Drink, Drank, or Drunk?

The Quick Answer
What is the difference between drank and drunk?

Drank is the simple past tense of to drink. For example:
  • I drank it too quickly.
Drunk is the past participle of to drink (i.e., the version used with have). For example:
  • I have drunk too much.
A drunk is a person who drinks to excess. The adjective drunk means intoxicated.

Drank or Drunk?

Some writers are unsure whether to use drank or drunk. The table below summarizes drank and drunk:

VerbPast TensePast Participle
to drinkdrankhave drunk

However, the writers' confusion is understandable because there is some overlap in how the two words are used. More specifically, drank (which is the simple past tense of to drink) can also be used as the past participle (even though using drank for the past participle is increasingly seen as an error).

Here are some example sentences with drank or drunk:
  • I drank a coffee.
  • (Here, drank is the simple past tense.)
  • I have drunk a coffee.
  • (Here, drunk is a past participle.)
  • I have drank a coffee.
  • (Here, drank is being used as a past participle. This is increasingly seen as an error.)

Drank

Drank is the simple past tense of to drink. For example:
  • I drank too much when I was in my twenties.
  • I drank some boiling water because I wanted to whistle.

Drunk

Drunk is the past participle of to drink. In other words, it is the version used with to have (e.g., I have drunk a lot). For example:
  • I'd rather have drunk from the spittoon in Barney's barber shop.
  • (Drunk is a past participle.)
As well as being used to form verb tenses (i.e., being used as a participle with have), the word drunk is also an adjective and a noun. For example:
  • A man's true character comes out when he's drunk.
  • (Here, drunk is an adjective.)
  • The best research for playing a drunk is being a British actor for 20 years.
  • (Here, drunk is a noun.)
Be aware that some dictionaries still list drank as an alternative past participle to drunk. We would recommend, however, that you use drunk as the past participle.

See Also

adverse or averse? affect or effect? appraise or apprise? avenge or revenge? bare or bear? complement or compliment? dependant or dependent? discreet or discrete? disinterested or uninterested? e.g. or i.e.? envy or jealousy? imply or infer? its or it's? material or materiel? poisonous or venomous? practice or practise? principal or principle? tenant or tenet? who's or whose?
What are nouns? What are adjectives? What are verbs? What is the simple past? List of easily confused words