Irregular Verbs in English and Their Usage

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:

infinitive Simple past tense Past participle
have had had
be Was/were been
Go went gone
hear heard heard
Hide hid hid
hit hit hit

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 form Past tense Past participle
awake Awoke/awaked Awoken/awaked
alight Alighted/alit Alighted/alit
arise arose arisen
build built built
break broke broken
bring brought brought
buy bought bought
begin began begun
beat beat Beaten/beat
become became become
be Was/were been
bend bent bent
bite bit bitten
bleed bled bled
burn Burnt/burned Burnt/burned
burst burst burst
Creep crept crept
cost cost cost
crow crowed Crew/crowed
come came come
can could  
choose chose chosen
catch caught caught
cast cast cast
cut cut cut
dwell Dwelt/dwelled Dwelt/dwelled
draw drew drawn
do did done
drive drove driven
deal dealt dealt
drink drank drunk
dug dug dug
dream Dreamt/dreamed Dreamt/dreamed
eat ate eaten
find found found
feel felt felt
fly flew flown
fight fought fought
flee fled fled
forget forgot forgotten
fling flung flung
freeze froze frozen
grow grew grown
go went gone
grind ground ground
gnaw gnawed Gnawed/gnawn
grip Gripped/gript Gripped/gript
geld Gelt/gelded Gelt/gelded
get got Got/gotten
give gave given
hear heard heard
have had had
hang hung hung
hide hid hidden
hit hit hit
hurt hurt hurt
hold held held
know knew known
knit Knitted/knit Knitted/knit
keep kept kept
kneel Knelt/kneeled Knelt/kneeled
lead led led
lay laid laid
lean Leant/leaned Leant/leaned
leap Leapt/leaped Leapt/leaped
learn Learnt/learned Learnt/learned
leave left left
let let let
lie lay lain
may might  
make made made
melt melted Molten/melted
mean meant meant
meet met met
pen Pent/penned Pent/penned
put put put
prove proved Proven/proved
plead Pled/pleaded Pled/pleaded
pay paid paid
quit Quit/quitted Quit/quitted
rid Rid/ridded Rid/ridded
read read read
ride rode ridden
ring rang rung
rise rose risen
run ran run
sell sold sold
send sent sent
shoot shot shot
shrink Shrank/shrunk shrunk
sing sang sung
sleep slept slept
smell Smelt/smelled Smelt/smelled
spend spent spent
throw threw thrown
thrust thrust thrust
teach taught taught
think thought thought
understand understood understood
wake Woke/waked Woken/waked
weep wept wept
wet Wet/wetted Wet/wetted
win won won
wind wound wound
write wrote written

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.