'Miss' or 'Missed': What's the Difference?

By Amy Gilmore, updated on May 8, 2023

Are you stuck trying to choose whether to use 'miss' or 'missed?' You aren't alone. Both words have the same meaning. However, you use them in different ways. So, I created this guide with a comprehensive explanation, definitions, usage tips, and example sentences.

Are you looking for a quick answer? 

If so, here it is: 

  • 'Miss' is a verb, noun, and an abbreviation meaning fail to hit the mark, accomplish a goal, or to long for someone. 
  • 'Missed' is the first, second, and third-person past tense form of 'miss.' 
  • The proper form of 'miss' to depends on the tense and part of speech. 

That is the short answer, but there is much more to it. So, keep reading until the end to learn exactly how and when to use 'miss' and 'missed'.

When to Use 'Miss' or 'Missed'

As I mentioned above, the correct choice between 'miss' or 'missed' depends on how you use it.

So, how do you know which to use and when?

Use 'miss' if you're saying that you long for someone.

For example, you could say:

Every time you go out of town, I miss you terribly. 

  • You can also use it in the first, second, or third person present tense to say that you are not accomplishing something.

For example, I might say something like:

You miss the basket every time you shoot from the three-point line.  

  • Use 'missed' if you are speaking about an event where you or someone else did not see or meet up with someone.

For example, someone could say:

You were missed at the event on Saturday evening. 

  • You also use 'missed' to discuss an opportunity you did not get.

For example, I might say:

The missed opportunity was a massive blow to the team. Without the win, they do not have a chance of making it to regionals. 

How to Use 'Miss' or 'Missed' Properly

'Miss' is typically a verb but can also be a noun or an abbreviation. 'Missed' is a verb. However, it is not commonly used as a noun or abbreviation. Furthermore, you use 'miss' in the present and 'missed' in the past tense.

For example:

  • If you 'miss' your appointment, you will have 'missed' your opportunity to talk to the doctor for at least six weeks.
  • You 'missed' (verb) your appointment after the near 'miss' (noun) you had the other day.

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

'Miss' and 'missed' both have the same meaning. They are just two different tenses of the same word. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 'miss' means:

  • Failure to hit, reach, or make contact

It can also mean:

  • Failure to attend
  • Failure to attend
  • Omit
  • Leave out
  • Long for
  • Realize the absence of
  • To avoid
  • To escape
  • To avoid
  • Fail to acquire
  • Fail to realize
  • Fail to comprehend
  • Misunderstand

Phrases Containing 'Miss'

  • Miss America
  • Miss Universe
  • Miss the mark
  • Miss your chance
  • Miss your opportunity
  • Miss you
  • Miss me
  • A near miss
  • Miss me, miss me, now you have to kiss me
  • You shouldn't miss it
  • You miss 100% of shots you don't take
  • Ol' Miss

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

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

  • 'Missed' is the past tense form of 'miss.'

However, it is not a conjunction or a noun. It means:

  • An opportunity not realized
  • Failed to meet up with some
  • To have longed for someone
  • Failure to hit a target

Phrases Containing 'Missed'

  • Missed the mark
  • Missed the shot
  • Missed call
  • Missed appointment
  • Missed call
  • Missed connection
  • Missed the chance
  • Missed deal
  • Missed opportunity
  • Missed pickup
  • Missed flight
  • Missed by a mile

Other 'Miss' and 'Missed' Grammar Rules

There are many ways to use 'miss' and 'missed.' So, there are some additional grammar rules you should know.

'Miss' Abbreviations

'Miss' can also be an abbreviation. It is commonly used as a shortened version of missus in greetings and salutations.

For example:

Hello 'Miss' Susie, It is a pleasure to meet you.

It is also used as an abbreviation of Mississippi.

For example:

The 'Miss.' State Board will meet this Friday at 9 a.m.

'Miss' Compound Words

There are many compound words made with 'miss.' However, when you create a compound word, you drop the 's' at the end of 'miss.'

For example:

  • Misshapen
  • Misshape
  • Misstep
  • Misspoke
  • Misspoken
  • Misunderstanding
  • Misunderstand
  • Misunderstood
  • Mishap
  • Mistake
  • Mistaken
  • Misfire
  • Misfortune
  • Misfit
  • Mismanage

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce 'Miss' and 'Missed'

Now that you understand the different ways to use these two words let's explore how to pronounce them.

Here is a brief guide:

  • You can use this phonetic spelling to pronounce 'miss' correctly:


  • You pronounce 'missed' according to this phonetic spelling:


Examples of 'Miss' and 'Missed' Used in a Sentence

Now you know how to use and say 'miss' and 'missed.' So, review these example sentences to ensure you know how to use both in sentences.


  • How often do you miss your mom? I have been missing mine since I moved on campus.
  • Miss me when you are gone. I will miss you.
  • The coach will not be upset if you miss the basket, but he will be mad if you miss the opportunity to shoot your shot.
  • I miss you so much. I hope you come to visit soon.
  • Did you miss your high school reunion?
  • Good luck with your future endeavors. We will miss you.


  • She felt depressed after she missed the opportunity to apply for her dream job.
  • The missed court date will cost you dearly.
  • The sales associate missed the mark on that color match.
  • You missed answers five through eight on the exam. You didn't answer them.
  • You missed all of the action last night.
  • How many people missed the reunion?
  • I missed you so much while you were away.


  • You missed our debut performance, but hopefully, we won't miss you again tonight.
  • I miss you. I would have made the trip if you had told me you missed me.
  • You may have missed the mark in the past. However, with preparation, you will not miss it again.

Final Advice on the Whether to Use 'Miss' or 'Missed'

Hopefully, you know whether to use 'miss' or 'missed.' However, here is a quick review:

  • 'Miss' is a verb, conjunction, or noun that means to fail or recognize the absence of something.
  • 'Missed' is the first, second, or third person past tense verb form of 'miss.'

Basically, the appropriate word choice depends on the tense and part of speech you are using.

If you get mixed up in the future, come back here for a quick review. While you are here, read the other guides on confusing words to learn the correct usage of popular words and phrases.

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Written By:
Amy Gilmore
Amy Gilmore is one of the lead freelance writers for WritingTips.org. She has been a professional writer and editor for the past eight years. She developed a love of language arts and literature in school and decided to become a professional freelance writer after a demanding career in real estate. Amy is constantly learning to become a better writer and loves sharing tips with other writers who want to do the same.

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