Irregular lexical verb
An irregular lexical verb is a lexical verb that is also an irregular verb. These are often referred to simply as "irregular verbs", which is not inaccurate, though the group of irregular lexical verbs excludes those full modal verbs that are also irregular.
In total there are some 470 irregular verbs in English, 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.
Common irregular verbs[edit | edit source]
Pedagogy[edit | edit source]
The past tense is introduced at elementary level, and at this stage, only the preterite has to be learnt, so past participle are ignored. The verbs are roughly learned in the order of their frequency, so that English language learners typically learn the twelve most common irregular verbs before learning their first regular verb, which is want. After this, English language learners may over-regularise irregular verbs by analogy with regular verbs.
Grouping[edit | edit source]
English irregular verbs can be grouped into similar patterns based on their vowel changes (if any), and whether or not they take the past participle -en suffix. These are (incomplete table):
|Type||Example most common verb from this set||Vowel change||Takes -ed or -en|
|Invariant irregular verb||put+put+put||None||Neither|
|I-A-U irregular verb||begin + began + begun||/ɪ - æ - ʌ/||Neither|
|I-U-U irregular verb||win + won + won, but swing+swung+swung has more typical spelling||/ɪ - ʌ - ʌ/||Neither|
|Long E - short E irregular verb||feel + felt + felt||/i: - e - e /||Takes -ed|
|I-A-A irregular verb||sit + sat + sat||/ɪ - æ - æ /||Neither|
|aɪ-aʊ-aʊ irregular verb||find + found + found||/aɪ - aʊ - aʊ/||Neither|
|əʊ-u:-əʊn irregular verb||know + knew + known||/əʊ - u: - əʊ/||PP -en only|