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‘Took’ vs ‘Taken’: What’s the Difference?

Shaun Connell
May 21, 2024

If you want to explain the difference between 'took' vs. 'taken,' you came to the right place.

Here is the short version in case you are short on time: 

  • 'Took' is the past tense form of the verb 'take.'
  • 'Taken' is the past participle form of the verb 'take.'

If you want to learn more about how and when to use these forms of take, keep reading!

What is the Difference Between 'Took' vs. 'Taken?'

'Took' is the simple past tense form of the verb take, while 'taken' is the past participle form. The way you use these words is different.

You can use 'took' on its own, for example:

  • I took
  • He took
  • She took

'Taken' requires another verb, for example:

  • It was taken
  • You were taken
  • He has taken

Definition of 'Took': What Does 'Took' Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition of 'took' is:

  • The past-tense form of take

Synonyms of 'Took'

  • Held
  • Caught
  • Grasped
  • Clasped
  • Gripped
  • Snatched
  • Gripped
  • Clutched
  • Clung to
  • Hung on to
  • Seized
  • Nabbed
  • Clenched
  • Hung on to

Definition of 'Taken': What Does 'Taken' Mean?

The same defines 'taken' as:

Synonyms of 'Taken'

  • Held
  • Gripped
  • Snatched
  • Hung on to
  • Seized
  • Clasped
  • Grasped
  • Clung to
  • Hung on to
  • Snatched
  • Caught
  • Nabbed
  • Clenched
  • Clutched
  • Held on to

Definition of 'Take': What Does 'Take' Mean?

Because these two words are forms of 'take' we will look at the definition of 'take,' as well.

The definition of the verb 'take' is:

  • To get into one's possession or to get into one's hands, power, or control
  • To capture or seize physically
  • To get possession by capturing or killing
  • To move against and remove an opponent's piece from play
  • To win a hand in a card game
  • To acquire something through eminent domain
  • To grip or grasp
  • To attack or catch by a sudden force or influence
  • To come upon or catch in a particular action or situation
  • To delight or captivate
  • To swallow, drink, or inhale into one's body
  • To go into water, air, sun, etc. for pleasure
  • To receive or bring into a relationship or connection
  • To eat or partake of
  • To transfer into one's possession or keeping
  • To appropriate
  • To bind one's self by
  • To impose upon one's self
  • To defeat
  • To select or choose
  • To adopt, avail, or choose
  • To occupy
  • To require or need something specific
  • To draw or obtain
  • To receive willfully or reluctantly
  • To endure or submit to
  • To follow
  • To admit or let in
  • To suppose
  • To consider
  • To accept or reckon
  • To cause to move into a different state, sphere of activity, or condition
  • To remove

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce 'Took' vs. 'Taken'

When it comes to terms like these, it is important to pronounce them accurately. Otherwise, your audience may not understand your message.

So, here is a pronunciation guide you can reference.

  • Use this phonetic spelling to pronounce 'took':


  • Use this phonetic spelling to pronounce 'taken':


Writing Tips: When and How to Use 'Took' vs. 'Taken'

You learned the difference between 'took' and 'taken'; however, you may still wonder how to use each. So, here are some tips.

  • Use 'took' when the subject comes directly before the verb.

For example, you could say:

We took a trip to Europe last summer. 

  • Use 'taken' when an auxiliary verb comes before the term.

So, I might say something like:

The valuables were taken by the thief. 

  • Use 'took' or 'taken' to say that someone won something.

As an example, you could say:

The team took the win. 


The win was taken by the Eagles.  

  • Use 'took' or 'taken' to say that someone ingested something.

For example, I might say:

He took the medicine with a drink of water. 


She has already taken all of the medicine the doctor prescribed. 

  • Use 'took' to say that information was received.

As an example, you can say:

He took the writing prompt and turned it into a best-selling novel

Sample Sentences Using 'Took' vs. 'Taken'

Now, read through these sample sentences to ensure you understand and remember how to use each term correctly.


  • He learned how to write a low-content ebook when he took the writing class.
  • She took the candy I left on the table and ate it all before I got to try it.
  • Once, I took something that wasn't mine and felt horrible about it.
  • After we took down the information, we began processing the order.
  • Please tell me if you took the documents off the counter because I can't find them anywhere.
  • She took the test on the 31st of January and received her score the next week.


  • All of the information needed to admit the administrator took the student.
  • Have you ever taken something that was not yours?
  • He has taken everything he learned and used it to improve his work.
  • Angela was taken to a secret destination when she entered the witness protection program.
  • He has taken great lengths to conceal his identity, which adds to the interest in his brand.
  • She received a ninety on the test she had taken on the 21st of September.

Conclusion: 'Took' vs. 'Taken'

That concludes this lesson. However, we covered a ton of information. So, here is a recap of what you learned about the difference between 'took' vs. 'taken': 

  • 'Took' is the simple past tense form of the verb take. 
  • 'Taken' is the past participle form of the verb take. 
  • You use 'took' when the subject proceeds the verb. 
  • You use 'taken' when an auxiliary verb comes before the past participle.

You should be an expert on the difference between these terms now. But in the future, if you have trouble remembering which of these terms to use, you can always return to this lesson for a quick review.

You can also learn about other frequently misused, mispronounced, and misspelled terms here. If you are interested in pursuing a career as a freelance writer, take a look at some of the posts here for aspiring writers for help creating a portfolio, pitching ideas, and other related topics.

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Written By:
Shaun Connell
Shaun Connell has spent his entire career either working as a freelance writer or hiring freelance writers for his many successful publications. Shaun has learned the exact tricks of the trade to hire the perfect writer for almost any niche.

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