There’s nothing wrong with using this word—except when it’s redundant. And that’s where we find most of the goofs in our speech.

How often have you heard the phrases “past history” or “past experience”? Probably far too often, and likely often enough that we no longer feel the damage it’s doing to our brains.

Think about it. “History” is all in the past, isn’t it? So “past history” is redundant, right?

How about our experiences? As far as I’m aware, I’ve never had a future experience. Come to think of it, all my experiences have been in the past. (I’m assuming yours have been, too. So to say “past experience” is redundant, too.)

So let’s just say things like “History tells us…” and “From my experience…”. And yes, you have my permission to ask folks about any future history or future experiences when they use “past” redundantly!