Regular and Irregular Verbs

Verbs generally are action words. When written in a sentence, verbs may change in form to suit the verb tense used in the sentence. However, verb forms do not always change. There are instances when the forms remain the same no matter what the tense. That’s why there is a need to learn regular and irregular verbs.

Verbs that have quite the same spelling and pronunciation in any tense are called regular verbs. On the other hand, verbs that remain unchanged or are spelt differently are called irregular verbs.

Examples of regular verbs in use:

All the verbs below come from the root word collect. The change in spelling and sound is very minimal.

  • I collect stamps. (simple present)
  • I collected stamps last time. (simple past)
  • I have collected stamps before. (present perfect)

Examples of irregular verbs in use:

All the verbs below come from the root word drink. Notice that the spelling and pronunciation change as the tenses change.

  • She drinks milk. (simple present)
  • She drank milk a few minutes ago. (simple past)
  • She has drunk a bottle of milk. (present perfect)

In the following examples, nothing changes! 😀 You’ll see that the verb “put” is spelt the same in all tenses.

  • They put their books on the desk. (simple present)
  • They put their books on the desk and left. (simple past)
  • They have put their books on the desk. (present perfect)

Here are some examples of irregular verbs:

Root Word

The past

Past participles
(has, have, had)

awake awoke awaken
be was / were been
beat beat beaten
become became become
bend bent bent
bite bit bitten
blow blew blown
break broke broken
buy bought bought
catch caught caught
choose chose chosen
cut cut cut
deal dealt dealt
do did done
draw drew drawn
drink drank drunk
dream dreamt / dreamed dreamt / dreamed
eat ate eaten
find found found * – not founded
fly flew flown
forgive forgave forgiven
get got got
go went gone
hang hung hung
hide hid hidden
know knew known
lie lied lied
lose ** – not loose
lost lost
misunderstand misunderstood misunderstood
overwrite overwrote overwritten
pay paid paid
prove proved proven
put put put
read read read
rewrite rewrote rewritten
ride rode ridden
rise rose risen
see saw seen
send sent sent
shine shined shined / shone
show showed shown
shut shut shut
sing sang sung
take took taken
tear tore torn
throw threw thrown
wear wore worn
withdraw withdrew withdrawn
write wrote written

* founded (v.) = established, started – it’s not the same meaning as “found
** loose (adj.) =  The word “loose” is an adjective, not a verb. Take note of the difference in spelling, too.


Posted on July 17, 2009, in Grammar and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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