Regular and Irregular Verbs

English has regular verbs and irregular verbs. The difference between the two become evident when the verb is used in past and perfect tense. Regular verbs are the most common and follow a pattern. They can be distinguished from their root (infinitive) form.

  • Follow – followed – followed
  • Distinguish – distinguished – distinguished
  • Change – changed – changed

Irregular verbs do not follow a pattern and hence it is not always clear which word to use in the past or perfect form.

  • Build – built – built
  • See – saw – saw
  • Cut – cut – cut
  • Eat – ate – eaten

As you can see in the above examples, sometimes the verb changes and sometimes don’t. There is no pattern, and hence not regular. There are about 250 common irregular verbs, another 250 that are not so common, and then more which are used for technical or medical terminology. (only used when working in that field) Of the regular verbs there are 1000’s so if you are unsure, try putting ed on the end, and if the person is kind enough they will assist you to correct your mistake. A list of Basic Irregular Verbs

Infinitive Simple Past Past Participle
awake awoke awoken
be was/were been
beat beat beaten
become became become
begin began begun
bend bent bent
bet bet bet
bid bid bid
bite bit bitten
blow blew blown
break broke broken
bring brought brought
broadcast broadcast broadcast
build built built
burn burned burnt
buy bought bought
catch caught caught
choose chose chosen
come came come
cost cost cost
cut cut cut
dig dug dug
do did done
draw drew drawn
drive drove driven
drink drank drunk
eat ate eaten
fall fell fallen
feel felt felt
fight fought fought
find found found
fly flew flown
forget forgot forgotten
forgive forgave forgiven
freeze froze frozen
get got gotten
give gave given
go went gone
grow grew grown
hang hung hung
have had had
hear heard heard
hide hid hidden
hit hit hit
hold held held
hurt hurt hurt
keep kept kept
know knew known
lay laid laid
lead led led
leave left left
lend lent lent
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 read
ride rode ridden
ring rang rung
rise rose risen
run ran run
say said said
see saw seen
sell sold sold
send sent sent
show showed showed/shown
shut shut shut
sing sang sung
sit sat sat
sleep slept slept
speak spoke spoken
spend spent spent
stand stood stood
swim swam swum
take took taken
teach taught taught
tear tore torn
tell told told
think thought thought
throw threw thrown
understand understood understood
wake woke woken
wear wore worn
win won won
write wrote written

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