Irregular verb

From Teflpedia
Jump to: navigation, search

An irregular verb is a verb which cannot be conjugated in a way "typical" of the language to which it belongs.

In total there are some 470 irregular verbs in English,[1] of which many, if not most, are archaic and/or infrequently used. Around 90 could be considered essential to learners, and of these, many are everyday verbs, which makes learning them easier.

A prerequisite for this article is Regular verb.

Essential irregular verbs[edit]

Present[edit]

Verb I you - we - they he - she - it
be am  are is
do   do /duː/ does /dʌz/
have   have has
say   say /seɪ/ says /sez/

-ing form[edit]

Verbs ending in "ie" and pronounced /aɪ/ are phonetically regular but their spelling is irregular.

  • die - dying
  • lie - lying (in both meanings of "be in horizontal position" and "not to tell the truth")
  • tie - tying

Present - Past - Past Participle[edit]

  • be - was/were - been
  • beat - beat - beaten
  • become - became - become
  • begin - began - begun
  • blow - blew - blown
  • break - broke - broken
  • bring - brought - brought
  • build - built - built
  • burst - burst -burst
  • buy - bought - bought
  • catch - caught - caught
  • choose - chose - chosen
  • come - came - come
  • cost - cost - cost
  • cut - cut - cut
  • deal - dealt - dealt
  • do - did - done
  • drink - drank - drunk
  • drive - drove - driven
  • eat - ate - eaten
  • fall - fell - fallen
  • feed - fed - fed
  • feel - felt - felt
  • fight - fought - fought
  • find - found - found
  • fly - flew - flown
  • forbid - forbade - forbidden
  • forget - forgot - forgotten
  • forgive - forgave - forgiven
  • freeze - froze - frozen
  • get - got - got/gotten
  • give - gave - given
  • go - went - gone
  • grow - grew - grown
  • have - had - had
  • hear - heard - heard
  • hide - hid - hidden
  • hit - hit - hit
  • hold - held - held
  • hurt - hurt - hurt
  • keep - kept - kept
  • know - knew - known
  • lay - laid - laid (pronunciation is regular)
  • lead - led - led
  • leave - left - left
  • let - let - let
  • lie - lay - lain (be in horizontal position)
"lie" is regular when in means not to tell the truth
  • lose - lost - lost
  • make - made - made
  • meet - met - met
  • pay - paid - paid (pronunciation is regular)
  • put - put - put
  • quit - quit - quit
  • read /riːd/ - read /red/ - read /red/
  • ride - rode - ridden
  • ring - rang - rung
  • rise - rose - risen
  • run - ran - run
  • say /seɪ/ - said /sed/ - said /sed/
  • see - saw - seen
  • seek - sought - sought
  • sell - sold - sold
  • send - sent - sent
  • set - set - set
  • shake - shook - shaken
  • shine - shone - shone
  • sing - sang - sung
  • sit - sat - sat
  • sleep - slept - slept
  • speak - spoke - spoken
  • spend - spent - spent
  • spring - sprang - sprung
  • stand - stood - stood
  • steal - stole - stolen
  • swim - swam - swum
  • swing - swung - swung
  • take - took - taken
  • teach - taught - taught
  • tear - tore - torn
  • tell - told - told
  • think - thought - thought
  • throw - threw - thrown
  • understand - understood - understood
  • wake - woke - woken
it (seldom) is used as regular: wake - waked - waked
  • wear - wore - worn
  • win - won - won
  • write - wrote - written

Teaching tips[edit]

Rather than presenting or "teaching" irregular verbs in the boring ol' traditional alphabetical lists, as above, an alternative is to divide them into 3 groups as follows:

Group 1[edit]

Irregular verbs which don't change, i.e. 1 form:

  • burst - burst -burst
  • cost - cost - cost
  • cut - cut - cut
  • hit - hit - hit
  • hurt - hurt - hurt
  • let - let - let
  • put - put - put
  • quit - quit - quit
  • set - set - set

Group 2[edit]

Irregular verbs with 2 forms (labeled a and b). This group can be separated in 2: ending with an extra "t" (or changing "d" to "t") in the past and past participle, and other changes.

a - b - b
Extra "t" or changing "d" to "t"
  • bring - brought - brought
  • build - built - built
  • buy - bought - bought
  • catch - caught - caught
  • fight - fought - fought
  • get - got - got/gotten
  • lose - lost - lost
  • seek - sought - sought
  • send - sent - sent
  • spend - spent - spent
  • teach - taught - taught
  • think - thought - thought

Several irregular verbs whose infinitive contains the /iː/ sound, as in "sleep", have a short /e/ in the past and past participle forms.

  • deal - dealt - dealt
  • feel - felt - felt
  • keep - kept - kept
  • leave -left - left
  • sleep - slept - slept
Other changes
  • find - found - found
  • have - had - had
  • hold - held - held
  • lay - laid - laid (pronunciation is regular)
  • make - made - made
  • pay - paid - paid (pronunciation is regular)
  • sell - sold - sold
  • shine - shone - shone
  • sit - sat - sat
  • stand - stood - stood
  • swing - swung - swung
  • tell - told - told
  • understand - understood - understood
  • win - won - won

Again, several irregular verbs whose infinitive contains the /iː/ sound, have a short /e/ in the past and past participle forms. This is valid also for /ɪə/ and /eə/ (hear, heard).

  • feed - fed - fed
  • hear - heard - heard
  • lead - led - led
  • meet - met - met
  • read /riːd/ - read /red/ - read /red/
  • say - said - said
a - a - b
  • beat - beat - beaten
a - b - a
  • become - became - become
  • come - came - come
  • run - ran - run

Group 3[edit]

Irregular verbs with 3 forms. This group can be separated in 2: ending with an extra "n" in the past participle, and changing the vowel (i-a-u).

Extra "n"[edit]

These verbs also change their stressed vowel; we label those vowels as v1, v2 and v3.

v1 - v2 - v1
  • blow - blew - blown
  • eat - ate - eaten
  • fall - fell - fallen
  • forbid - forbade - forbidden
  • forgive - forgave - forgiven
  • give - gave - given
  • grow - grew - grown
  • know - knew - known
  • see - saw - seen
  • shake - shook - shaken
  • take - took - taken
  • throw - threw - thrown
v1 - v2 - v2
  • break - broke - broken
  • choose - chose - chosen
  • forget - forgot - forgotten
  • freeze - froze - frozen
  • get - got - got/gotten
  • hide - hid - hidden
  • lie - lay - lain
  • speak - spoke - spoken
  • steal - stole - stolen
  • tear - tore - torn
  • wake - woke - woken
  • wear - wore - worn
v1 - v2 - v3
  • do - did - done
  • drive - drove - driven
  • fly - flew - flown
  • go - went - gone
  • ride - rode - ridden
  • rise - rose - risen
  • write - wrote - written

i - a - u[edit]

  • begin - began - begun
  • drink - drank - drunk
  • ring - rang - rung
  • sing - sang - sung
  • spring - sprang - sprung
  • swim - swam - swum

References[edit]

  1. Full list of irregular verbs