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Irregular Verbs

Any verb that does not add -ed or -d to its past tense form is considered an irregular verb. The word “irregular” makes it sound like these verbs are rare, but you see them all the time in writing and conversation.

  • go (went)
  • is (was)
  • swim (swam)
  • drink (drank)
  • bring (brought)

Types of Irregular Verbs

Unlike regular verbs, irregular verbs don’t follow patterns when changing tenses. They don’t follow the same rules for conjugation. However, there are four main types of irregular verbs, and knowing these types might help you memorize them faster.

Irregular Verbs With Different Forms in Every Tense

To English learners, the trickiest irregular verbs are the ones that have different present tense, past tense and past participle forms, which include the word “have” and the verb. For example, the verb to be is the most irregular verb in the English language. It becomes:

  • is/are in present tense (We are on vacation.)
  • was/were in past tense (We were on vacation.)
  • been in past participle (We have been on vacation.)

Irregular Verbs With the Same Past Tense and Past Participle

Some irregular verbs only change once. Their past tense and past participle forms are the same, making it a little easier to decide how to conjugate them. For example, the verb to keep becomes:

  • keep in present tense (I keep my old yearbooks.)
  • kept in past tense (I kept my old yearbooks.)
  • kept in past participle (I have kept my hold yearbooks.)

Irregular Verbs That Only Change in Past Tense

Several irregular verbs have the same present tense form and past participle form, but not the same past tense form. For example, the verb to run becomes:

  • run in present tense (They run together every day.)
  • ran in past tense (They ran together last Saturday.)
  • run in past participle (They have run together for years.)

Irregular Verbs That Never Change

Finally, there are some irregular verbs that never change form. Most of these verbs end in -t, so they’re easier to identify when you’re confused. For example, the verb to cut remains:

  • cut in present tense (I cut the carrots while she stirs.)
  • cut in past tense (I cut the carrots yesterday.)
  • cut in past participle (I have cut the carrots before.)

While the majority of irregular verbs fall into these categories, a few don’t quite fit. These verbs are:

  • beat (becomes beat in past tense and beaten in past participle)
  • read (still spelled the same, but pronounced “red” in past tense and past participle)

Download a list of Irregular Verbs in PDF:

A List of Irregular Verbs 1

A List of Irregular Verbs 2

A List of Irregular Verbs 3

A List of Irregular Verbs 4

A List of Irregular Verbs 5

A List of Irregular Verbs 6

A List of Irregular Verbs 7

A List of Irregular Verbs 8

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