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Verb Forms and Verb Tenses (#9): Irregular Past Forms, by Dennis Oliver

 

Verb Forms and Verb Tenses (#9):

Irregular Past Forms

 

English verbs have five basic forms: the base form, the - S form,
the - ing form, the past form, and the past participle form. There
are two types of past forms--for
regular and irregular verbs.

The past forms of irregular verbs are challenging because there
are no easy rules for forming them. Some are the same as the base
form, some change their vowels and/or endings, and a few are
completely different from the base forms.

Here is a list of more than 140 common irregular verbs:

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arise / arose
awake / awoke

be / was, were
bear / bore
beat / beat
become / became
begin / began
bend / bent
bet / bet
bid / bade, bid*
bind / bound
bite / bit
bleed / bled
blow / blew
break / broke
breed / bred
bring / brought
build / built
burn / burned, burnt*
burst / burst
buy / bought

cast / cast
catch / caught
choose / chose
come / came
cost / cost
creep / crept
cut / cut

deal / dealt
dig / dug
dive / dived, dove*
do / did
draw / drew
dream / dreamed, dreamt*
drink / drank
drive / drove
dwell / dwelt

eat / ate

fall / fell
feed / fed
fight / fought
find / found
flee / fled
fly / flew
forbid / forbade, forbad
forget / forgot
forgive / forgave
forsake / forsook
freeze / froze

get / got
give / gave
go / went
grind / ground
grow / grew

hang / hanged, hung*
have / had
hear / heard
hide / hid
hit / hit
hold / held
hurt / hurt

keep / kept
kneel / knelt
knit / knitted, knit*
know / knew

lay / laid
lead / led
lean / leaned, leant*
leap / leapt, leaped*
learn / learned, learnt*
leave / left
lend / lent
let / let
lie / lay
light / lighted, lit*
lose / lost

 


make / made
mean / meant
meet / met
mistake / mistook

partake / partook
pay / paid
put / put

read / read*
rend / rent
rid / rid
ride / rode
rise / rose
run / ran

say / said
see / saw
seek / sought
sell / sold
send / sent
set / set
shake / shook
shed / shed
shine / shone
shoot / shot
shrink / shrank
shut / shut
sing / sang
sink / sank
sit / sat
slay / slew
sleep / slept
slide / slid
sling / slung
slit / slit
speak / spoke
speed / sped, speeded*
spin / spun
spit / spat
split / split
spring / sprang
stand / stood
steal / stole
stick / stuck
sting / stung
stink / stank
stride / strode
strive / strove
swear / swore
sweep / swept
swim / swam
swing / swung

take / took
teach / taught
tear / tore
tell / told
think / thought
throw / threw
tread / trod

understand / understood
upset / upset

wake / woke
wear / wore
weave / wove
weep / wept
win / won
wind / wound
wring / wrung
write / wrote

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Special Notes:

 1.  

For some verbs, the common past form in British
English ends in - t, but the same verbs end in - ed
in American English. Here are a few examples:

burn / burned, burnt
dream / dreamed, dreamt
lean / leaned, leant
learn / learned, learnt
smell / smelled, smelt
spill / spilled, spilt

     
2.  

Notice that some verbs have two different past forms.
Here are a few examples:

bid / bid, bade
dive / dived, dove
forbid / forbade, forbad
knit / knitted, knit
light / lighted, lit
speed / sped, speeded

     
3.  

The verb hang has two meanings and a different past
form for each meaning:

hang ("kill by hanging, with a noose") / hanged

hang ("suspend") / hung

     
4.  

The past form of read has the same spelling as the
base form, but a different pronunciation:

read ( [ ryd ]) / read ( [ red ] )

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Next:
past participles

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