Regular and Irregular Verbs

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All About Regular and Irregular Verbs-02 (1)

Verbs are the action words that describe what the subject is doing. Regular verbs and irregular verbs are types of verbs. Verbs are an essential part of speech and it is important to understand their usage to perform well in competitive English language proficiency exams. So, this blog brings to you a comprehensive guide on what regular and irregular verbs are, their usage, and examples along with practice exercises.

What are Regular Verbs

Regular verbs are a form of verbs that follow the normal rules of conjugation, that is, they follow a typical pattern for changing verbs into their past, past participle or future tense forms. Usually, -ed or -d is added to regular verbs when used in the past tense or in case the word ends with a ‘y’ then the ‘y’ is removed, and -ied is added.

Example:

  • Maria accepts the award on his behalf.
  • Maria accepted the award on his behalf.
  • Maria will accept the award on his behalf.

Maria already had accepted the award on his behalf.

In the above example you can see the use of the word ‘accept’ in its present(accepts), simple past (accepted), future (will accept), and past participle (had accepted) form. 

Also Read: Duolingo English Test

What are Irregular Verbs 

Unlike regular verbs, irregular verbs do not follow the normal rules of conjugation to form their past, past participle, or future tense forms. In other words, any verb that does not add -ed, -ied, or -d to its past tense form is considered an irregular verb. Irregular verbs are sometimes also called strong verbs.

Example:

  • I have a lot of work to do.
  • Did you complete the work?
  • The work was done.

In the above example you can see the use of the word ‘do’ in its present(do), simple past (did) and past participle (done) form.

Also Read: History of English Literature

Different Forms of Regular Verbs

Regular verbs follow the normal rules of conjugation when used in different tenses. In the past tense, -ed, -d, -ied are added to the present form of the verb. In the past participle tense, has/had is added before the past tense form. Here are the different types of regular and the spelling rules they follow that will make it easier to remember:

Regular Verbs that end in -e

Verbs that end in -e are changed to the past tense by adding -d

Examples:

  • like – liked
  • love – loved
  • taste – tasted
  • live – lived
  • decide – decided 

Other examples could include: approve, behave, change, care, bake, argue, appreciate, bore, breathe, cause, charge, complete, escape, force, guide, hate, hope, invite,  move, manage, notice, owe, phone, recognise, remove, smile, snore, stare, taste, use, etc.

Also Read: Grammar for IELTS

Regular verbs that end in -y

  • If the verb ends in a consonant and -y, then -y is removed and -ied is added to change it to the past tense.

Examples:

  • Cry – cried
  • Try – tried
  • Dry – dried
  • Carry – carried
  • Apply – applied

Other examples could include: bully, bury, carry, clarify, copy, cry, deny, dry, empty, fancy, fry, horrify, hurry, identify, imply, marry, multiply, rely, reply, satisfy, supply, study, terrify, tidy, etc.

  • If the verb ends in a vowel and -y, then -y is not removed and -ed is added to change it to the past tense. Like, play – played.

Examples: annoy, delay, destroy, enjoy, employ, spray, stay, etc.

Also Read: Learn All About Adjectives in English Grammar!

Regular verbs that end in a single vowel and a consonant

  • If a verb of a single syllable ends in a vowel and a consonant, then the consonant is doubled and -ed is added to change it to the past tense.

Examples:

  • stop – stopped
  • hop – hopped
  • Ban – banned
  • Chat – chatted
  • Drag – dragged

Other examples could include: clap, clip, drop, fit, flip, grab, grin, grip, hug, jog, knit, mug, nod, pat, plan, rob, shop, skid, scrub, ship, skip, slip, snap, spot, star, stir, thin, top, trip, wrap, etc.

  • In verbs with more syllables ending in a vowel and a consonant, the consonant is doubled and -ed is added if the stress falls on the last syllable to change it to the past tense.

Examples: 

  • In verbs with more syllables ending in a vowel and a consonant where the stress doesn’t fall on the last syllable, the consonant is not doubled and -ed is added to change it to the past tense.

Examples: 

  • enter – entered
  • Open – opened 
  • Swallow – swallowed
  • In verbs ending in -l the consonant is always doubled after a single vowel.  

Examples:

  • Travel – travelled
  • Cancel – cancelled
  • Label – labelled

Different Forms of Irregular Verbs

Irregular verbs can take up different forms in the past and past participle tense or they can remain exactly the same. Here are the different types of irregular verbs:

Verbs that have Different Form in Each Tense

This means that a verb has entirely different in present, past, and past participle forms.

Examples: Let’s take the example of the verb ‘to be’. The verb ‘to be’ takes different forms in each tense-

  • is/are in present tense
  • was/were in past tense
  • Been in past participle

We are going on a vacation.

He is skateboarding.

We were on a vacation.

He was skateboarding.

We have been on a vacation.

He has been skateboarding.

Here are a few other examples:

  • Break, broke, broken 
  • See, saw, seen
  • Have, has, had
  • Eat, ate, eaten
  • Do, did, done 

Verbs that remain same in Past and Past Participle Forms

Some irregular verbs change once and are used in the form of past tense and past participle tense. 

Examples:  Let’s take the example of the verb ‘bring’.

I will bring the rest of the money tomorrow.

I bought this dress. 

She had bought it to frighten him with.

Here are a few other examples:

  • Keep, kept, kept
  • Leave, left, left
  • Find, found, found
  • Say, said, said
  • Win, won, won

Verbs that Change only in the Past Tense

Some irregular verbs only change in the past tense. The present and past participle forms remain the same 

Examples:  Let’s take the example of the verb ‘come’.

I didn’t want to come tonight.

She came to the event last night.

He had come to apologise.

Here are some other examples:

  • Run, ran, run
  • Become, became, become
  • Overcome, overcame, overcome

Verbs that don’t Change in any Tense

Some irregular verbs remain the same in all three forms. 

Examples: Let’s take the example of the verb ‘put’

She put on her red dress.

The dog was put to sleep.

She had put her shoes on before going into the garden.

Here are some other examples:

  • Cut, cut, cut
  • Fit, fit, fit
  • Let, let, let
  • Hit, hit, hit
  • Hurt, hurt, hurt

Regular Verbs Examples

There are hundreds of words in the English language that are regular verbs and that follow the normal rules of conjugation. Here is a shortlist of examples  

Present  Past Past Participle
Accept Accepted Accepted
Behave Behaved Behaved
Close Closed Closed
Disturb Disturbed Disturbed
Dress Dressed Dressed
Dry Dried Dried
Eliminate Eliminated Eliminated
Fix Fixed Fixed
Fry Fried Fried
Match Matched Matched
Name Named Named
Program Programmed Programmed
Protect Protected Protected
Review Reviewed Reviewed
Shop Shopped Shopped
Slow Slowed Slowed
Turn Turned Turned
Underline Underlined Underlined
Want Wanted Wanted

50 Most Common Irregular Verbs Examples

Here is a list of some of the most commonly used irregular verbs in the English language.

Present Simple Past Past Participle
beat beat beaten
begin began begun
break broke broken
bring brought brought
build built built
buy bought bought
choose chose chosen
come came come
cut cut cut
draw drew drawn
drive drove driven
fall fell fallen
feel felt felt
find found found
get got got/gotten (US)
give gave given
go went gone
grow grew grown
hear heard heard
hold held held
keep kept kept
know knew known
lead led led
leave left left
let let let
lie lay lain
lose lost lost
make made made
mean meant meant
meet met met
pay paid paid
put put put
read read (pronounced as ‘red’) read (pronounced as ‘red’) 
rise rose risen
run ran run
say said said
see saw seen
send sent sent
set set set
show showed shown
sit sat sat
speak spoke spoken
spend spent spent
stand stood stood
take took taken
tell told told
think thought thought
understand understood understood
wear wore worn
write wrote written

Regular and Irregular Verbs Exercises

Now that you have a general idea about adverbs here are some exercises:

Exercise 1

Choose the correct form of the verb.

  1.  I ____(hear) a new song on the radio.
  2. They_____(swim) 500m.
  3. Vienna _________ (look) very sad because she did not win the competition yesterday.
  4.  I______(choose) steak for dinner.
  5.  I______(send) you an email earlier.
  6. My mother __________(drink) a cup of coffee with my father this morning.
  7. Our friends _________ (watch) cartoons in my house a couple of weeks ago.
  8.  We____(fly) to Sydney.
  9.  The old man has _______better days (see).
  10. The soldiers______(swear)that they would never surrender.

Answers: 

  1. Heard
  2. Swam
  3. Looked
  4. Chose
  5. Sent
  6. Drank
  7. Watched
  8. Flew 
  9. Seen 
  10. Swore 

Exercise 2

Choose the correct option.

  1. Which one is wrong?
    1. cut – cut
    2. forget – forgot
    3. clean – cleaned
    4. leave – leaved
  2.  Did you ___________ what he said?
    1. understand
    2. understood
    3. understanding
    4. Understands
  3. Odd one out.
    1. sing
    2. catch
    3. bite
    4. Look
  4. Odd one out.
    1. hurt
    2. break
    3. read
    4. listen
  5. Which one is wrong?
    1. fly – flew
    2. send – sent
    3. teach – thought
    4. win – won

Answers: 

  1. Leave-leaved
  2. Understand
  3. Look
  4. Listen
  5. Teach-thought

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