Irregular Verbs in English and Their Usage

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Every sentence in English must have a verb for it to become complete. Mostly the irregularity of the verb is about its past tense or its past participle. You can also understand how to put verbs into their participles and past participles by classifying them into regular or irregular from.

When studying regular verbs in English is quite easy this is because you simply add -ed for both the past tense and the past participle. On the other hand, irregular verbs require to be studied and maybe memorised individually. There are several irregular verbs in English but there are commonly used irregular verbs. They include:

infinitiveSimple past tensePast participle
havehadhad
beWas/werebeen
Gowentgone
hearheardheard
Hidehidhid
hithithit

These are just but examples of the commonly used irregular verbs in English.

What is an irregular verb?

For us to understand what an irregular verb is we first have to know the definition of irregular.  Irregular means contrary or which does not follow the rules or the usual form. An irregular verb is a verb whose past tense does not follow the usual form of conjugation. Given an irregular verb ‘be’ it shows different forms such as he is, I am, you are which are different from the regular verbs such as laugh which carry the form I laugh, you laugh, he laughs.

There are several examples of irregular verbs. For example, sing, go. Their irregular past tense verbs take the form sang and went which are completely different from the regular verbs, which have an -ed or -d ending. For example, cooked, worked etc. there are verb tenses that have irregular forms. Forms of irregular verbs occur in simple present and simple past and also past participles.

List of irregular verbs

Irregular verbs have different forms. we shall take look at the different forms of irregular verbs with their different forms of tenses.

Examples of verbs in English, their past tense and past participles.

Irregular verbs

Infinitive formPast tensePast participle
awakeAwoke/awakedAwoken/awaked
alightAlighted/alitAlighted/alit
arisearosearisen
buildbuiltbuilt
breakbrokebroken
bringbroughtbrought
buyboughtbought
beginbeganbegun
beatbeatBeaten/beat
becomebecamebecome
beWas/werebeen
bendbentbent
bitebitbitten
bleedbledbled
burnBurnt/burnedBurnt/burned
burstburstburst
Creepcreptcrept
costcostcost
crowcrowedCrew/crowed
comecamecome
cancould 
choosechosechosen
catchcaughtcaught
castcastcast
cutcutcut
dwellDwelt/dwelledDwelt/dwelled
drawdrewdrawn
dodiddone
drivedrovedriven
dealdealtdealt
drinkdrankdrunk
dugdugdug
dreamDreamt/dreamedDreamt/dreamed
eatateeaten
findfoundfound
feelfeltfelt
flyflewflown
fightfoughtfought
fleefledfled
forgetforgotforgotten
flingflungflung
freezefrozefrozen
growgrewgrown
gowentgone
grindgroundground
gnawgnawedGnawed/gnawn
gripGripped/griptGripped/gript
geldGelt/geldedGelt/gelded
getgotGot/gotten
givegavegiven
hearheardheard
havehadhad
hanghunghung
hidehidhidden
hithithit
hurthurthurt
holdheldheld
knowknewknown
knitKnitted/knitKnitted/knit
keepkeptkept
kneelKnelt/kneeledKnelt/kneeled
leadledled
laylaidlaid
leanLeant/leanedLeant/leaned
leapLeapt/leapedLeapt/leaped
learnLearnt/learnedLearnt/learned
leaveleftleft
letletlet
lielaylain
maymight 
makemademade
meltmeltedMolten/melted
meanmeantmeant
meetmetmet
penPent/pennedPent/penned
putputput
proveprovedProven/proved
pleadPled/pleadedPled/pleaded
paypaidpaid
quitQuit/quittedQuit/quitted
ridRid/riddedRid/ridded
readreadread
rideroderidden
ringrangrung
riseroserisen
runranrun
sellsoldsold
sendsentsent
shootshotshot
shrinkShrank/shrunkshrunk
singsangsung
sleepsleptslept
smellSmelt/smelledSmelt/smelled
spendspentspent
throwthrewthrown
thrustthrustthrust
teachtaughttaught
thinkthoughtthought
understandunderstoodunderstood
wakeWoke/wakedWoken/waked
weepweptwept
wetWet/wettedWet/wetted
winwonwon
windwoundwound
writewrotewritten

There are verbs which do not change their form with tense this include:

  • Bet
  • Bust
  • Burst
  • Bid
  • Cast
  • Cut
  • Hit
  • Hurt
  • Let
  • Put
  • Quit
  • Read
  • Shed
  • Set
  • Slit
  • Spilt
  • Spread
  • Thrust
  • Upset

Some irregular verbs may not change form or may add an -ed

  • Fit- fit/ fitted
  • Wed-wed/wedded
  • Wet- wet/wetted
  • Sweat-sweat/sweated
  • Rid-rid/ridded
  • Input-input/inputted

Examples in sentences

It is good to understand how different irregular verbs are used in a sentence. You can easily understand this by looking at different examples in sentences. Learning through examples is the best way of learning because it sticks into your mind.

Just like other verbs in English, irregular verbs can be used in forming sentences. Both the regular and irregular verb can be used in one sentence. Continuous study of irregular verbs, and looking at examples in sentences in all tenses will help learns understand irregular verb form.  We shall look at the different form of tenses. Example in sentences include:

Be/ been/was/were

Its has been long since i last saw Brian.

Mary was in London for ten years.

They were held in custody for two days.

We shall be at the auditions next month.

Become / became / become

Paul has become an incredible footballer.

What became of her after she left town?

I will become the best teacher in the years to come.

Begin/ began /begun

Begin with the maths assignment first then you will finish with science.

She began taking drugs when she was twenty.

Teaching haven’t begun yet.

Buy / bought/ bought

My dad bought a new car last month.

We usually buy tomatoes at the local market.

they’ve bought more clothes this year than last year.

Catch / caught / caught

Catch the ball now!

They caught the rat with a rat trap.

They thief was caught stealing on camera.

Cut/ cut / cut

How many trees have you cut yet?

I cut the meat yesterday.

Mary never cuts her nails.

Drink / drank /drunk

They will drink juice when they get to town.

Mary drank all the milk in the kitchen.

Have you drunk the water?

Drive / drove / driven

You should drive carefully next time.

They drove for hours before getting to the next city.

Have you ever driven a lorry?

Eat/ ate /eaten

You should eat your food before it gets cold.

She ate the sandwich which you left at the table.

Have the kids eaten their food?

Find /found / found

We shall find you a new ball.

The found the stolen car by the road.

They found her lying at the abandoned boat.

Give / gave / given

Give him the book now.

They were given an assignment.

She gave tom the book to read.

Have / had/ had

I had a lot to eat for dinner.

I’ve had enough of her.

I have a new phone.

Keep/ kept / kept

I will keep the house.

The baby kept crying for hours.

Have you kept your money in a safe deposit box?

Leave / left / left

Leave me alone or else i will call the police.

She left the office disappointed.

She’s left alone now.

Make / made / made

I will make something special for him.

They made her dance the whole night.

They have made a whole new discovery.

Pay / paid / paid

You should have paid them to avoid the drama.

Pay the cashier we leave this place.

They had paid the hotel last week.

Quit / quit / quit

They quit at the last minute.

You should have quit that habit a long time ago.

They had quit earlier than expected.

Read / read / read

Read for the exams early.

They read the novel yesterday.

You should have read the note by now.

Send / sent / sent

Send me the document via e-mail.

They sent the students home to get their parents.

He should have sent the document by now.

Teach / taught / taught

Teach your children how they should grow and they will not depart form it.

She taught me when i was in junior high.

They were taught how to read and write.

Weep / wept/ wept

She wept the entire evening.

Jesus wept at the cross.

I will weep if you go away.

It is good to understand irregular verbs in English because it helps you to improve your proficiency. Regular verbs are commonly used in construction of sentences. A sentence cannot make sense without a verb. You are going to have a good command in English once you master all the irregular verbs and regular verbs.

Having gone through the above examples am certain that you now understand what is irregular verbs and how they are used in sentences.