Your Complete Guide to Irregular Verbs

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Introduction to Irregular Verbs

Irregular verbs can be tricky. Unlike regular verbs, which follow predictable patterns when conjugated, irregular verbs have unique forms that don't conform to standard rules.

In this guide, we'll focus on their past simple and past participle forms to help you wield them with confidence.


Crack the Code: Past Simple and Past Perfect Tenses Explained

Before we dive into some spelling patterns, let's break down two important verb tenses: the past simple and the past perfect.

The past simple tense is used to talk about actions that happened in the past.

For example:

  • She ran five miles. 
  • We went to the shop.
  • They ate their lunch outside. 

The past perfect tense is used to show actions in the past happening one after another or actions in the past that are completed. The past perfect tense is created using the verb had and a past participle.

  • She had already run five miles.
  • We had been to the shop earlier that morning.
  • They had eaten their lunch outside before it started to rain.
     

Word Lists: Flex Your Verb Muscles

These word lists will help you become confident at using irregular verbs in no time, enhancing your language proficiency and ensuring fluency in your English communication. Flex your verb muscles with ease!

Past simple and past participle forms end in -t

Irregular verbs where the past simple and past participle forms end in '-t'.

  • bent: bend - bent - bent
  • built: build - built - built
  • dealt: deal - dealt - dealt
  • felt: feel - felt - felt
  • kept: keep - kept - kept
  • learnt: learn - learnt - learnt
  • left: leave - left - left
  • lost: lose - lost - lost
  • meant: mean - meant - meant
  • sent: send - sent - sent
  • set: set - set - set
  • slept: sleep - slept - slept
  • spent: spend - spent - spent
  • spilt: spill - spilt - spilt
  • smelt: smell - smelt - smelt
  • spoilt: spoil - spoiltspoilt
  • swept: sweep - swept - swept
  • wept: weep - wept - wept


Past simple form ends in -ught

Irregular verbs where the past simple and past perfect forms end in '-ught'.

  • bought: buy - bought - bought
  • brought: bring - brought - brought
  • caught: catch - caught - caught
  • fought: fight - fought - fought
  • sought: seek - sought - sought
  • taught: teach - taught - taught
  • thought: think - thoughtthought


Past simple form ends with a final syllable vowel change (became-ran)
Irregular verbs where the past simple form ends with a final syllable vowel change.

  • became: become - became - become
  • began: begin - began - begun
  • bled: bleed - bled - bled
  • bound: bind - bound - bound
  • bred: breed - bred - bred
  • came: come - came - come
  • dug: dig - dug - dug
  • fed: feed - fed - fed
  • found: find - found - found
  • fled: flee - fled - fled
  • got: get - got - got
  • hung: hang - hung - hung
  • lit: light - lit - lit
  • met: meet - met - met
  • rang: ring - rang - rung
  • ran: run - ran - run

 
Past simple form ends with a final syllable vowel change (shrank-won)
Irregular verbs where the past simple form ends with a final syllable vowel change.

  • shrank: shrink - shrank - shrunk
  • shone: shine - shone - shone
  • shot: shoot - shot - shot
  • sang: sing - sang - sung
  • sank: sink - sank - sunk
  • sat: sit - sat - sat
  • sprang: spring - sprang - sprung
  • stood: stand - stood - stood
  • stuck: stick - stuck - stuck
  • stung: sting - stung - stung
  • struck: strike - struck - struck
  • swam: swim - swam - swum
  • swung: swing - swung - swung
  • understood: understand - understood - understood
  • won: win - won - won


Past participle form ends with a final syllable vowel change (begun-run)
Irregular verbs where the past participle form ends with a final syllable vowel change.

  • begun: begin - began - begun
  • bled: bleed - bled - bled
  • bound: bind - bound - bound
  • bred: breed - bred - bred
  • dug: dig - dug - dug
  • fed: feed - fed - fed
  • found: find - found - found
  • fled: flee - fled - fled
  • got: get - got - got
  • hung: hang - hung - hung
  • lit: light - lit - lit
  • met: meet - met - met
  • rung: ring - rang - rung
  • run: run - ran - run
     

Past participle form ends with a final syllable vowel change (shrunk-won)
Irregular verbs where the past participle form ends with a final syllable vowel change.

  • shrunk: shrink - shrank - shrunk
  • shone: shine - shone - shone
  • shot: shoot - shot - shot
  • sung: sing - sang - sung
  • sunk: sink - sank - sunk
  • sat: sit - sat - sat
  • sprung: spring - sprang - sprung
  • stood: stand - stood - stood
  • stuck: stick - stuck - stuck
  • stung: sting - stung - stung
  • struck: strike - struck - struck
  • swum: swim - swam - swum
  • swung: swing - swung - swung
  • understood: understand - understood - understood
  • won: win - won - won
     

Past participle form ends with '-en' or '-n' or '-ne' (been-grown)
Irregular verbs where the past participle form ends with '-en' or '-n' or '-ne'.

  • been: be - was - been
  • beaten: beat - beat - beaten
  • bitten: bite - bit - bitten
  • broken: break - broke - broken
  • chosen: choose - chose - chosen
  • done: do - did - done
  • drawn: draw - drew - drawn
  • driven: drive - drove - driven
  • eaten: eat - ate - eaten
  • fallen: fall - fell - fallen
  • flown: fly - flew - flown
  • forgotten: forget - forgot - forgotten
  • forgiven: forgive - forgave - forgiven
  • frozen: freeze - froze - frozen
  • given: give - gave - given
  • gone: go - went - gone
  • grown: grow - grew - grown
     

Past participle form ends with '-en' or '-n' or '-ne' (hidden-written)
Irregular Verbs where the past participle form ends with '-en' or '-n' or '-ne'.

  • hidden: hide - hid - hidden
  • known: know - knew - known
  • lain: lie - lay - lain
  • ridden: ride - rode - ridden
  • risen: rise - rose - risen
  • sewn: sew - sewed - sewn
  • shaken: shake - shook - shaken
  • shone: shine - shone - shone
  • shown: show - showed - shown
  • spoken: speak - spoke - spoken
  • stolen: steal - stole - stolen
  • taken: take - took - taken
  • torn: tear - tore - torn
  • thrown: throw - threw - thrown
  • trodden: tread - trod - trodden
  • woken: wake - woke - woken
  • worn: wear - wore - worn
  • written: write - wrote - written


Verb does not change when in past simple or past participle form
Irregular verbs that do not change when in the past simple or past participle form.

  • bet: bet - bet - bet
  • burst: burst - burst - burst
  • cost: cost - cost - cost
  • cut: cut - cut - cut
  • hit: hit - hit - hit
  • hurt: hurt - hurt - hurt
  • put: put - put - put
  • quit: quit - quit
  • read: read - read - read
  • set: set - set - set
  • shut: shut - shut - shut
  • spread: spread - spreadspread 
     

Top Tips: Tackle Irregular Verbs Like a Pro

Perfect Your Practice: Use the Look, Say, Cover, Write, Check method to immerse yourself into the world of irregular verbs. Take your time observing word shapes, listen to pronunciations, and reinforce correct spelling through repetition. After covering and attempting to spell each word, review errors to strengthen learning. Click on the eye icon to try this activity.

Test Your Skills: The Spellzone Listen and Spell activity mirrors the classroom test experience and ideal as a follow-up to the Look, Say, Cover, Write, Check activity. Pay attention to the sound of each word for spelling clues. Begin the Listen and Spell test by selecting a word list and clicking on the ear icon.

Game Your Way to Proficiency: Engage with Spellzone's interactive spelling games to transform irregular verb learning. From identifying patterns to enriching vocabulary, our pattern recognition, problem solving, voice and vocabulary games make studying fun. Click on the football icon to play and explore a new approach to mastering irregular verbs.
 

Becoming proficient with irregular verbs is essential for improving your English skills. With our comprehensive word lists and helpful tips, you'll soon navigate these challenging words like a seasoned pro. Start your spelling journey today by signing up for a free Spellzone trial.


05 Apr 2024
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"Spellzone fits in beautifully with our Scope and Sequence of Phonological Awareness and Spelling. It also aligns perfectly with the four areas of spelling knowledge and uses the Brain, Ears, Eyes approach to learning spelling."
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Teacher, Australia