Irregular verbs

Level: beginner

Most verbs have a past tense and past participle with –ed:

worked
played    
listened

But many of the most frequent verbs are irregular:

Base form Past tense Past participle
be was/were been
begin began begun
break broke broken
bring brought brought
buy bought bought
build built built
choose chose chosen
come came come
cost cost cost
cut cut cut
do did done
draw drew drawn
drive drove driven
eat ate eaten
feel felt felt
find found found
get got got
give gave given
go went gone
have had had
hear heard heard
hold held held
keep kept kept
know knew known
leave left left
lead led led
let let let
lie lay lain
lose lost lost
make made made
mean meant meant
meet met met
pay paid paid
put put put
run ran run
say said said
see saw seen
sell sold sold
send sent sent
set set set
sit sat sat
speak spoke spoken
spend spent spent
stand stood stood
take took taken
teach taught taught
tell told told
think thought thought
understand understood understood
wear wore worn
win won won
write wrote written
Irregular verbs

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Average: 4 (769 votes)

Submitted by User_1 on Thu, 13/07/2023 - 14:01

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Hello
I do not know if this is the right session, but I would ask you about the verbs:
"to lend" and "to borrow"
Although "to lend" refers to giving something to someone, and "to borrow" to taking and using something from others, I struggle to put this concept into practice.
For instance, now it is easy for me to remember:
"Can you lend me your umbrella?" or "Can I borrow your umbrella?"
If you ask me the difference in a few hours, I will not be sure which one is the correct form.
Do you have any suggestions?
Thanks for help.

Hi User_1,

I would suggest that as part of your vocabulary learning, you try to use the words in meaningful conversations, writing or speaking. For example, try to use the words when you are writing your diary, talking to someone, or taking an English class. When you use the new words, it forces you to think about the words more, associate them with other words, and put them into a meaningful context. All of these things can be cues for your memory.

Also, difficulty may appear because you are learning "lend" and "borrow" at the same time, and their meanings are related. That means that their meanings can easily become confused in our memory. If this happens to you, I would suggest learning them one by one. Choose one to focus on first, and practise it. For example, if you focus on "lend", you can make some questions to ask to people (e.g. Can you lend me your phone? Can you lend me some money?) and look for opportunities to really ask those questions. You could also write some example sentences (e.g. Banks lend money) focusing on that word, look out for it when you are reading or listening, or search for "lend" in a dictionary and read the example sentences there. When the word feels comfortable and fixed in your vocabulary, move on to "borrow". 

I can give you an example from my own experience. I'm trying to learn Korean, and I always mixed up the words "autumn" and "winter" because they sound similar to me. But then I listened to a podcast about winter in Korea, and they repeated the word "winter" a lot. When I made some notes after listening, I wrote "winter" many times. That helped fix the word "winter" in my mind, and then it was easier to remember "autumn" after then. 

I hope that helps.

Jonathan

LearnEnglish team

Jonathan, your suggestion to learn the new words one by one
and practise one at a time into a meaningful context is really helpful.
Thanks for sharing your experience with Corean learning as well.
Knowing your struggles while learning a foreign language is reassuring.

Hi  User_1,

I'm glad it was helpful. I forgot to mention, to learn a word it also helps if you consider related words in the same word family. For example, related to "lend" are:

  • lending
  • lender (= a business or person that lends money)
  • lent (= past form of lend)

You may be able to make meaningful sentences with these (e.g. In my town, there are many money lenders. / Money lending between friends can cause problems), which can then help you to memorise the meaning of the base word.

About struggles, I'm sure that everyone who is learning a language can relate. Learning a language may seem like climbing a mountain, but there are many of us climbing as well so you are in good company :)

Jonathan

LearnEnglish team

Hi Jonathan,
Thanks for your further hints, and for your kind encouragement about learning a foreign language.
Since English is an international and worldwide language, making mistakes in English is heavier than learning a less common language (e.g. the Italian).

Submitted by Roman... on Thu, 17/11/2022 - 02:28

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This is irrelevant question but I need to ask. Would you please tell me what are the references in English language Grammar? Like a list of early books that can be considered as references for grammar.
Thanks in advance.

Hello Roman,

I'm afraid we don't recommend books, but I can make a suggestion. I'd suggest you do an internet search for 'best books to learn English grammar'. Compare the recommendations on two or three pages and then make a list of the top two or three books recommended. Then read the descriptions and, if possible, see what the pages inside look like so that you can choose the one that you think will be most useful for you.

Good luck!

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by themarvelous93 on Mon, 20/12/2021 - 10:12

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Do we have some rules for changing the base form to past?

Hello themarvelous93,

The rules are explained at the top of this page. For most verbs (which we call 'regular' verbs), we add '-ed' or '-d' to the end of the base form. 'work' becomes 'worked', 'play' becomes 'played', 'escape' becomes 'escaped'.

The past forms for irregular verbs are not regular -- you just have to learn them. Sometimes people study these verbs in groups based on the past simple form -- for example, 'buy', 'bring' and 'think' all have '-ought' in their past simple form: 'bought', 'brought' and 'thought'.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Adreyan on Sun, 21/02/2021 - 06:29

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Sir what is past participle of twist

Submitted by juliafer on Fri, 22/01/2021 - 01:56

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Dear professor, could you help me to analyze the word "gotten" what form do we use in ?

Hi juliafer,

Gotten is a past participle of the verb get. You could say, for example:

  • The wind’s gotten stronger. (present perfect)
  • He hasn’t gotten a job yet. (present perfect)
  • I was a bit ill but I’ve gotten much better. (present perfect)
  • I was tired because I hadn't gotten any sleep. (past perfect)

There is another past participle of getgot. Using got is more common in British English and using gotten is more common in American English. 

Best wishes,

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Nagie23 on Sun, 03/01/2021 - 17:15

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Hi, Happy New Year. I would like to ask if the following are correct 1. Television and radio has a big part of the market. Is this sentence correct? Thank you in advance
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Submitted by Jonathan R on Mon, 04/01/2021 - 07:36

In reply to by Nagie23

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Hi Nagie23,

Happy New Year to you too :)

Yes, it's correct!

There are two things here (Television and radio). So, we might consider the subject to be 'They', which needs the third person plural verb form: Television and radio have ...

But, if the speaker says Television and radio has ... , it shows that the speaker thinks of these things (Television and radio) as two parts of a single thing (e.g. broadcast media), which is an 'it' instead of a 'they'. So, the concept is slightly different.

Another example of this is: Fish and chips is delicious. We could say 'is' instead of 'are' to show that we are talking about the dish as an undivided whole.

Does that make sense?

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by xavierF on Thu, 24/09/2020 - 15:28

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Hi, I'm from France, and i would just like to know, does anyone knows free websites to improve English? Thanks
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Submitted by OlaIELTS on Mon, 27/07/2020 - 00:50

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This is really helpful. Thanks.

Submitted by su maddiq on Wed, 28/08/2019 - 08:46

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hi my name is su maddiq

Submitted by SajadKhan on Sun, 29/07/2018 - 10:19

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Hi, In previous lesson exercises, I'm not sure if the listed answers are correct. 1. In November, we’ll have been living in this house for ten years. Now verb phrase listed as the answer is "will have been", I think it should be "will have been living" if I'm wrong then please explain why 'living' is not considered part of the main verb. 2. Lorena must’ve been really happy to see her sister again after all this time. In answer 'been' is listed as the Modal verb, I guess this is a mistake, the modal verb is 'must'. isn't it? Regards
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Submitted by Peter M. on Mon, 30/07/2018 - 06:06

In reply to by SajadKhan

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Hi SajadKhan,

We'd like to check your examples but we're not sure which pages they come from. Could you please post the comment on the relevant page and let us know which exercise the examples come from, or else post a link to the page? Then we'll be able to check and correct any errors we find.


Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Peter, These are from https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/english-grammar/verb-phrases-intermediate Regards
Profile picture for user Peter M.

Submitted by Peter M. on Tue, 31/07/2018 - 06:55

In reply to by SajadKhan

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Hi SajadKhan,

Thank you for the link. You are correct about both questions and I will edit the task accordingly. It may take a little time for the changes to appear in the task but they will be corrected.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by SonuKumar on Tue, 12/06/2018 - 11:52

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Sir, You shock or run by seeing me You shock or run seeing me. Which one is appropriate, the one with 'By' or without it ?

Hi SonuKumar,

I'm afraid I don't understand what you mean by 'you shock or run', so I'm afraid I can't say.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by SonuKumar on Sun, 10/06/2018 - 11:07

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Sir, I'll get your phone number recharged to talk (to you) in future. Or I'll get your phone number recharged for For talking (to you) in future. I think the first one is right isn't it ?
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Submitted by Kirk Moore on Mon, 11/06/2018 - 01:51

In reply to by SonuKumar

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Hi SonuKumar,

Yes, the first is better.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by jcsj1172 on Wed, 16/05/2018 - 08:54

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Very good excercise, only one fault. To catch

Submitted by SonuKumar on Sun, 13/05/2018 - 14:25

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Sir, My Car has not been around Since last night. I wonder If I can rewrite this sentence like this- My car has been disappeared or vanished since last night. I want to say that this company was closed 18 years ago or It's been 18 years since this company was closed. Could I also say this thing like this- This company has been closed since the year 2000 ? Note, I'm using the past participle 'closed' as an adjective here, One might misunderstand it as ed form of the transitive verb close.

Hi SonuKumar,

'disappear' and 'vanish' are intransitive verbs, so they are not used in passive constructions like the ones in your sentences. You could say 'My car disappeared (or vanished) last night' and that would be fine.

As for your second question, yes, that is correct and well-formed.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by SonuKumar on Sat, 28/04/2018 - 12:15

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Sir, Sit, Stand, Stay and Live. Are these stative verbs ?
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Submitted by harish kumar sharma on Sun, 11/03/2018 - 03:45

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Hello,Are both sentences correct? It is easy to read. It is easy for reading.

Hello harish kumar sharma,

The first sentence is fine but the second is not correct.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello harish kumar sharma,

The meaning of the sentence is as follows:

Reading it is easy.

 

When we have a sentence like this we use an infinitive after the adjective:

Reading it is easy > It is easy to read

Explaining it is hard > It is hard to explain

Eating it is good > It is good to eat

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by tryon on Thu, 22/02/2018 - 06:45

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can you talk about "tobe" verb? i don't know when use "be". ex: you'll BE late for school. why not use "are"

Hello hathe,

After 'will' to talk about the future we use the infinitive form. For example:

You will be late for school.

She'll finish work at four o'clock.

 

If we want to talk about something which is true now then we use a present form. For example:

You are late for school.

She finishes work at four o'clock.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

dear somtimes i cant master infinitive form of tobe. could you show me full form of it ? or give me material of it, please. for ex: in magazines today there are many article telling us that we need to drink a lot of water to "be" healthy and beautiful . and more. it isnt belong future form. thanks
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Submitted by Peter M. on Sun, 15/04/2018 - 07:42

In reply to by tryon

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Hello tryon,

The form 'to be' is the infinitive form of the verb. It is used in the same way as other infinitives. Your example from the magazines is an example of what is called an infinitive of purpose. This is an infinitive form used to show the reason for an action. For example, in this sentence the 'to be healthy' part means 'in order to be healthy' or 'so that we can be healthy'.

We need to drink a lot of water to be healthy.

You can read more about the infinitive form, including the infinitive of purpose, on this page.

Peter
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by tryon on Mon, 16/04/2018 - 19:08

In reply to by tryon

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oh... my "belong" . ive mistaken that was an adj.

Submitted by html on Mon, 05/02/2018 - 09:47

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Thank you Sir for always helping us with our questions regarding English grammar.

Submitted by html on Sun, 04/02/2018 - 08:33

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Is 'We will talk later' and 'We talk later' have the same meaning or is it grammatically incorrect to say 'We talk later' since the word later denotes future? Because I always hear native English speakers especially Americans saying 'talk to you later' instead of' I'll talk to you later.' Do they have the same meaning also? Thanks.

Hello html,

'We talk later' by itself is not correct. 'We will talk later' could be correct in context -- see our talking about the future page for a more detailed explanation of the different forms typically used to speak about the future.

'talk to you later' (as a way of saying goodbye) is an abbreviated form of 'I'll talk to you later' (the word 'I'll' has been removed). In this case, 'will' is a kind of promise, I'd say.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by MoussA El-GazzaR on Fri, 19/01/2018 - 13:53

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What's the difference between sit and set ?

Hello MoussA El-GazzaR,

These are two entirely different words without any particular similarity. For the base definitions and uses of these words you can check in a dictionary:

set

sit

 

If you have particular examples in mind then please post the sentences and we'll be happy to comment on those.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team