Tips for learning irregular verbs in English


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Irregular verbs in English

Many of the most common verbs in the English language are irregular

Did you know that about 70% of the time when we use a verb in English, it is an irregular one? That means that learning and using irregular verbs is essential for learning English!

The English language has so many irregular verbs that it can make you go crazy… but even irregular verbs follow some patterns. In this lesson, you’ll learn “groups” of irregular verbs that can make it easier to memorize them. For each group, I’ve given one pronunciation example.

Don’t just study this list – try to create your own sentences and use all the verbs you know! This will help you remember them much better.

Ready? Let’s go!

Verbs with all 3 forms identical

Let’s begin with the easiest group of irregular verbs. These verbs are the same in the present, the past, and the past participle. They include:

bet, burst, cast, cost, cut, fit,* hit, hurt, let, put, quit, set, shut, split, spread

* When talking about clothes being the correct size

Verbs with identical Present and Past Participle

These verbs are the same in the present and the past participle. Only the past form is different:

Present Past Past Participle
come came come
become became become
run ran run

Verbs with –N in the Past Participle

These verbs are a little more complicated, as they have –n in the past participle form.

There are a few different groups of verbs:

With “o” in the past and past participle

Present Past Past Participle
break broke broken
choose chose chosen
forget forgot forgotten
freeze froze frozen
get got gotten
speak spoke spoken
steal stole stolen
tear tore torn
wake woke woken
wear wore worn

With “o” in the past only

Present Past Past Participle
drive drove driven
ride rode ridden
rise rose risen
write wrote written

Past with -ew, past participle with -own

Present Past Past Participle
blow blew blown
fly flew flown
grow grew grown
know knew known
throw threw thrown

Other irregular verbs with past participle ending in –n

Present Past Past Participle
bite bit bitten
hide hid hidden
eat ate eaten
fall fell fallen
forbid forbade forbidden
forgive forgave forgiven
give gave given
see saw seen
shake shook shaken
take took taken



Verbs with vowel changes

Long “e” changes to short “e”

Present Past Past Participle
keep kept kept
sleep slept slept
feel felt felt
bleed bled bled
feed fed fed
meet met met
lead led led


“ea” is pronounced differently

Present Past Past Participle
deal dealt dealt
dream dreamt dreamt
mean meant meant
read read read
hear heard heard

Long “i” changes to “ou”

Present Past Past Participle
bind bound bound
find found found
grind ground ground
wind wound wound

Short “i” changes to “u”

Present Past Past Participle
dig dug dug
stick stuck stuck
spin spun spun
sting stung stung
swing swung swung

-ell changes to -old

Present Past Past Participle
sell sold sold
tell told told

-ought and –aught endings

Present Past Past Participle
bring brought brought
buy bought bought
catch caught caught
fight fought fought
seek sought sought
teach taught taught
think thought thought

Verbs with 3 different vowels!

Are you ready for a challenge? These irregular verbs have different vowels in each form. Fortunately, they do follow a pattern.

Vowel changes from “i” to “a” to “u”

Present Past Past Participle
begin began begun
drink drank drunk
ring rang rung
shrink shrank shrunk
sing sang sung
sink sank sunk
spring sprang sprung
swim swam swum

The REALLY Irregular Verbs

Well, these are the completely irregular verbs – the ones that don’t fit into any of the categories above! They are also some of the most commonly used verbs in the English language, so make sure to memorize them in all their crazy irregular forms!

Present Past Past Participle
be was / were been
do did done
go went gone
have had had
make made made


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