Drank vs. Drunk – What’s the Difference?

If you are out drinking with your friends and you don’t know the difference between the words drank and drunk, you will sound quite silly. Of course, as your night progresses, you are probably going to sound quite silly anyway.

Still, these words are two conjugations of the verb drink, and, as a writer, you should know how to use them correctly. Verb conjugation is one of the staples of strong writing, and knowing the difference between drank and drunk will also help you conjugate other common verbs.

What is the Difference Between Drank and Drunk?

In this article, I’ll compare drank vs. drunk. I will use each conjugation in a few examples sentences, so you can see it in its proper context.

Plus, I will outline a helpful mnemonic you can use to help you decide whether to choose drank or drunk for your own writing.

When to Use Drank

drank versus drunk What does drank mean? Drank is the simple past tense of the verb drink, which means to swallow liquid.

You can see a few examples in the below sentences,

  • I drank so much grape juice that my teeth turned purple.
  • Sue drank all of her fluids today, and asked for another cup of coffee in the afternoon.
  • When Sylvester was done eating, he drank his chocolate milk quickly.
  • His 1829 inauguration was marked by a wild White House party in which inebriated supporters — a drunken mob, as some saw it — drank whiskey-laden punch and broke china and furniture. –The Washington Post

When to Use Drunk

Definition of drunk definition of drank definitionWhat does drunk mean? Drunk is the past participle form of the same verb. Drunk is used with helping verbs, and it functions as another part of speech: adjective.

Here are some verb examples,

  • I have drunk too much coffee, and now I cannot go to sleep.
  • When Calvin had drunk every last drop of his lemonade, he wiped his mouth and smiled.
  • When all of the egg nog had been drunk, James went to the store to buy more.

Of course, drunk is frequently used as an adjective that means intoxicated by alcohol or some other influencer, like love or power.

Here are a few examples,

  • Don’t buy her any more whiskey sours; she is already too drunk.
  • Drunk on power, the young emperor put one too many dissenters to death, and caused an uprising.
  • We’re either too nerdy or too cool to say it: New Year’s Eve is overrated. The restaurants are too expensive, the parties are too crowded, Times Square is too cold, the couples are too saccharine and the people, everywhere, are too drunk. –Newsweek

Trick to Remember the Difference

Define drunk and define drankHere is a helpful tip to remember drunk vs. drank. If you are describing a person who is under the influence, drunk is the word for you. Drank is not used as an adjective.

Drank is the simple past tense for the verb drink. Since drank and past are both spelled with the letter A, it should be simple to remember that drank is the simple past tense form of this verb.

Summary

Is it drank or drunk? Drank and drunk are two ways to conjugate the verb drink, which means to swallow liquid.

  • Drank is the simple past tense form.
  • Drunk is the past participle form.

As such, drunk can be used as an adjective, where it finds one of its most common applications, meaning intoxicated.

To help you remember which of these words is which, remember that drank, the simple past form, is spelled with an A, just like past.

If you still need help, you can always check this article for a quick refresher.

[i]
[i]