Irregular verbs

Level: beginner

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


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


Take your language skills and your career to the next level
Get unlimited access to our self-study courses for only £5.99/month.
hi xoxopooja i am a little bit out of practice but i think that i coud perhaps help u a little bit with your dout. you have to look for the concept of each tense, i mean, the secuence of time they are refering to. i don't know in this site because i am new here, but there are graphics that ilustrate the begining and end of the action for each verb tense taking as reference the person who is speaking or stating the phrase

Submitted by Rahul Paul on Mon, 11/08/2014 - 15:07

sir, is there any difference between 'climb' and 'climb up' ?
Hello Rahul, The meaning is very close, but I'd say that someone might add the 'up' for emphasis or clarity. It's possible, for example, to climb down a cliff. It can also simply be a stylistic choice. Best wishes, Adam The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by tagrapankaj on Wed, 06/08/2014 - 20:11

Your comment has been queued for review by site administrators and will be published after approval. can i also write it as your comment is queued for review by site administrators and will be published after approval. plz explain

Submitted by tagrapankaj on Wed, 06/08/2014 - 20:09

he is dead.. he has died.. both are used alternatively..what's the difference.. em confused in them. sir sometimes i get confused whether i should go with is/are or has/have +3rd form. plz clear my doubt.

Submitted by gaganjeetd on Thu, 31/07/2014 - 14:48

Please let me know which sentence is correct- He has good command on the english language He has good command over the english language Please explain and if we can use any other simple sentence for the above sentence.
Hello, I already answered this question on another page. Please don't ask the same question more than once. Best wishes, Adam The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by karthikghr on Tue, 29/07/2014 - 09:00

Hi , I would like to know one info that past tense & past participle .....what's the exact difference.. Can i have couple of example for each ...

Submitted by Kirk on Tue, 29/07/2014 - 15:30

In reply to by karthikghr


Hello karthikghr,

The past tense is also known as the second form and is equivalent to the past simple form, which is explained on our past simple and talking about the past pages. The past participle is also known as the third form, and is used, among other ways, to form  present perfect and past perfect forms.

I hope this helps you. If you have further questions, please try writing an example sentence - that way we can help you much better.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by manisha varma on Sun, 20/07/2014 - 14:17

hiii everyone.. I have to improve my can anyone a good teacher can help me to improve my english?? i want a good guideance. pls tell me how can I??

Hi manisha varma,

Is there some specific aspect of your English you would like to work on? The more specific your question, the more we will be able to help you.

I can give you some general advice. Remember that learning is a very individual process which depends in great part on your strengths and weaknesses, your interests and your needs in English.  What is best for one learner is not best for another.  However, I can make some general suggestions:

One good approach is to start with skills work.  Use the listening and reading materials here on LearnEnglish (remember that the listening texts usually have transcripts to read as well) and supplement them with selected areas from the grammar sections (particularly here, here and here).  Start with something accessble, such as the Elementary Podcast section, and after that try different sections to see which are most useful to you.

As you listen, do the exercises.  Then, listen again with the transcript (available for most of our recordings) and note any language features which are new, both lexis (vocabulary and phrases) and grammar.  Then use the language sections linked above to work on those areas.  That way you will work on language that you need, rather than just going through structures for the sake of it.  Make a vocabulary notebook, organised by topic (e.g. 'work', 'sport', 'food' etc.) in which you can keep a record of new words that you come across as you work.

Remember to practise your English.  This could be by speaking with a partner if you know someone with whom you can practise, or it could be by speaking aloud when you are alone at home - this is a very useful technique.  You can also post comments on LearnEnglish in the comments sections.  We can't correct what you write, but we do read everything before it is posted and other users will respond, so you can have a conversation that way.

Most of all, practise as often as possible.  It's better to practise an hour every day than seven hours once a week, so make your practice as frequent as possible.

I hope those suggestions are helpful.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Portillanat on Tue, 15/07/2014 - 21:30

Hello, I don't see the issue of defective verbs on the page, could tell me what it is and how is it used? Please

Hello Portillanat,

The term 'defective verbs' refers to verbs which do not have all the forms which most verbs have.  For example, a verb like 'can' has no infinitive form (and instead we use 'be able to'), while 'must' has no past form (and instead we use 'had to').  You can see, I think, that it is not a question of 'how they are used', so much as simply being aware that certain verbs do not have certain forms, and these are dealt with on pages relevant to those verbs, such as the modal verbs mentioned above.

I hope that clarifies it for you.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Dolphinzhu on Sun, 29/06/2014 - 15:50

HI everyone .I want to improve my oral english , who want to join me ,please add me . my skype is xxxxxxxxxx .

Hi Dolphinzhu,

It's great that you are so keen to practise your English.  However, please remember that our House Rules ask users not to give or ask for personal data such as email addresses, Skype names and so on.  This is because we have some users who are under 18 years of age, and so we must be careful with personal data.

Best wishes and thank you,



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Glauci on Tue, 24/06/2014 - 23:31

Hi, Teachers I'd like to know whether I can say "Where did that car go to? or "Where did that car go?"

Hello Glauci,

The second sentence is used much more than the first one. The preposition to is often left out in such questions, though it is necessary in a full answer (e.g. The car went to the petrol station).

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by ankita2219 on Tue, 15/04/2014 - 15:59

How do we define past participle? How is the past participle of come becomes "Come" and not "came". Thank you.

Hello ankita2219,

There are four main forms for the English verb:

the first form (also called the base form or the infitive without 'to')

the second form (also called the past form)

the third form (also called the past participle)

the -ing form (also called the present participle)

The third form is used to make certain constructions such as passive forms and perfect forms.

You can find out more about the English verb in this section.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Peter, I have a doubt about infinitive. Infinitive verbs refer to verbs without "to" as you said above. My question is why sometimes are verbs given with "to"? For example a teacher can mention for the lesson saying, today we are going to talk about "to be" verbs or "be" verbs. What does "to be" and "be" mean? I am studying French using English websites. They explain sometimes a verb like below. to speak = parler to run = courir what if we say; speak = parler run = courir Can you explain these for me please. Thanks for your answer in advance.

Hello again knownman,

This is really a question of terminology. Some people use the term to refer to the base form (learn, kick, be) while others include 'to' (to learn, to kick, to be) and describe the base form as the 'infinitive without to'. I prefer the first of these, and so usually write 'to + infinitive' or 'to + verb' or 'to + base form', depending on the context and audience.

For reference, this is the entry in my linguistics dictionary:

infinitive (n.) (inf, INF)

A traditional term for the non-finite form of the verb usually cited as its unmarked or base form, e.g. go, walk, kick, though some languages mark it syntactically or morphologically. In English, the infinitive form may be used alone or in conjunction with the particle to (the to-infinitive), e.g. he saw her go v. he wants to go. The form without to is sometimes known as the bare or zero infinitive. Inserting an adverb or other element between the to and the verb results in the split infinitive. In government-binding theory, the term infinitive (or infinitival) clause is used for constructions with to-infinitive.

A Dictionary of Contermporary Linguistics and Phonetics, 6th edition (David Crystal, Blackwell Publishing)



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by a.avizhe on Mon, 07/04/2014 - 07:01

great great great.thank you

Submitted by Clarrie on Thu, 27/03/2014 - 16:44

I feel I have missed so many days without visiting this helpful Website. I really struggled a lot to Read, Write and Speak English. Yet I have to develop my Communication Skills perfect with Correct Grammar usage. This site is really very helpful to all age group of people. Hats Off to British Council.....

Submitted by Clarrie on Thu, 27/03/2014 - 16:27

Really interesting Exercises... It helps me a lot to understand the Grammar easily....

Submitted by Emel_1987 on Sun, 23/02/2014 - 15:23

it's a real useful site !! Where can I find high level excercises on this site ?

Hello Emel_1987,

I'm glad you like the site!  Our language (grammar) section is not organised by level but by topic, so if you choose more advanced grammar areas then the exercises will be correspondingly more difficult.

There are many exercises for higher-level learners in the Listen & Watch section of LearnEnglish.  For example, you might try the Overcooked series, or the Britain is Great series, a good challenge for you.  Similarly, our Magazine and UK Culture sections are suitable for more advanced learners.  Depending on your interests and needs, you might also be interested in our business English or academic English materials.

I hope those links are useful for you.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by hiwad on Sat, 08/02/2014 - 16:15

Thank you very much i really like this site and I am sure it would help me to improve my English.

Submitted by shabbo22 on Mon, 20/01/2014 - 08:19



How do frame a question to this sentence " Obama is the forty fourth president of USA.

Submitted by Kirk on Tue, 21/01/2014 - 08:55

In reply to by shabbo22


Hello shabbo22,

I'm afraid I'm not exactly sure I understand what you mean, but an example of a question based on this sentence is: "Who is the forty-fourth president of the USA?"

If you meant to ask something else, please let us know.

Best wishes,

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Islam1989 on Wed, 13/11/2013 - 07:58

hi everyone i have a problm with learning english i can read and understand good but i can`t speek thank you english team for your efforts

Submitted by Pumpkinbrioche on Thu, 07/11/2013 - 17:08

Thank you very much for this excellent web site which is a good complement for me. I'm sorry for my English, I'm studding English for one year exactly. I like to read articles about the life in UK and the small videos about GREAT BRITAIN. thanks again to all your staff.

Submitted by tina2254 on Sat, 12/10/2013 - 07:24

such a wonderful website. It"s really help me
Hi tina2254, Thank you very much! It's nice to hear that we are helping people with their English. Thanks again, Peter The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Sinoptik on Tue, 30/07/2013 - 10:06


Hi.Please add 'hit' in the table above, as it's not there

Hi Sinoptik,

Thanks for the suggestion.  It's good to know people are reading the list so carefully!  'Hit' is indeed an irregular verb but this list shows only the most common verbs and there are quite a few that could be added ('hit', 'sleep', 'light' etc).  Perhaps we'll add these to the list in the future.

Thanks again,



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by akbalaji on Wed, 10/07/2013 - 06:59


Hello sir,

How to use 'is to be', 'is being', 'has been'?

Hello akbalaji,

These are all different forms of the verb, with future, present and perfect meanings respectively.  However, it's hard to answer your question in any detail because it's very general and there is no context for the verbs.  Perhaps there are some specific sentences you have in mind which will contextualise the items - if so, please post them and we'll be happy to explain them for you.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by dhitendrasingh on Sat, 08/06/2013 - 07:40


One of nice online portal to learn and grow.

Thanks team

Submitted by nguyenhienk05 on Sun, 12/05/2013 - 14:26


English is quite difficult for beginners. Only you try hard, you'll put through and succeed. This web is a exact thing i find.


Submitted by glanar on Thu, 02/05/2013 - 18:40

Permalink name is zidan..i'm a dentist workink in Rafha hospital in saudi Arabia..i'm very excited to leand english in academic way..thank you.

Submitted by Elvio Turczineck on Wed, 01/05/2013 - 03:22



My name is Elvio. Thanks for the opportunity to begin a study here.
I´m a student english by myself  and my difficult is biggest .
And so I am very excited to start my study.
I hope to find knowledge and to learn about the culture from another country.
Thanks for all.


Submitted by Lusine G on Tue, 19/03/2013 - 17:00



I`m a new member of this site. I hope I`ll get new knowledge and improve my english. I will happy to comunicate and to have conversations with other members of this site.

Thanks in advance!!!!!!!

Submitted by Omer from Aden on Tue, 19/03/2013 - 15:35


Dear teachers...
How can I know if the verb is regular or irregular? there is chart for irregular verbs. but is there chart for regular verbs?

thank you

Hello Omer!


There's no chart for regular verbs.... because they're all the same! Just add -ed (or -d, if the verb ends with e already). Unfortunately, to know which verbs are regular or irregular, you have to learn the irregular ones - if it's not on the irregular list, it's regular.


I find, though, my students get used to the idea fairly quickly - and you'll rarely make your meaning confusing if make a small mistake with the verb form! Dont' wory about it too much!




Jeremy Bee

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Silviu Bulacu on Tue, 19/03/2013 - 07:52


Hi guys,

I am a bit confused and I might need some help. Can someone explain if we use the same verb forms for "brake" when we are referring to the action of stopping a car or a vehicle, for instance?

"I am braking in order to stop my car"...let's say.

Is is correct to say: I broke/I was broken in order to stop my car?



Hello Silviu!


The verb "brake", meaning to stop, is actually a regular verb - its forms are different from break. You'd just say I braked (in order to stop my car).


Hope that helps!


Jeremy Bee

The LearnEnglish Team