Irregular lexical verb

From Teflpedia

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,[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).

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]