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Regular vs Irregular Verbs & Examples + Definition

Action, state of being, and linking words are incredibly important in the English language. Why? Because you’ll find a verb in every written and spoken sentence. In addition, both irregular and regular verbs describe what people do and who they are. Considering this, there are hundreds of English words that convey different things. This article will teach you about the many types of of action words including regular verbs and irregular verbs. You’ll also discover why tense is so important when learning about regular and irregular verbs. After you know the basics, look at this page for further information.

What are Regular Verbs?

A regular verb follows a certain conjugation pattern. The stem stays the same, and you add different suffixes to create different tenses. There are a few patterns to memorize if you want to remember all the regular word structures.

The first conjugation pattern works with words that have a long vowel sound ending in a consonant. This is also the same pattern you use with words that contain a blend of consonants at the end of the word. Examples include the words: bake, play, label, and blend.

  • Infinitive: "Blend"
  • Past: "Blended"
  • Present Participle: "Blending"
  • Past Participle: "Blended"
  • Present (I, You, We, They): "Blend"
  • Present (He, She, It): "Blends"

Action and state of being words that end in an e follow a slightly different pattern, but the idea is the same. For example, here's the conjugation pattern for the word smile.

  • Infinitive: "Smile"
  • Past: "Smiled"
  • Present Participle: "Smiling"
  • Past Participle: "Smiled"
  • Present (He, She, It): "Smiles"

Now that you see the pattern, here’s the regular verbs definition. With words that follow the regular pattern, the past and past participle end with the suffix -ed. Sometimes the e already belongs to the root word, so you simply add a -d to the past and past participle forms. This pattern is standard, which is why words that follow this pattern are called regular.

Now you’re probably wondering, "If these are regular, what is an irregular verb?" Let's discover what irregular verbs are and why they’re so special in the English language.

What is an Irregular Verb?

If your normal action or state of being word follows a certain pattern, then your irregular verb one is a bit quirky. You can define regular verbs by looking at their past and past participle tenses.

Basically, an irregular verb won’t follow the standard -d or -ed suffix pattern. Let’s look at a short list of irregular verbs so you can identify them when you read or speak.

Irregular Verbs Examples

Base Form Past Tense Form Past Participle Form
Go Went Gone
Take Took Taken
See Saw Seen
Know Knew Known
Get Got Gotten
Give Gave Given
Tell Told Told

As you can see, irregular past tense verbs don’t follow common past tense or past participle structure. However, there are some common traits that many irregular verbs have. Learning words that follow these traits first will increase the number of action and state of being words you remember. Use this further reading to learn more.

What’s the Difference Between Regular and Irregular Verbs?

As stated earlier, there are four traits of irregular words. Some irregular past tense verbs have the same base form, past tense form, and past participle form. Others have the same past tense and past participle form, but a different present tense. Furthermore, there’s a group of words that have the suffix -en as their past participle.

Other than that, all other irregular words are different. Regular words on the other hand have the same base form for past tense and past participle.

Are you unsure whether you’re using the right verb tense in your English assignment? Try out the grammar check from Citation Machine Plus. As you're writing, easily start citing your sources in MLA format (or another style) with Citation Machine Plus's citing tools!

What are Irregular Imperfect Verbs?

If you speak another language such as Spanish or French, you're probably wondering whether there are irregular imperfect verbs in English. In other languages, irregular imperfect verbs discuss events in the past that are continuous. However, there's no imperfective form in English, and instead English speakers use "used to" and past continuous instead of irregular imperfect verbs. In other languages, irregular imperfect refers to the imperfect tense, simply known as the imperfect.

Why Focus on Irregular Past Tense Verbs?

Action and state of being words that don’t follow a standard structure are some of the oldest and most common words in the English language. Without them, communication is possible, yet basic. Thus, it’s important to learn how to use irregular verbs to develop your vocabulary. Here’s a list of irregular words that you can save or print as a PDF.

A List of Irregular Verbs: An Irregular Verbs List PDF

Base Form Past Tense Past Participle
be was/were been
begin began begun
bite bit bitten/bit
break broke broken
bring brought brought
buy bought bought
catch caught caught
choose chose chosen
come came come
do did done
drag dragged dragged
draw drew drawn
dream dreamed/dreamt dreamt
drive drove driven
drown drowned drowned
eat ate eaten
fall fell fallen
fight fought fought
fly flew flown
forget forgot forgotten
forgive forgave forgiven
freeze froze frozen
get got got/gotten
give gave given
go went gone
grow grew grown
hang hung hung
hide hid hidden
know knew known
lose lost lost
ride rode ridden
ring rang rung
rise rose risen
run ran run
see saw seen
shake shook shaken
sing sang sung
sit sat sat
speak spoke spoken
swim swam swum
take took taken
tear tore torn
throw threw thrown
uses used used
wear wore worn
write wrote written

What is an Irregular Verb? Irregular Verbs Worksheet

The list above contains 47 of the most common irregular words in the English language. Memorize as many as you can, and then use this worksheet to test your memory:

Base Form Past Tense Past Participle
begin begun
bite bit bitten/bit
bring brought
choose chosen
come came
do done
drag dragged
draw drew
dream dreamt
drive drove
drown drowned
eat eaten
fall fell
fight fought
fly flown
forget forgot
freeze froze
get got/gotten
give gave
go went
grow grown
hang hung
hide hidden
know knew
ride rode
ring rung
rise rose
run run
shake shaken
sing sang
sit sat
swim swum
take took taken
tear tore
throw threw
wear wore
write written

Be sure to circle the words you don't understand or that you don't conjugate correctly. Once you’re done, why not take some time to learn about APA format and more styles for citing your next research paper? Give it a try by following the above links.