Learning Irregular Verbs: A Quick Grammar Guide

Using verbs is already an inseparable part of the English language. Moreover, it has its own spotlight in the aspect of grammar. To add more spice to its complexity, irregular verbs create a challenge for many language learners. There may be commonly used irregular verbs, there are still a lot more that we need to get acquainted with and to recognize. Thus, learning irregular verbs is definitely essential.

Unlike regular forms, learning irregular verbs is completely different as they do not observe a definite pattern or rule. The regular ones form their past tense by adding –d or –ed at the end of its base form. On the contrary, irregular verbs may remain unchanged or may have a totally different form.

If this causes a great deal of concern to you, fret not. Let us go through a list of how to form the irregular types of verbs. Grab a notebook and a pen as we start learning irregular verbs.

As an equally important matter, one good tip in learning irregular verbs is to simplify them according to their type. With a vast number in this group, we can identify four different types and see their common characteristics.

The Changeless Type

The Identical Past

While some remain unchanged in all forms, there are also certain irregular verbs that only have the same past forms. Both the past simple and past participle are the same. However, its base form differs.

Base FormPast SimplePast Participle
havehadhad
buyboughtbought
feelfeltfelt
telltoldtold
makemademade

Can you tell me the difference between a house and a home? (base form)Example:

Why did you forget? I already told you an hour ago. (past simple)

Nobody had told her about the surprise until she heard them planning about it. (past participle)

The Unique Past Simple

Unlike the previous type, irregular verbs under this group have a completely different past simple form from their base and past participle forms. There are only a few in this list, which makes learning irregular verbs a bit lighter for you.

Base FormPast SimplePast Participle
becomebecamebecome
comecamecome
runranrun

Example:

What time will she come home? (base form)

With much time during the day, the supervisor came early for the program. (past simple)

They had come a long way from here. Nevertheless, they enjoyed the trip. (past participle)

The Different Mix

In contrast to the first type, irregular verbs categorized under this type have a totally different base form, past simple and past participle. Because each of these forms differs from one another, there may be more words to learn. Well, let us take it easy and focus on the top 10 common irregular verbs under this type.

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Base FormPast SimplePast Participle
dodiddone
drinkdrankdrunk
eatateeaten
givegavegiven
gowentgone
knowknewknown
seesawseen
singsangsung
swimswamswum
taketooktaken

Example:

Recently, many students want to know interesting words for 2021. (base form)

He knew about the exam results last Friday. (past simple)

Before we officially met, I had already known him through his vlogs. (past participle)

Essential Learning Points

Learning irregular verbs may not be as easy as 1 2 3, but it surely helps to constantly go through some essential points.

First, familiarization is key. Familiarize the different irregular verbs and commonly used words under each type. Second, do not settle with knowing and familiarizing alone. Go for application or practice. Keep a note of a set of words to practice regularly. Finally, listen to short stories or watch video clips that you find interesting. Then, list down irregular verbs used in the chosen media source and practice using them as well.

Now, are you ready for a head-to-head battle? No, I’m not picking up a fight. I’m just curious how well you’ve grasped this information about learning irregular verbs. There is still a lot to learn perhaps, but nothing always beats consistency. Keep grinding till you master it.

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