Irregular Verbs

English verbs are either regular or irregular. In this article, we are going to focus on the Irregular Verbs and learn everything about them.

The Irregular Verbs form the simple past tense and the past participle in any number of unpredictable ways. Let’s learn more about irregular verbs.

What is irregular verbs and examples?

Irregular Verbs are verbs whose simple past tense and past participle always follow a different pattern.

Here are some examples of irregular verbs.

BasePast SimplePast Participle
costcostcost
dreamdreamtdreamt
breakbrokebroken
gowentgone

Irregular Verbs List

We have divided the list into 4 parts to make it easy for you to memorize them.

Part (1)

Some irregular verbs, like let, shut, and spread, never change, whether present or past.

BasePast SimplePast Participle
betbetbet
bidbidbid
broadcastbroadcastbroadcast
costcostcost
cutcutcut
hithithit
hurthurthurt
litlitlit
letletlet
readreadread
shutshutshut
spreadspreadspread

Part (2)

Others, like feel and teach, become modified versions of themselves (felt, taught) to form both the past tense and the past participle.

BasePast SimplePast Participle
bringbroughtbrought
buildbuiltbuilt
burnBurnt (burned)Burnt (burned)
buyboughtbought
catchcaughtcaught
digdugdug
fightfoughtfought
findfoundfound
dreamdreamtdreamt
getgotgot (gotten)
hanghunghung
havehadhad
hearheardheard
holdheldheld
keepkeptkept
laylaidlaid
leadledled
learnLearnt(ed)Learnt(ed)
leaveleftleft
lendlentlent
loselostlost
makemademade
meanmeantmeant
meetmetmet
paypaidpaid
saysaidsaid
sellsoldsold
sendsentsent
showshowedshowed(shown)
sitsatsat
sleepsleeptsleept
spendspentspent
standstoodstood
teachtaughttaught
telltoldtold
thinkthoughtthought
winwonwon
understandunderstoodunderstood

Part (3)

Still others, like break and sing, change to form the past tense (broke, sang) and change again to form the past participle (broken, sung).

BasePast SimplePast Participle
awakeawokeawoken
beatbeatbeaten
becomebecamebecome
beginbeganbegun
bitebitbitten
blowblewblown
breakbrokebroken
choosechosechosen
comecamecome
dodiddone
drowdrewdrown
drinkdrankdrunk
eatateeaten
fallfellfallen
flyflewFlown
forgetforgotforgotten
forgiveforgaveforgiven
freezefrozefrozen
givegavegiven
growgrewgrown
hidehidhidden
knowknewknown
lielaylain
rideroderidden
ringrangrung
riseroserisen
runranrun
seesawseen
singsangsung
speakspokespoken
swimswamswum
taketooktaken
teartoretorn
throwthrewthrown
wakewokewoken
wearwornWorn
writewrotewritten

Part (4)

And then there are a few really weird ones, like go: its past participle (gone) is recognizable enough, but its simple past tense is a strange new word (went).

BasePast SimplePast Participle
beWas/werebeen
gowentgone
dodiddone

 

Let’s get back to the irregular verb break. The simple past tense is broke, which we use in sentences like I broke your dish. We use the past participle, broken, to form compound verbs in sentences like I have broken your dish. The compound verb have broken is so called because we’ve added a helping verb (have) to the main verb’s past participle (broken). Be careful never to add a helping verb to the simple past form of an irregular verb—I have broke your dish is an embarrassing confession in more ways than one.

The past participle of an irregular verb can also function as an adjective: a broken dish. But the simple past form, if it differs from the participle, cannot function as an adjective: a broke dish is substandard English.

There are far fewer irregular verbs than regular ones, but we use them all the time. The ten commonest verbs in English (be, have, do, say, make, go, take, come, see, and get) are all irregular, and about 70% of the time we use a verb, it is an irregular verb.

Pinker acknowledges 180 irregular English verbs, but there is an online Extended Irregular Verb Dictionary which contains over 470 irregular verbs, including rare ones such as bestrew, enwind, and hagride.

Proper use of irregular verbs requires old-fashioned memorization—there are no secret formulas or shortcuts. This is why these words can create havoc for conscientious speakers of English.

By Superingenious

I help students who are preparing for their international test or the once are looking to improve their English skills. So I help students learn English, get better scores on their tests, and prepare for the future.

Related Posts

The Future Perfect Guide

The Future Perfect Guide

The Past Perfect Guide

The Past Perfect Guide

The Present Perfect Guide

The Present Perfect Guide

Master The Perfect Tenses

Master The Perfect Tenses

Past Continuous Tense

Past Continuous Tense

Present Continuous Tense

Present Continuous Tense