The Past Tense of Dream: 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 English 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 conjugations, irregular verbs, singular and plural subject/verb agreements, and several other common grammar mistakes. In fact, even native English speakers tend to struggle.

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

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What Is the Future Tense of Dream?

To first understand an English verb, 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 verb dream (as a verb) can be defined as, “to have a series of thoughts, images, or emotions while sleeping: to have a dream” or “to indulge in daydreams or fantasies.”  Some different meanings in a more transitive sense are “to have a dream of” and “to consider as a possibility.”  Overall, there are seven commonly recognized definitions for the word in both the transitive and intransitive verb forms.

The correct plural of the verb “to dream” is actually “dreamed” in most contexts, particularly American English; however, in British English and in the Queen’s English, it is also “dreamt,” similarly to “spelt” for “spelled.”  This is one of the words that actually does follow the rules for the past tense.  Adding “-ed” is the most common way to convert a word from the present tense to the past tense.  WordHippo lists the two forms of the past tense of dream as dreamed and dreamt.

The future tense of dream is formed in a rather common way as well.  The normal rule for creating the future tense in English is to take the present participle and add a future modifier to it, such as shall or will.   

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 etymology of the word dream (as a verb) is quite complicated and actually tied to the usage of the word as a noun.  Let’s start with the origin of the noun and then tie it into the verb.

The noun “dream” was first introduced to the English language in the middle of the thirteenth century, and meant “sequence of sensations or images that pass through the mind of a sleeping person.”  The word came from the Old Norse word “draumr” and the Dutch word “droom.”  In the Old English language, the word dream also meant joy, mirth, noisy merriment, and music.    

The verb “to dream” was also introduced in the middle of the thirteenth century, and the word “dremen” basically described the act of having a dream.  The literal translation is “to have a dream or dreams, be partly and confusedly aware of images and thoughts during sleep.”  It has the same root etymology as the noun form of the word, and both get their roots in Anglo-Saxon and Germanic languages from the early medieval time period.  

It is interesting to note that the majority of words in the English language that come from ancient languages such as Latin or Greek end up being nouns, while a good portion of the words that become verbs actually originate in these Western English tribal languages like Old English, Proto-German, and Danish.  

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 example sentences with the word “to dream” (and its past tense, dreamed) in context:

  • “I had a dream last night that really confused me.  Can I tell it to you and see if you think it really makes any sense at all?”
  • “Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream is slowly coming to fruition, but this country still has a long way to go before what he dreamed becomes a full and complete reality.”
  • “What do you dream of?  When you close your eyes, where do you go, and what is the mindset behind those dreams? What does your brain try to tell you while you sleep?”

Synonyms for Dream

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 dream.”  

  • To daydream basically means to let your mind wander while you’re awake rather than when you are asleep.
  • To hope for is a synonym for dream that basically means thinking about something you want and thinking positively that you might get it.
  • To visualize something is a conscious active verb, whereas dreaming in your sleep is a subconscious activity.

In Summary

By reaching the end of this article, you should be prepared to use the word “dream” and its past tense in any context.  Good luck!