Regular and Irregular Verbs – Introduction

Verb is defined as a part of speech or a word class that defines an action performed or a state of being of the noun or pronoun of the sentence. Unlike other parts of speech, a verb is a necessary part of every sentence. Without it, no sentence can have a meaning.

Verb is a multifunctional part of speech that provides various kinds of information about the sentence. One of these functions is denoting the state of progress of the action described by the verb itself.

In this article we explore the different forms of a verb.

At the end of this article, the reader will be able to:

  • Understand the four different forms of a verb
  • Classify verb forms based on their regularity
  • Explore the exceptions: Different variations of the irregular verb
  • Find a list of regular and irregular verbs

Different forms of Verbs

A verb takes four different forms to show the status of completion or progress. Let us discuss them individually.

Root form

The Root form of the verb is the original form of the verb used in Simple tenses. Root form by itself gives no indication of the tense of the verb and is used to express the Simple Present Tense (except for the third person singular, which we will learn in the article on Simple Present Tense)

All the other forms of the verb are derived from the root form in expressing various tenses in the active and passive voice.

The root form of the verb is used with modals and as an infinitive. Modals in every tense bring down the verb to its root form. The root form in this case is called as the partial infinitive.

  • I could retrieve the application from the docket.
  • We will pitch our idea tomorrow.
  • They might win this contest if that strategy is executed.

Another form of the above case with the preposition to, is called the full infinitive. Some examples include:

  • I have to reprimand him for indiscretion.
  • The band is expected to be here in a few minutes.
  • This council moves to immediately resume the project.

Some cases of the infinitive where it acts as the noun phrase of the sentence is called as a gerund. Note the examples below:

  • To err is human, to forgive, divine.
  • To be or not to be, that is the question to be.
  • To win this contest will be his greatest challenge.

Simple Past form

The Past form is used to express the verb in the simple past tense. The past form is generally expressed by adding the suffix ‘-ed’ to the root form of the verb.

The Past form is used exclusively for the Simple Past Tense. Note the examples below:

  • You overshot the daily limit.
  • They overcame all the difficulties.
  • We performed the experiments satisfactorily.
  • The mayor took care of the situation.

Present Participle form

The Present Participle form or the continuous form is used to show all forms of progressive tenses. The Present participle form is used to indicate that the action indicated by the verbs are still in progress. Let us look at a few examples:

  • You are overshooting the daily limit.
  • They had been overcoming all the difficulties.
  • We were performing the experiments satisfactorily.
  • The mayor will be taking care of the situation.

The Present Participle form is expressed by adding the ‘-ing’ suffix to the root form of the verb.

Past Participle form

The Past Participle form is used to express the complete execution or occurrence of the verb in any tense. The Past Participle form is used to show all forms of Perfect tenses. Let us take a few examples:

  • You have overshot the limit.
  • They had overcome all the difficulties.
  • We have performed all the experiments satisfactorily.
  • The mayor will have taken care of the situation.

The Past Participle form is generally expressed by adding the ‘-ed’ suffix to the root form of the verb. Do they always follow the generalization?

Regularity of Verbs

In the previous section, we raised a question on the present and past participle forms of verbs. Let us rephrase the question.

Is every verb consistent with the general present and past participle forms of verbs?

The answer is no. Most verbs aren’t. Which makes the consistency a criteria of classification, based on which we classify verbs as regular or irregular verbs.

Every Simple Past and Past Participle form of Regular verbs obey the general spelling rules.

  • I travelled to the United Kingdom now. (Simple Past form ends in ‘-ed’)
  • I have travelled to 7 nations in the last 12 months alone. (Past Participle ends in ‘–ed’)
  • The papacy expected you to come sooner. (Simple Past form ends in ‘-ed’)
  • The papacy had expected you at the conclave by now. (Past Participle ends in ‘–ed’)
  • The board concluded that you’re delusional. (Simple Past form ends in ‘-ed’)
  • The board will have concluded that you’re delusional. (Past Participle ends in ‘–ed’)

Irregular verbs are those whose at least one of Simple Past and Past Participle forms disobey the general spelling rules.

  • I sent the cookies to the address specified. (Simple Past form does not end in ‘-ed’)
  • I have sent the cookies to the address specified. (Past Participle does not end in ‘–ed’)
  • I brought the groceries home an hour ago. (Simple Past form does not end in ‘-ed’)
  • I had brought the groceries home an hour ago. (Past Participle does not end in ‘–ed’)
  • It grew all over the place. (Simple Past form does not end in ‘-ed’)
  • It will have grown all over the place. (Past Participle does not end in ‘–ed’)

Even if there exists a present/past participle form that does follow the spelling rules and another present/past participle form doesn’t, it would be an irregular verb.

  • They lighted the place up. (Simple Past form ends in ‘-ed’)
  • They had lit the place up. (Past Participle does not end in ‘–ed’)
  • You burned the only piece of evidence we had. (Simple Past form ends in ‘-ed’)
  • I have burnt the only piece of evidence we had. (Past Participle doesn’t end in ‘–ed’)
  • We mowed the lawn yesterday. (Simple Past form ends in ‘-ed’)
  • We will have mown the lawn by tomorrow. (Past Participle does not end in ‘–ed’)

Thus, in the above case, light, burn & mow would still be irregular verbs.

Different Variations of Irregular Verbs

Some irregular verbs take the suffix ‘-t’ to change into the Past and Past Participle form. Like the following examples:

  • I brought the groceries home an hour ago. (Simple Past)
  • I had brought the groceries home an hour ago. (Past Participle)
  • You burnt the only piece of evidence we had. (Simple Past)
  • I have burnt the only piece of evidence we had. (Past Participle)

Some irregular verbs take the suffix ‘-n’ to change into the Past Participle form. Their Past forms also show a remarkable similarity. Like the following examples:

  • The organism grew quicker than we expected. (Simple Past)
  • The organism had grown quicker than we expected. (Past Participle)
  • This performance just blew my mind. (Simple Past)
  • This performance has just blown my mind. (Past Participle)

Some irregular verbs don’t change in form. Let us take a few examples:

  • I put the folder back exactly where I found it. (Simple Past)
  • I had put the folder back exactly where I found it. (Past Participle)
  • They cut a significant portion of his salary as a penalty. (Simple Past)
  • They have cut a significant portion of his salary as a penalty. (Past Participle)

List of Irregular Verbs

Verb

Simple Past

Past Participle

To Arise

Arose

Arisen

To Be

Were

Been

To Beat

Beat

Beaten

To Become

Became

Become

To Begin

Began

Begun

To Bend

Bent

Bent

To Bet

Bet

Bet

To Break

Broke

Broken

To Bring

Brought

Brought

To Build

Built

Built

To Burn

Burned  / Burnt

Burned  / Burnt

To Buy

Bought

Bought

To Cast

Cast

Cast

To Catch

Caught

Caught

To Choose

Chose

Chosen

To Come

Came

Come

To Cost

Cost

Cost

To Cut

Cut

Cut

To Do

Did

Done

To Draw

Drew

Drawn

To Dream

Dreamt  / Dreamed

Dreamt  / Dreamed

To Drink

Drank

Drunk

To Drive

Drove

Driven

To Eat

Ate

Eaten

To Fall

Fell

Fallen

To Feel

Felt

Felt

To Fight

Fought

Fought

To Find

Found

Found

To Flee

Fled

Fled

To Forbid

Forbade

Forbidden

To Forget

Forgot

Forgotten

To Forgive

Forgave

Forgiven

To Get

Got

Got  / Gotten

To Give

Gave

Given

To Go

Went

Gone

To Grow

Grew

Grown

To Hang

Hung  / Hanged

Hung  / Hanged

To Have

Had

Had

To Hear

Heard

Heard

To Hide

Hid

Hidden

To Hit

Hit

Hit

To Hold

Held

Held

To Hurt

Hurt

Hurt

To Keep

Kept

Kept

To Know

Knew

Known

To Lead

Led

Led

To Lean

Leant  / Leaned

Leant  / Leaned

To Leap

Leapt  / Leaped

Leapt  / Leaped

To Learn

Learnt  / Learned

Learnt  / Learned

To Leave

Left

Left

To Lend

Lent

Lent

To Let

Let

Let

To Light

Lit

Lit

To Lose

Lost

Lost

To Make

Made

Made

To Mean

Meant

Meant

To Meet

Met

Met

To Overcome

Overcame

Overcome

To Pay

Paid

Paid

To Prove

Proved

Proved  / Proven

To Put

Put

Put

To Quit

Quit

Quit

To Read

Read

Read

To Ride

Rode

Ridden

To Ring

Rang

Rung

To Run

Ran

Run

To Say

Said

Said

To See

Saw

Seen

To Sell

Sold

Sold

To Send

Sent

Sent

To Set

Set

Set

To Shake

Shook

Shaken

To Shine

Shone  / Shined

Shone  / Shined

To Shoot

Shot

Shot

To Show

Showed

Shown

To Shut

Shut

Shut

To Sing

Sang

Sung

To Sit

Sat

Sat

To Sleep

Slept

Slept

To Slide

Slid

Slid  / Slidden

To Smell

Smelt  / Smelled

Smelt  / Smelled

To Speak

Spoke

Spoken

To Spend

Spent

Spent

To Stand

Stood

Stood

To Steal

Stole

Stolen

To Stick

Stuck

Stuck

To Strike

Struck

Struck

To Swear

Swore

Sworn

To Sweep

Swept

Swept

To Swim

Swam

Swum

To Take

Took

Taken

To Teach

Taught

Taught

To Tell

Told

Told

To Think

Thought

Thought

To Throw

Threw

Thrown

To Understand

Understood

Understood

To Upset

Upset

Upset

To Win

Won

Won

To Write

Wrote

Written

List of Regular Verbs

Verb

Simple Past

Past Participle

To Accept

Accepted

Accepted

To Achieve

Achieved

Achieved

To Act

Acted

Acted

To Admit

Admitted

Admitted

To Affect

Affected

Affected

To Agree

Agreed

Agreed

To Announce

Announced

Announced

To Answer

Answered

Answered

To Appear

Appeared

Appeared

To Apply

Applied

Applied

To Argue

Argued

Argued

To Arrive

Arrived

Arrived

To Ask

Asked

Asked

To Attend

Attended

Attended

To Avoid

Avoided

Avoided

To Believe

Believed

Believed

To Call

Called

Called

To Carry

Carried

Carried

To Cause

Caused

Caused

To Change

Changed

Changed

To Close

Closed

Closed

To Compare

Compared

Compared

To Consider

Considered

Considered

To Contain

Contained

Contained

To Continue

Continued

Continued

To Count

Counted

Counted

To Cover

Covered

Covered

To Create

Created

Created

To Decide

Decided

Decided

To Define

Defined

Defined

To Determine

Determined

Determined

To Develop

Developed

Developed

To Die

Died

Died

To Discover

Discovered

Discovered

To Enter

Entered

Entered

To Establish

Established

Established

To Exist

Existed

Existed

To Explain

Explained

Explained

To Finish

Finished

Finished

To Follow

Followed

Followed

To Form

Formed

Formed

To Happen

Happened

Happened

To Help

Helped

Helped

To Hope

Hoped

Hoped

To Imagine

Imagined

Imagined

To Improve

Improved

Improved

To Include

Included

Included

To Increase

Increased

Increased

To Indicate

Indicated

Indicated

To Introduce

Introduced

Introduced

To Kill

Killed

Killed

To Live

Lived

Lived

To Maintain

Maintained

Maintained

To Mention

Mentioned

Mentioned

To Move

Moved

Moved

To Need

Needed

Needed

To Note

Noted

Noted

To Notice

Noticed

Noticed

To Occur

Occurred

Occurred

To Offer

Offered

Offered

To Open

Opened

Opened

To Pass

Passed

Passed

To Play

Played

Played

To Prepare

Prepared

Prepared

To Prevent

Prevented

Prevented

To Produce

Produced

Produced

To Protect

Protected

Protected

To Publish

Published

Published

To Raise

Raised

Raised

To Reach

Reached

Reached

To Receive

Received

Received

To Recognize

Recognized

Recognized

To Reduce

Reduced

Reduced

To Remember

Remembered

Remembered

To Remove

Removed

Removed

To Represent

Represented

Represented

To Respond

Responded

Responded

To Return

Returned

Returned

To Save

Saved

Saved

To Seem

Seemed

Seemed

To Serve

Served

Served

To Share

Shared

Shared

To Sign

Signed

Signed

To Sound

Sounded

Sounded

To Stay

Stayed

Stayed

To Stop

Stopped

Stopped

To Study

Studied

Studied

To Suffer

Suffered

Suffered

To Support

Supported

Supported

To Touch

Touched

Touched

To Travel

Travelled

Travelled

To Treat

Treated

Treated

To Try

Tried

Tried

To Use

Used

Used

To Visit

Visited

Visited

To Walk

Walked

Walked

To Want

Wanted

Wanted

To Watch

Watched

Watched

To Work

Worked

Worked

To Worry

Worried

Worried