Past Tense Of Seek: Sought or Seeked? (Pronunciation & Usage)

By Benjamin Essek

What Is The Past Tense Of Seek?

The past tense for seek is sought. The verb seek is classified as an irregular verb, so it does not follow the rules of -ed verb conjugation. To remember the V2 of seek, you need to learn it by heart.

The verb seek also has other conjugated forms such as seeks in the third person singular in present tense and seeking in the present participle form.

The past participle of seek is sought, the same as seek past tense. However, the V3 form of seek needs to be followed by auxiliary verbs such as has, have, and had. You can take a glimpse at the table below to get other verb conjugations of seek.

Simple Present He/She/It seeks

I/You/We/They seek

Present Continuous He/She/It is seeking

I am seeking

You/We/They are seeking

Present Perfect He/She/It has sought

I/You/We/They have sought

Present Perfect Continuous He/She/It has been seeking

I/You/We/They have been seeking

Simple Past He/She/It/I/You/We/They sought
Past Continuous I/He/She/It was seeking

You/We/They were seeking

Past Perfect He/She/It/I/You/We/They had sought
Past Perfect Continuous He/She/It/I/You/We/They had been seeking
Simple Future He/She/It/I/You/We/They will/shall seek
Future Continuous He/She/It/I/You/We/They will/shall be seeking
Future Perfect He/She/It/I/You/We/They will/shall have sought
Future Perfect Continuous He/She/It/I/You/We/They will/shall have been seeking

How to pronounce seek or sought as naturally and correctly as native speakers? The below videos may help you.

How to spell seek:

How to say sought:



According to the Oxford Dictionary, the IPA transcription of seek is /siːk/, and of sought is /sɔːt/. You can watch the table below to make it clearer.

Form of word



seek /siːk/



/sɔːt/ /sɔːt/
sought /sɔːt/


Definitions And How To Use Sought?

What are the meanings of seek? According to Oxford Dictionary, the English verb seek has the following meanings:

  • To look for/find or get somebody/something

Example: Do you see a middle-aged woman around here? She is seeking the lost cat. I received a notification that someone had found the cat and wanted to contact her immediately.

  • To ask for advice, help, approval, permission, etc.

Example: It is best to seek advice from your family and a psychologist before doing anything on your own. I think they will help you with your treatment and make your condition better.

  • To try or attempt to do something

Example: I heard strong protests from the street protests. Pressure from public opinion and the people made the government seek for measures to reassure the masses.

  • To search for or try to obtain something

Example: Although she is working hard to seek a position that matches her experience and abilities, no company or business is hiring her. The reason is that the position she chose is very competitive, but she doesn’t stand out.

What about sought definition? Sought has the same meaning as its base form. The key difference is that seek in past tense is used to talk about things that happened in the past, before the time of speaking. You can check out the examples about sought in a sentence below for more details.


  • Last year he applied for a position related to real estate at a company in the area and had a stable job for 1 year. Earlier this year, I heard he quit his job and put everything behind to care for his seriously ill grandfather.
  • Although she has often sought approval from her superiors, her plan has not been approved. The main reason is that the company’s budget is insufficient to carry out such a large project.
  • The government sought possible measures to minimize costs related to the health sector. However, these measures are only temporary and require a major shift from the world’s major economies.


Choose the correct verb tense to fill in the (a), (b), and (c):

  1. Last week my mother (a) the top 10 most popular tourist destinations in Italy and is preparing for our family trip next month. I’m very excited because it’s been a long time since my family went on a trip together.

A. seek

B. seeks

C. sought

D. seeking

(The correct answer: C)

2. The number of unemployed people in 2020 has increased to a record level. Governments and businesses have collaborated and (b) optimal solutions to this problem.

A. seek

B. sought

C. seeking

D. seeks

(The correct answer: B)

3. Jane: What is she doing?

Jinny: She is meditating. Last week she sought advice from a doctor and was suggested to meditate for an hour a day to relieve stress caused by working too much.

Jane: Hope she gets well soon.

A. sought

B. seek

C. seeks

D. seeking

(The correct answer: A)


What Are Synonyms And Antonyms Of Seek?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the seek or sought synonym are:

pursue, hunt, look up, chase down, look for, search for, search out, request, desire, require, urge, invite, demand, invoke, importune, claim, bespeak, enjoin, sue/plead (for), speak/call (for), ask/apply (for), beg/wish (for), try, attempt, strive, endeavor, shoot at, hope, struggle, aim, and undertake.

The antonyms of seek are: hide, lose, ignore, neglect, drop, quit, and give up.

Is Seek An Intransitive Or Transitive Verb?

The verb seek is both intransitive and transitive when it means to look for something/somebody. It is classified as a transitive verb when its meaning is to ask somebody for something, to try to obtain or achieve something.