Regular verb

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A regular verb is a verb which can be conjugated in a way typical of the language to which it belongs.

Past tense[edit | edit source]

In English, the past tense is formed by making the verb finish in "ed", or, in a few cases just "d".

The vast majority of verbs in English are regular, and although there are some 360 irregular verbs in total, only around 90 of these can be considered essential, including some of the most common, everyday verbs.

Examples of regular verbs include agree - agreed; ask - asked; carry - carried; like - liked; stop - stopped; work - worked.

The above examples show the characteristic "ed" or "d" of regular verbs and introduces other idiosyncrasies which affect the spelling - but not the pronunciation - of these verbs.

Past tense pronunciation[edit | edit source]

Main article: Past tense pronunciation

Regular verbs may pronounce "ed" as /d/ as in played, as /t/ as in laughed or as /ɪd/ as in counted.

Past tense spelling[edit | edit source]

See main article Past tense spelling
  • Most regular verbs just add -ed to the infinitive form: mooed; depended; rained; played; started;
  • Regular verbs ending in -e just add -d: liked; received;
  • Regular verbs ending in a stressed vowel + one consonant (except w or y) double the consonant and add -ed: referred; stopped;
  • Regular verbs ending in consonant + y change the y to i and add -ed: carried; studied; tried;
  • Regular verbs ending in -c add ked: picknicked; trafficked;

Note: In British English, the letter "l" is doubled in the past after a short vowel: levelled; travelled

Variant past tenses[edit | edit source]

There are some verbs which have two past tenses. In some cases they are regular in American English and irregular in British English, or vice versa.

Verb British English past tense American English past tense
bet[1] bet, betted bet, betted
burn burnt, burned burned, burnt
dive dived dived, dove
dream dreamt, dreamed dreamed, dreamt (very seldom)[2]
lean leaned, leant leaned
learn learnt, learned learned, learnt
quit[1] quit, quitted quit, quitted
shine shone /ʃɒn/,BrE shined shined, shone /ʃəʊn/AmE
smell smelled, smelt smelled
spell spelt spelled
spill spilled, spilt spilled, spilt
spoil spoiled, spoilt spoiled
wake woke woke, waked
wet[1] wet, wetted wet, wetted

Present tense third person[edit | edit source]

Main article: -s

Regular verbs add /s/, /z/ or /ɪz/.

The only normal verb (i.e. not an auxiliary verb) that has an irregular third person is "say"; its third person is "says" /sez/. If it were regular it would be pronounced */seɪz/.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2, 5.Bet / Betted, Quit / Quitted and Wet / Wetted. The regular form is not as common as the irregular one, but it is heard more often in Britain than in the United States.
  2. Grammarist, Dreamed vs. dreamt