When to use DRANK vs. DRUNK

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Is the past tense of drink “drinked” or “drank“? When should you use the word drank vs. drunk? Let’s learn about drink, drank, drunk and when to use each one!

Before we get into when to use these, let’s make sure we practice the pronunciation of drank and drunk, because these are pronounced differently.

How to pronounce DRANK and DRUNK

DRANK has an “ank” sound just like in the words bank, thank, and ankle.

Let’s practice – repeat after me:





DRUNK has the “unk” sound like in chunk, skunk, and trunk.

Let’s try it:





Now try to make the difference:





OK, I hope that little bit of practice helped you pronounce them correctly!


The past tense of drink is drank, not drinked.

For regular verbs in English, we form the past tense by adding -ED. But drink is an irregular verb, so the correct past tense is drank. We never use “drinked” – it’s not a word in English!


These are both forms of the verb drink. When should we use each one?

Drink is the present tense, drank is the simple past, and drunk is the past participle.

So we could say:

  • I always drink coffee in the morning. (that’s the simple present tense, used for something we do frequently or regularly)
  • Yesterday I drank some tea. (that’s the simple past tense, used for an action at a specific time in the past – yesterday)
  • I’ve never drunk whiskey. (this is the present perfect tense – have + the past participle drunk – referring to something I’ve done, or in this case never done, at an unspecified time in the past)

Make sure you know when to use the simple past vs. the present perfect.

Some students wonder if we should say have drank or have drunk. Which is correct?

“Have” is the helping verb for the present perfect tense, and we form the present perfect by using have/has + the past participle. The past participle of drink is drunk. So we always say have drunk, never “have drank.”

When used as a verb, I drink, yesterday I drank, I’ve never drunk, these can be used for any beverage: water, soda, coffee, juice, beer, vodka, and so on.

When to use DRANK vs. DRUNK Espresso English

Drunk = Intoxicated with alcohol

Now the word drunk also has another use which is actually much more common – and this is as an adjective describing when someone has had too much alcohol, and their behavior is affected by the alcohol.

When we use drunk to mean “intoxicated with alcohol,” we use it with a form of the verb “to be,” so we can say:

  • He‘s drunk.
  • My cousins were drunk last night.

When to use DRANK vs. DRUNK Espresso English

We can also use it with the verb “get” to describe the process of drinking alcohol to the point of being intoxicated. For example:

  • Those college students are always getting drunk on the weekends.
  • Bob likes to get drunk before going to the nightclub.

So saying someone “is/was” drunk describes their status of being intoxicated, and saying someone is getting drunk describes the process of drinking a lot of alcohol in order to reach the point of intoxication.

Another common expression is to talk about drunk driving – driving a vehicle with too much alcohol in your body, so it harms your ability and judgment. Someone who does this is called a drunk driver. Drunk driving is a crime and it’s extremely dangerous.

When to use DRANK vs. DRUNK Espresso English

OK? So now you know how to use drunk vs. drank:

Use drank when talking about drinking anything in the past. Try to put it into practice – what was the last thing you drank? I drank some orange juice this morning.

And the word drunk CAN be used as the past participle of drink, but its more common use is to describe someone who is intoxicated with too much alcohol. What do you think – do you enjoy getting drunk, or do you dislike it? Try to write a sentence or two putting this word into practice as well.

If you want to learn more about confusing English words like drank or drunk – how to understand them clearly and use them correctly – check out my e-book called 600+ Confusing English Words Explained.

It covers TONS of words that are often mixed up by English learners. I’ll explain these words to you and include examples to make them perfectly clear.

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Clear up your doubts about confusing words… and use English more confidently!

When to use DRANK vs. DRUNK Espresso English

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