing and speaking skills.