The Past Tense of Draw: Here’s What It Is and How to Use It

Learning a new language is arguably the best way to broaden your horizons if you are looking at any kind of job dealing with public service or global politics.  Interpersonal relationships between countries and governments are greatly improved when people are able to communicate clearly, and if you learn a language that is rarely spoken or known, you make yourself invaluable to your employer.  However, learning a language can be difficult because it can be hard to keep track of all the rules that different languages follow in their grammar.

English is considered one of the most notorious languages for keeping track of which rules are common and which rules are broken often.  People who learn English as a second or even third language struggle to remember spellings, verb tenses, singular and plural subject/verb agreements, and several other common grammar mistakes.  

In this article, let’s explore the verb “to draw”, learn its proper use, how to use its past tense, look for its synonyms, and learn its etymology and context.

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What is the past tense and past participle of draw?

To first understand a word, its history, and how to use it properly, it is important to first define what it actually means.  According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, the word draw can be defined as, “to cause to move continuously toward or after a force applied in advance”, “to move (something, such as a covering) over or to one side”, or “to cause to go in a certain direction”.  Some secondary definitions include, “to bring by inducement, allure”, and “to cause to shrink, contract, or tighten, e.g. draw your knees to your chest”.  In total, there are fifty one different definitions of the verb in both transitive and intransitive forms.  

Part of what makes English such a difficult language to master is that no matter where you look, there are rules, and then there are exceptions to those rules.  For example, the common rule for making the past tense in English is to add “-d” or “-ed” to a verb to give it the past tense.  For example, the verb cook becomes cooked, and the verb bake becomes baked.  In both situations, you either add the “-ed” or the “-d” suffix and the word is past tense. 

To properly form the past tense of draw, you actually don’t add the suffix.  Because the word is irregular, it does not follow any of the normal rules, and instead of adding either “-d” or “-ed”, you actually just change the spelling from “draw” to “drew”.  

Is drawn a word?

When asking whether or not something is a real word, what you are really asking is whether or not people use it often enough for it to be considered correct.  The reason for this distinction is that language is directed by culture, not the other way around.  The words people use in common conversation eventually become correct even if they are not considered correct by a dictionary.  For example, the word selfie was added to several dictionaries a few years ago due to its prevalence in context and in culture.

The dictionary cannot be the definitive authority on all of language, so learn your audience and how they communicate, and you will be just fine.

In this context, yes, drawn is a word.  Drawn is the past participle of the word “draw” and conveys an action that an individual or group has already completed, e.g. he has drawn the picture several times before.

The History and Origin of the Word

One of the best ways to understand a word is to learn where it came from.  A word’s etymology can reveal a lot about the changes a word has gone through to get to where it is today in modern English.  According to, the word draw was first used in the early thirteenth century to mean “give motion to by the act of pulling” and was an Old English word, “drauen”.  This word received its origin in the Middle Dutch and Old Saxon words “dragan” and “draga”.  

Unlike many nouns in English which originate in ancient languages such as Latin or Greek, many verbs with irregular forms actually draw their origins from more modern Western European languages like Saxon, Norse, and Old Germanic languages.  

Examples of the Word in Context

Another great way to learn how to use a word is to explore the word being used correctly.  Either reading the word in its proper context or hearing someone else use it in conversation.  Here are some common examples of the word “to draw” in context:

  • “He loves to draw, and sometimes I find him drawing animals for hours on end, just trying to perfect his art style.”
  • “She drew a bath for her son.”
  • “Have you drawn the outline for the assignment this week?  I want to compare mine and see where I could improve.”

Synonyms for Draw

Finally, to really solidify a word into your vocabulary, it is useful to explore words with similar or same definitions.  The more words you know that can fit into a specific context, the easier it will be to remember which ones to use.  Here are some synonyms for the verb “to draw”:

  • To sketch something is to draw it usually without color and in a very general and rough sense
  • To color something is to draw something with color and vibrance
  • To attract something is a synonym for the sense of the word draw that means to pull towards

In Summary

By reading this article, you should be fully prepared to use the word draw (and its past tense) in any context, written or spoken.  If you need further clarification in an academic sense, ask your teacher or professor for help.  Good luck!