The Irregular Verbs in English language

English regular and irregular verbs

There are about 200 irregular verbs in English. We can divide these into four types:

  1. Verbs which have the same base form, past simple and past participle
  2. Verbs which have the same past simple and past participle
  3. Verbs which have the same base form and past participle
  4. Verbs which have a different base form, past simple and past participle

An irregular verb is a verb in which the past tense is not formed by adding the usual -ed ending. A regular verb will change from present tense to past tense with the simple addition of -ed at the end. For example, “I walk” (present tense) becomes “I walked” (past tense).

Irregular verb: a verb that does not follow the normal pattern of inflection.

Irregular verbs live by their own set of rules; they are the mavericks of the English language. Examples of irregular verbs are sing (past tense sang); feel (felt); and go (went).

A good way to learn irregular verbs is to study them in these groups because as they are similar they’re easier to remember. Here are the most common irregular verbs in these groups.

Group 1

Base formPast SimplePast Participle

Group 2

Base formPast SimplePast Participle
BuyBought Bought
CatchCaught Caught
Feel FeltFelt
GetGot Got
Have HadHad
Hear Heard Heard
Keep Kept Kept
Leave Left Left
Lose Lost Lost
MakeMade Made
Read Read Read
Say Said Said
SellSold Sold
Send Sent Sent
ThinkThought Thought
Win Won Won

Group 3

Base formPast SimplePast Participle

Group 4

Base formPast SimplePast Participle
BeginBegan Begun
Do DidDone
Drink Drank Drunk

For example:

  • “Our car cost a lot of money but it’s always breaking down.”
  • “Pasha hurt himself in a soccer match last weekend.”
  • “My parents have let me stay out late tonight.”
  • “They put on their jackets because it was very cold.”

Irregular verbs in English with the same past simple and past participle

For example:

  • “They had lunch at a Thai restaurant on Monday.”
  • “Have you heard the news about the train strike?”
  • “Tim has sent an email to all the suppliers.”
  • “Who won the match?” – “The Giants.”

Irregular verbs in English with the same base form and past participle

For example:

  • “He came back home at 4 a.m. on Saturday.”
  • “Suzi has become the Managing Director.”
  • “The dog ran into the garden after Lee opened the door.”
  • “Has Mrs. O’Connor come back from lunch yet?”

Irregular verbs in English with a different base form, past simple and past participle

For example:

  • “The kids ate a lot of cakes at the party.”
  • “They drove to the airport and left their car there.”
  • “Has she taken her tickets yet?”
  • “I’ve written a letter of application for the manager’s job.”

Learning tips

So, what’s the best way to learn all these irregular verbs?

  • Pay attention when you see a new verb;
  • Make your own examples for every new verb you find;
  • Keep a diary in English and write down a few things you did every day;
  • Read a book in English. Books are full of verbs in their past forms, so reading is a really useful way to practice and review;
  • Focus on learning a few irregular verbs at one time.   

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