Irregular Verbs in English

Verbs are the backbone of any language, and English is no exception. While many verbs in English follow regular patterns when it comes to conjugation, there is a category known as “irregular verbs” that can be a bit tricky for learners. In this article, we will look into the intricacies of irregular verbs in English.


What Are Irregular Verbs?

Irregular verbs are a group of verbs in English that do not follow the typical pattern of conjugation when changing tenses. Unlike regular verbs, which add “-ed” to form past tenses, irregular verbs have unique forms for the past simple and past participle. Learning these irregular forms can be challenging, as they often require memorization.


Examples of Irregular Verbs

Let’s explore some common irregular verbs and their irregular forms:



Past Simple: Went

  • Example: She went to the park yesterday.

Past Participle: Gone

  • Example: They have gone on a road trip.



Past Simple: Ate

  • Example: He ate pizza for dinner.

Past Participle: Eaten

  • Example: They have already eaten their lunch.



Past Simple: Drove

  • Example: She drove to the airport this morning.

Past Participle: Driven

  • Example: They have driven for hours without a break.



Past Simple: Saw

  • Example: I saw a movie last night.

Past Participle: Seen

  • Example: Have you ever seen a ghost?



Past Simple: Took

  • Example: She took the keys from the table.

Past Participle: Taken

  • Example: They have taken a long vacation.



Past Simple: Drank

  • Example: He drank a glass of water.

Past Participle: Drunk

  • Example: They have drunk all the soda.



Past Simple: Broke

  • Example: She broke her phone accidentally.

Past Participle: Broken

  • Example: The vase is broken; we need to fix it.



Past Simple: Sang

  • Example: She sang a beautiful song at the concert.

Past Participle: Sung

  • Example: They have sung together in the choir for years.



Past Simple: Swam

  • Example: They swam in the ocean all day.

Past Participle: Swum

  • Example: I’ve never swum in a lake before.



Past Simple: Fell

  • Example: She fell down the stairs.

Past Participle: Fallen

  • Example: Leaves have fallen from the trees in autumn.



Past Simple: Began

  • Example: The movie began at 7 PM.

Past Participle: Begun

  • Example: They have begun a new project.



Past Simple: Chose

  • Example: She chose the red dress for the party.

Past Participle: Chosen

  • Example: They have chosen a different path in life.


These examples illustrate the irregular forms of these verbs and how they are used in sentences to convey actions in the past and past participle forms. Irregular verbs add diversity and complexity to the English language, making it important for learners to familiarize themselves with them for effective communication.


Learning Irregular Verbs

Now that we’ve looked into some examples, you might be wondering how to effectively learn irregular verbs. Here are some tips:

  1. Memorize the Forms: The most effective way to learn irregular verbs is to memorize their past simple and past participle forms. Create flashcards or lists to help you remember them.

  2. Practice: Use irregular verbs in sentences to reinforce your memory. Try to incorporate them into your daily conversations and writing.

  3. Pay Attention to Patterns: While irregular verbs don’t follow regular conjugation patterns, some of them share similarities in their irregular forms. Pay attention to these patterns to make learning easier.

  4. Use Language Learning Apps: Many language learning apps and websites offer exercises and quizzes to practice irregular verbs.

  5. Read and Listen: Exposure to English through reading books, articles, and listening to native speakers will help you become more familiar with how irregular verbs are used in context.