The Past Tense of Drink: 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.

The English language 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 infinitive verb “to drink,” 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 Correct Past Tense of Drink?

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 word drink can be defined as, “to swallow or imbibe in a liquid,” “to take in or suck up,” or “to take in or receive avidly.”  In its intransitive form, it can also mean “to take liquid into the mouth for swallowing.”  In all, there are nine different definitions listed for the verb “to drink” in both its transitive and intransitive verb forms.

Part of what makes English such a difficult language to master is that no matter where you look, there are rules for verb conjugation, 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 make it the past tense.  For example, cook becomes cooked, and bake becomes baked.  In both situations, you either add the “-ed” or the “-d” suffix, and the word is past tense.  However, the past tense of “to drink” is actually irregular, meaning you don’t add either of those prefixes.

To conjugate the correct simple past tense of the irregular verb drink, you actually change the spelling from the present tense drink to drank.  The correct past tense of drink is just “drank,” e.g., he drank his water. If you wanted to use the past participle of drink, you’d say drank as well for both the past perfect tense and the pluperfect. The conditional form would be “he/she/they would have drunk.”

To conjugate the present participle, or gerund, you would say, “I am drinking.”

Should it Be Drank or Should It Be Drunk?

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 a language, so learn your audience and how they communicate, and you will be just fine.

In this particular context, both “drank” and “drunk” are considered correct, depending on where you go.  For example, in the American South and Southeast, it is considered normal and acceptable to say, “he drunk his water.”  Even though it may sound rather like a slang term, if that is your audience, you can use either form.  

Is Drinked a Word?

No, drinked is not actually a word.  Because the past tense of “to drink” is so irregular, there are actually no forms that follow the typical rule at all.

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 drink as a verb actually comes from the Old English word “drincan” which means “to swallow water or other fluid,” which in turn is derived from the Proto-Germanic word “drenkanan.”  

Unlike most nouns in English, which are derived from ancient languages such as Latin or Greek, a large majority of verbs actually come from western European languages from the medieval times, such as Proto-Germanic, Old English, 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 examples of the word “to drink” (and its past tense) in common context:

  • “You need to drink to stay hydrated.  Have some more water.”
  • “He drank all the water in the fridge and didn’t fill up the pitcher!”
  • “I drank way too much wine yesterday.”

Synonyms for Drink

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 drink”:

  • Sip is a synonym that means to drink slowly
  • Guzzle is a synonym that means to drink as quickly as possible
  • Swallow is a synonym that is not necessarily specific to liquids but can be used in the same context

In Summary

By reaching the end of this article, you should be fully prepared to use the verb “to drink” and its past tense in any context.  Just know your audience and communicate clearly to them.  If you find its irregularity to be hard to remember, just keep the context in mind, and you will do great.  Good luck!