Toby, Level 1 Grammar and Writing Instructor
In the beginner writing and grammar class this semester, we have been discussing various topics dealing with expressing past time and future time. As the class was working through the chapters of the textbook that dealt with past time, I began to notice that many of the students were struggling with the aspect of irregular verbs. This is to be expected with English language learners; particularly beginner level students. As a result, I gave them many exercises in class to help clear up any of their confusion. However, when it comes to irregular verbs, confusion is bound to happen eventually.
So, just what is the easiest way to tell the difference between regular and irregular verbs?
First, in the English language verbs are split into three categories: base form, past simple form, and past participle form.
Regular verbs are those verbs in the English language that have a base form and an -ed form for both the past simple and past participle. (Ex. watch, watched, watched)
Irregular verbs are those verbs in the English language that:
1) have changes in all three forms (Ex. begin, began, begun)
2) have changes in only 1 of the verb forms (Ex. buy, bought, bought)
3) have changes to none of the verb forms (Ex. cut, cut, cut)
One might ask, “What is the easiest way to recognize if a verb is irregular or regular?” There is a simple answer to this question….memorize it!
Give the following exercise a try now that you have a little insight into regular and irregular verbs. Click here for the practice exercise
For more rules on regular and irregular verbs, click here.
Common Irregular Verbs