Build vs. Built — What's the Difference?
By Tayyaba Rehman — Updated on September 22, 2023
"Build" is the base form of the verb meaning to construct, while "built" is the past tense and past participle form of the same verb.
Difference Between Build and Built
Moreover, while "build" often combines with helping verbs to create various tenses (like "will build" for future tense), "built" stands independently when referring to the past. For instance, "They build models" is in the present, whereas "They built models" refers to the past.
On the other hand, "built" steps in when referring to an action that has already taken place in the past. Using "built" in a sentence, such as "She built a sandcastle," illustrates a completed action, indicating that the sandcastle was made sometime earlier.
Furthermore, it's essential to recognize that "built" also functions as a past participle. This means it can team up with auxiliary verbs to form perfect tenses, such as in the sentence "They have built a new bridge," indicating the action of construction has recently been completed.
In the vast realm of English verbs, "build" and "built" signify different temporal stages of the action of construction. "Build" serves as the present tense, indicating an ongoing or future action. For instance, saying, "I will build a house," signifies a future intention.
Indicates ongoing or future action
Indicates completed action
Often used with helping verbs
Can stand alone or with auxiliary verbs
Refers to an action yet to be or being done
Refers to an action already done
To construct or make something.
They plan to build a new mall downtown.
Constructed or made in the past.
She built a treehouse for her kids.
To accumulate or gather.
Rain clouds began to build in the sky.
Developed or established previously.
They built a strong community spirit.
To form by combining materials or parts; construct.
Created or achieved over a previous time.
She had built a reputation for being reliable.
To order, finance, or supervise the construction of
The administration built several new housing projects.
Formed or shaped in the past using materials.
The kids built a fortress out of pillows.
To develop or give form to according to a plan or process; create
Build a nation.
Built a successful business out of their corner grocery store.
Past tense and past participle of build.
To increase or strengthen by adding gradually to
Money building interest in a savings account.
Build support for a political candidate.
Having a specified physique
A heavily built boxer.
To establish a basis for; found or ground
Build an argument on fact.
(Informal) Having a well-developed or attractive body
A dancer who is really built.
To make something by combining materials or parts.
Vulgar Slang Large-breasted.
To engage in the construction or design of buildings
"Each of the three architects built in a different style" (Dwight Macdonald).
(informal) well-built, muscular or toned.
To develop in magnitude or extent
Clouds building on the horizon.
(obsolete) Shape; build; form of structure.
The built of a ship
To progress toward a maximum, as of intensity
Suspense building from the opening scene to the climax.
Inflection of build
The physical makeup of a person or thing, especially one's physique
An athletic build.
Shape; build; form of structure; as, the built of a ship.
(Computers) Any of various versions of a software product as it is being developed for release to users.
Formed; shaped; constructed; made; - often used in composition and preceded by the word denoting the form; as, frigate-built, clipper-built, etc.
Like the generality of Genoese countrywomen, strongly built.
(transitive) To form (something) by combining materials or parts.
(used of soaps or cleaning agents) having a substance (an abrasive or filler) added to increase effectiveness;
The built liquid detergents
(transitive) To develop or give form to (something) according to a plan or process.
Formed by fitting or joining components together
(transitive) To increase or strengthen (something) by adding gradually to.
Well or attractively formed with respect to physique
(transitive) To establish a basis for (something).
Accumulated or gathered in the past.
Tension built up during the meeting.
(intransitive) To form by combining materials or parts.
(intransitive) To develop in magnitude or extent.
To construct (software) by compiling its source code.
To be converted into software by compilation, usually with minimal human intervention.
This code won’t build any more. Have you made any changes?
The physique of a human or animal body, or other object; constitution or structure.
Rugby players are of sturdy build.
Any of various versions of a software product as it is being developed for release to users.
The computer company has introduced a new prototype build to beta testers.
A structure, such as a building, statue, pool or forest, or a configuration of a character's items or skills, created by the player.
I made a build that looked like the Parthenon in that game.
To erect or construct, as an edifice or fabric of any kind; to form by uniting materials into a regular structure; to fabricate; to make; to raise.
Nor aught availed him nowTo have built in heaven high towers.
To raise or place on a foundation; to form, establish, or produce by using appropriate means.
Who builds his hopes in air of your good looks.
To increase and strengthen; to increase the power and stability of; to settle, or establish, and preserve; - frequently with up; as, to build up one's constitution.
I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up.
To exercise the art, or practice the business, of building.
To rest or depend, as on a foundation; to ground one's self or one's hopes or opinions upon something deemed reliable; to rely; as, to build on the opinions or advice of others.
Form or mode of construction; general figure; make; as, the build of a ship; a great build on a man.
Constitution of the human body
Alternative names for the body of a human being;
Leonardo studied the human body
He has a strong physique
The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak
Make by combining materials and parts;
This little pig made his house out of straw
Some eccentric constructed an electric brassiere warmer
Form or accumulate steadily;
Resistance to the manager's plan built up quickly
Pressure is building up at the Indian-Pakistani border
Build or establish something abstract;
Build a reputation
Improve the cleansing action of;
Order, supervise, or finance the construction of;
The government is building new schools in this state
Give form to, according to a plan;
Build a modern nation
Build a million-dollar business
Be engaged in building;
These architects build in interesting and new styles
Found or ground;
Build a defense on nothing but the accused person's reputation
Bolster or strengthen;
We worked up courage
Build up confidence
Ramp up security in the airports
Develop and grow;
Suspense was building right from the beginning of the opera
To develop or increase in stages.
We need to build trust in our relationship.
To shape or form by combining materials.
Children love to build with blocks.
To establish or create over time.
He wants to build a successful career in finance.
Is "built" only used for past actions?
Primarily, but it's also the past participle, as in "have built."
Can "build" indicate a future action?
Yes, with helping verbs, e.g., "I will build a house."
Is "build" the present tense?
Yes, "build" is the present or base form of the verb.
Can "build" stand alone in a sentence?
Yes, like "I build houses."
What does "built" represent?
"Built" represents the past tense and past participle of "build."
What's the noun form related to "build"?
The noun form is "building."
What's the adjective form of "build"?
The adjective form is "built," as in "a newly built home."
Does "built" require auxiliary verbs?
Not always. It can stand alone as "I built" or combine as in "have built."
What's the opposite of "built"?
"Demolished" or "dismantled" when referring to physical structures.
Can "build" refer to non-physical construction?
Yes, like "build confidence" or "build a relationship."
Is "built" always about past events?
Primarily, but in combinations like "have built," it can indicate recent completions.
How do I use "built" in the present perfect tense?
Use it with "have" or "has," e.g., "She has built a shed."
Does "build" always mean constructing something large?
No, it can refer to small constructs like "build a model" or "build a puzzle."
Can "build" imply progression?
Yes, like "build momentum" or "build trust."
Can "built" describe someone's physique?
Yes, like "He's well-built."
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to askdifference.com. As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.