Irregular Verbs That Drove You Crazy in Grade School


By Amanda Marie Clark

In grade school, you probably loved the verb jump. It followed the rules: add “ed” for its past tense and add nothing for the present tense. But then your teacher bombarded you with verbs that were not as easy to change—like eat changes to ate, not eated—and you may have wanted to tear your hair out!

“Mischievous” irregular verbs make us want to scream because they disregard all of the rules we so easily remembered. Maybe you’ve finally mastered these tricky beasts, or perhaps they still trip you up.

Regardless, why not join us while we tackle these naughty verbs once again?

Below is a short irregular verbs list. We’ll give you the infinitive (example: to eat), break down the tenses, and show correct/incorrect ways to use these devilish words. You’ll want to stick around until the end for a quiz that’ll test if you’ve truly mastered these irregular verbs that drove you crazy in grade school. If you’re still worried about your skills after that, run your next paper through Citation Machine Plus’s grammar check tool. It can help flag some misused or incorrect irregular verbs, and other grammatical mistakes, so you have a chance to fix them and improve your paper.

1. To Eat

Hungry students frequently use the verb “to eat.” It’s an important one to know if you plan to eat your favorite after-school snack. But this verb can be rough for grade schoolers.

Tense breakdown

  • Present simple: eat
  • Past simple: ate
  • Past participle: eaten

Example sentences

  • I ate a huge piece of chicken. NOT I eated a huge piece of chicken.
  • I have eaten chicken before. NOT I have ate chicken before.

2. To See

Grade schoolers want to describe what they see, but the verb, “to see” doesn’t require adding “ed”. You wouldn’t say, “I seed the monster.” You’d say, “I saw the monster.” And hopefully, you ran away.

Tense breakdown

  • Present simple: see
  • Past simple: saw
  • Past participle: seen  

Example sentences

  • I saw a wacky looking monkey. NOT I seen a wacky looking monkey.
  • I have seen a wacky looking monkey. NOT I have saw a wacky looking monkey.

3. To Wear

When you were in grade school, you might have been all about fashion, but the verb “to wear” put a jam in your style. Grade schoolers might say, “I weared” or “I have weared” the jeans. An easy mistake, but these tough sentences should be “I wore” or “I have worn the jeans.”

Tense breakdown

  • Present simple: wear
  • Past simple: wore
  • Past participle: worn

Example sentences

  • I wore a rocking outfit yesterday. NOT I weared a rocking outfit yesterday.
  • I have worn that skirt before. NOT I have weared that skirt before.

4. To Swim

When you were in grade school, you might have just learned to swim. And perhaps you were psyched to talk about your new talents. But then you found out that the verb “to swim” wasn’t the easiest verb to change up.

You might have been justifiably confused and said, “I’ve swam to the dock every Tuesday.” When it’s actually, “I’ve swum to the dock every Tuesday.” What? It’s okay if this one still makes your eyes cross.

Tense breakdown

  • Present simple: swim
  • Past simple: swam
  • Past participle: swum

Example sentences

  • I swam to the Island yesterday. NOT I swimmed to the Island yesterday.
  • I’ve swum to the rock every day. NOT I’ve swam to the rock every day.

5. To Beat

You probably listened to some sweet beats in grade school, but the verb “to beat” was not one you wanted to mess around with.

“To beat” is wacky in the sense that you might want to say, “I beated him at that video game.” When it’s, “I beat him at that video game.” That crazy participle, “beaten” may have also tripped you up.

Tense breakdown

  • Present simple: beat
  • Past simple: beat
  • Past participle: beaten

Example sentences

  • I beat the system. NOT I beated the system.
  • I have beaten the rug. NOT I have beat the rug.

6. To Become

The verb “to become” still confuses many adults. In middle school, it might have made you want to run to the teacher’s closet.

It’s irregular in every way you can think of, so mistakes are easy to make with this nightmarish word.

You might want to say, “I have became a race car driver.” But it’s really, “I have become a race car driver.” Check out some other common mistakes with this verb below.

Tense breakdown

  • Present simple: become
  • Past simple: became
  • Past participle: become

Example sentences

  • She had become a great dancer NOT She had became a great dancer.
  • She became a wonderful friend NOT She becomed a wonderful friend.

7. To Break

You might have had your first crush in grade school. And there’s nothing like a broken heart. But the verb “to break”—that you used to describe your one-week relationship—was a pain.

You may have wanted to say “He breaked my heart.” Instead of ”He broke my heart.

Or maybe you wanted to say that your heart was “broken,” but it came out that your heart was “broke.” It was sad either way. Let’s break it down.

Tense breakdown

  • Present simple: break
  • Past simple: broke
  • Past participle: broken

Example sentences

  • I broke my leg. NOT I breaked my leg.
  • I have broken the sign. NOT I have broke the sign.

Irregular Verbs Quiz

Whoosh, your head might still be spinning, but why not take a quiz to see what you’ve learned?

1. The boy had _____ a wonderful young man

  • a. Become
  • b. Became
  • c. Came


2. I _____ a spicy pepper yesterday.

  • a. Eaten
  • b. Ate
  • c. Eat


3. The angry man _____ the clock.

  • a. Broke
  • b. Breaked
  • c. Broken


4. I have _____ the Muppets Movie ten times!

  • a. Saw
  • b. See
  • c. Seen


5. I _____ his time yesterday.

  • a. Beaten
  • b. Beat
  • c. Beats


6. She has _____ her hair like that for years.

  • a. Wear
  • b. Worn
  • c. Weared


7. The poodle had _____ to the dock daily.

  • a. Swam
  • b. Swum
  • c. Swimmed


8. Frankenstein _____ the light.

  • a. Seen
  • b. Seed
  • c. Saw


9. You have _____ two cakes today!

  • a. Eaten
  • b. Ate
  • c. Aten


10. The nice lady had _____ the tea cup.

  • a. Breaks
  • b. Broke
  • c. Broken



Great work! Now you’re a pro at using those verbs that drove you crazy in middle school.

A good research paper needs not only good grammar, but also good citations. Create yours with Citation Machine! If you’re in need of MLA formatting, APA citations, a Chicago style citation, or other citation tasks, we can help!

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?

Tagged: verbs

Under Writing