Give vs. Gave: Know the Difference
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on November 17, 2023
Give is the present tense verb meaning to present or hand over something, while Gave is the simple past tense form of Give, used to describe an action already completed.
Give can be part of various verb phrases and is used in present, future, and present perfect tenses. Gave, being in the past tense, is often used with time expressions like "yesterday," "last week," or "in 2010."
When using Give in a sentence, it often implies that the action is happening now or generally, as in "I give him advice regularly." Gave indicates that the action was completed in the past, as in "I gave him advice yesterday."
The verb Give can also be used in different tenses with the help of auxiliary verbs, like "will give" for the future tense. Gave is strictly used for past actions and doesn’t change form; it doesn’t require auxiliary verbs for different past tenses.
In imperative sentences, Give is used for commands or requests, for example, "Give me the book." Gave cannot be used in imperative sentences, as it refers to past actions.
Give is a verb in its base form, used to describe the action of presenting, offering, or providing something to someone. It is used in the present tense for current or habitual actions. Gave, on the other hand, is the simple past tense form of Give. It is used to talk about actions that were completed at a specific time in the past.
"I give her a gift."
"I gave her a gift."
Now or habitual actions.
Completed actions in the past.
Used with "will," "can," etc.
No auxiliary verbs for past tense.
Yes, e.g., "Give me the pen."
No, cannot be used in commands.
Give and Gave Definitions
To hand over something to someone.
Please give me the book.
Bestowed or granted something previously.
The committee gave her an award last year.
To grant or bestow something.
The award is given for excellence.
Past tense of give; handed over something in the past.
She gave me her old bicycle.
To allow someone to have or use something.
I give you permission to leave early.
Provided or supplied something in the past.
He gave a speech at the conference.
To make a present of
We gave her flowers for her birthday.
Past action of offering something without compensation.
We gave our time to help the community.
To place in the hands of; pass
Give me the scissors.
Allowed someone to have or use something in the past.
They gave us permission to enter the building.
To deliver in exchange or recompense; pay
Gave five dollars for the book.
Past tense of give.
To let go for a price; sell
Gave the used car away for two thousand dollars.
Past participle of give
Give him some cough medicine.
To convey by a physical action
Gave me a punch in the nose.
To inflict as punishment
Was given life imprisonment for the crime.
To bestow, especially officially; confer
The Bill of Rights gives us freedom of speech.
To accord or tender to another
Give him your confidence.
To put temporarily at the disposal of
Gave them the cottage for a week.
To entrust to another, usually for a specified reason
Gave me the keys for safekeeping.
To communicate, convey, or offer for conveyance
Give him my best wishes. Give us the latest news.
To endure the loss of; sacrifice
Gave her son to the war.
Gave her life for her country.
To devote or apply completely
Gives herself to her work.
To furnish or contribute
Gave their time to help others.
To offer in good faith; pledge
Give me your word.
To allot as a portion or share.
To bestow (a name, for example).
To attribute (blame, for example) to someone; assign.
To award as due
Gave us first prize.
To emit or utter
Gave a groan.
Gave a muted response.
To submit for consideration, acceptance, or use
Give an opinion.
Give an excuse.
To proffer to another
Gave the toddler my hand.
To consent to engage (oneself) in sexual intercourse with another person.
To perform for an audience
Give a recital.
To present to view
Gave the sign to begin.
To offer as entertainment
Give a dinner party.
To propose as a toast.
To be a source of; afford
His remark gave offense. Music gives her pleasure.
To cause to catch or be subject to (a disease or bodily condition)
The draft gave me a cold.
To guide or direct, as by persuasion or behavior. Used with an infinitive phrase
You gave me to imagine you approved of my report.
To yield or produce
Cows give milk.
To bring forth or bear
Trees that give fruit.
To produce as a result of calculation
5 × 12 gives 60.
To manifest or show
Gives promise of brilliance.
Gave evidence of tampering.
To carry out (a physical movement)
Give a wink.
Give a start.
To permit one to have or take
Gave us an hour to finish.
To take an interest to the extent of
"My dear, I don't give a damn" (Margaret Mitchell).
To make gifts or donations
Gives generously to charity.
To yield to physical force
The sail gave during the storm.
To collapse from force or pressure
The roof gave under the weight of the snow.
To yield to change
Both sides will have to give on some issues.
To afford access or a view; open
The doors give onto a terrace.
(Slang) To be in progress; happen
Capacity or inclination to yield under pressure.
The quality or condition of resilience; springiness
"Fruits that have some give ... will have more juice than hard ones" (Elizabeth Schneider).
(ditransitive) To move, shift, provide something abstract or concrete to someone or something or somewhere.
To transfer one's possession or holding of (something) to (someone).
I gave him my coat.
I gave my coat to the beggar.
When they asked, I gave my coat.
To make a present or gift of.
I'm going to give my wife a necklace for her birthday.
She gave a pair of shoes to her husband for their anniversary.
He gives of his energies to the organization.
I gave him my word that I'd protect his children.
To provide (something) to (someone), to allow or afford.
I gave them permission to miss tomorrow's class.
Please give me some more time.
To cause (a sensation or feeling) to exist in.
It gives me a lot of pleasure to be here tonight.
The fence gave me an electric shock.
My mother-in-law gives me nothing but grief.
To carry out (a physical interaction) with (something).
I want to give you a kiss.
She gave him a hug.
I'd like to give the tire a kick.
I gave the boy a push on the swing.
She gave me a wink afterwards, so I knew she was joking.
To pass (something) into (someone's hand, etc.).
Give me your hand.
On entering the house, he gave his coat to the doorman.
To cause (a disease or condition) in, or to transmit (a disease or condition) to.
My boyfriend gave me chlamydia.
He was convinced that it was his alcoholism that gave him cancer.
(transitive) To provide, as, a service or a broadcast.
They're giving my favorite show!
(ditransitive) To estimate or predict (a duration or probability) for (something).
I give it ten minutes before he gives up.
I give it a 95% chance of success.
I'll give their marriage six months.
(intransitive) To yield or collapse under pressure or force.
One pillar gave, then more, and suddenly the whole floor pancaked onto the floor below.
(intransitive) To lead (onto or into).
The master bedroom gives onto a spacious balcony.
To provide a view of.
His window gave the park.
To exhibit as a product or result; to produce; to yield.
The number of men, divided by the number of ships, gives four hundred to each ship.
To cause; to make; used with the infinitive.
To cause (someone) to have; produce in (someone); effectuate.
To allow or admit by way of supposition; to concede.
He can be bad-tempered, I'll give you that, but he's a hard worker.
To attribute; to assign; to adjudge.
To communicate or announce (advice, tidings, etc.); to pronounce or utter (an opinion, a judgment, a shout, etc.).
The umpire finally gave his decision: the ball was out.
To grant power, permission, destiny, etc. (especially to a person); to allot; to allow.
(reflexive) To devote or apply (oneself).
The soldiers give themselves to plunder.
That boy is given to fits of bad temper.
(obsolete) To become soft or moist.
(obsolete) To shed tears; to weep.
(obsolete) To have a misgiving.
(slang) To be going on, to be occurring; what gives?
Your outfit is giving!
The amount of bending that something undergoes when a force is applied to it; a tendency to yield under pressure; resilence.
This chair doesn't have much give.
There is no give in his dogmatic religious beliefs.
To bestow without receiving a return; to confer without compensation; to impart, as a possession; to grant, as authority or permission; to yield up or allow.
For generous lords had rather give than pay.
To yield possesion of; to deliver over, as property, in exchange for something; to pay; as, we give the value of what we buy.
What shall a man give in exchange for his soul ?
To yield; to furnish; to produce; to emit; as, flint and steel give sparks.
To communicate or announce, as advice, tidings, etc.; to pronounce; to render or utter, as an opinion, a judgment, a sentence, a shout, etc.
To grant power or license to; to permit; to allow; to license; to commission.
It is given me once again to behold my friend.
Then give thy friend to shed the sacred wine.
To exhibit as a product or result; to produce; to show; as, the number of men, divided by the number of ships, gives four hundred to each ship.
To devote; to apply; used reflexively, to devote or apply one's self; as, the soldiers give themselves to plunder; also in this sense used very frequently in the past participle; as, the people are given to luxury and pleasure; the youth is given to study.
To set forth as a known quantity or a known relation, or as a premise from which to reason; - used principally in the passive form given.
To allow or admit by way of supposition.
I give not heaven for lost.
To attribute; to assign; to adjudge.
I don't wonder at people's giving him to me as a lover.
To excite or cause to exist, as a sensation; as, to give offense; to give pleasure or pain.
To pledge; as, to give one's word.
To cause; to make; - with the infinitive; as, to give one to understand, to know, etc.
But there the duke was given to understandThat in a gondola were seen togetherLorenzo and his amorous Jessica.
To afford a view of; as, his window gave the park.
Whatsoever we employ in charitable uses during our lives, is given away from ourselves.
I fear our ears have given us the bag.
One that gives out himself Prince Florizel.
Give out you are of Epidamnum.
The Babylonians had given themselves over to all manner of vice.
He has . . . given upFor certain drops of salt, your city Rome.
I'll not state themBy giving up their characters.
To give a gift or gifts.
To yield to force or pressure; to relax; to become less rigid; as, the earth gives under the feet.
To become soft or moist.
To move; to recede.
Now back he gives, then rushes on amain.
To shed tears; to weep.
Whose eyes do never giveBut through lust and laughter.
To have a misgiving.
My mind gives ye're reservedTo rob poor market women.
To open; to lead.
This, yielding, gave into a grassy walk.
They gave back and came no farther.
The Scots battalion was enforced to give in.
This consideration may induce a translator to give in to those general phrases.
Rooms which gave upon a pillared porch.
The gloomy staircase on which the grating gave.
It would be well for all authors, if they knew when to give over, and to desist from any further pursuits after fame.
The elasticity of something that can be stretched and returns to its original length
Cause to have, in the abstract sense or physical sense;
She gave him a black eye
The draft gave me a cold
Be the cause or source of;
He gave me a lot of trouble
Our meeting afforded much interesting information
Transfer possession of something concrete or abstract to somebody;
I gave her my money
Can you give me lessons?
She gave the children lots of love and tender loving care
Convey or reveal information;
Give one's name
Convey, as of a compliment, regards, attention, etc.; bestow;
Don't pay him any mind
Give the orders
Give him my best regards
Organize or be responsible for;
Hold a reception
Have, throw, or make a party
Give a course
Convey or communicate; of a smile, a look, a physical gesture;
Throw a glance
She gave me a dirty look
Give as a present; make a gift of;
What will you give her for her birthday?
His two singles gave the team the victory
Give thought to
Give priority to
Pay attention to
Give or supply;
The cow brings in 5 liters of milk
This year's crop yielded 1,000 bushels of corn
The estate renders some revenue for the family
Tell or deposit (information) knowledge;
Give a secret to the Russians
Leave your name and address here
The trompe l'oeil-illusion establishes depth
Leave with; give temporarily;
Can I give you my keys while I go in the pool?
Can I give you the children for the weekend?
Emit or utter;
Give a gulp
Give a yelp
Endure the loss of;
He gave his life for his children
I gave two sons to the war
Place into the hands or custody of;
Hand me the spoon, please
Turn the files over to me, please
He turned over the prisoner to his lawyers
Give entirely to a specific person, activity, or cause;
She committed herself to the work of God
Give one's talents to a good cause
Consecrate your life to the church
Give (as medicine);
I gave him the drug
Give or convey physically;
She gave him First Aid
I gave him a punch in the nose
Bestow, especially officially;
Grant a degree
Give a divorce
This bill grants us new rights
Move in order to make room for someone for something;
The park gave way to a supermarket
`Move over,' he told the crowd
Give food to;
Feed the starving children in India
Don't give the child this tough meat
Contribute to some cause;
I gave at the office
Break down, literally or metaphorically;
The wall collapsed
The business collapsed
The dam broke
The roof collapsed
The wall gave in
The roof finally gave under the weight of the ice
Estimate the duration or outcome of something;
He gave the patient three months to live
I gave him a very good chance at success
Execute and deliver;
Deliver in exchange or recompense;
I'll give you three books for four CDs
Afford access to;
The door opens to the patio
The French doors give onto a terrace
Present to view;
He gave the sign to start
Perform for an audience;
Pollini is giving another concert in New York
Be flexible under stress of physical force;
This material doesn't give
He gave the first of many toasts at the birthday party
Legal use: accord by verdict;
Give a decision for the plaintiff
Manifest or show;
This student gives promise of real creativity
The office gave evidence of tampering
Offer in good faith;
He gave her his word
Submit for consideration, judgment, or use;
Give one's opinion
Give an excuse
Guide or direct, as by behavior of persuasion;
You gave me to think that you agreed with me
Allow to have or take;
I give you two minutes to respond
Inflict as a punishment;
She gave the boy a good spanking
The judge gave me 10 years
Consent to engage in sexual intercourse with a man;
She gave herself to many men
Proffer (a body part);
She gave her hand to her little sister
To present something voluntarily without expecting compensation.
I give to charity every month.
To provide or supply something.
The teacher gives homework daily.
Repeatedly Asked Queries
Can 'give' be used in questions?
Yes, e.g., "Can you give me the book?"
Can 'give' be used for future actions?
Yes, with auxiliary verbs like "will" (e.g., "I will give").
Is 'gave' ever used in the present tense?
No, 'gave' is exclusively past tense.
What is the verb tense of 'give'?
It is the present tense.
What tense is 'gave'?
It is the simple past tense.
What is the infinitive form of 'gave'?
The infinitive form is 'to give'.
How is 'give' used in imperative sentences?
As a command or request, like "Give me the pen."
What is a synonym for 'give'?
Present, bestow, or provide.
Can 'gave' be used in passive voice?
Yes, e.g., "The trophy was given annually."
What is the noun form of 'give'?
The noun form is 'giving'.
Is 'give' used in passive voice?
Yes, e.g., "The trophy is given annually."
Can 'give' form a gerund?
Yes, 'giving' can be a gerund.
Can 'gave' be used in future tense?
No, 'gave' is only used in the past tense.
Is there a noun form for 'gave'?
No, 'gave' does not have a noun form.
Can 'give' be part of a phrasal verb?
Yes, like 'give up' or 'give in'.
What is a synonym for 'gave'?
Presented, bestowed, or provided (in the past tense).
Is there a phrasal verb form for 'gave'?
Yes, in the past tense, like 'gave up' or 'gave in'.
Is 'gave' used in continuous tenses?
No, 'gave' is not used in continuous tenses.
How is 'give' used in continuous tenses?
With an -ing form, e.g., "I am giving a speech."
Does 'gave' have a gerund form?
No, 'gave' does not have a gerund form.
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Written byShumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.