While the past tense of regular verbs is formed by adding -ed to the infinitive, irregular verbs have special forms. These forms have to be learnt by heart.
Irregular verbs are verbs whose past participle and past tense are not formed according to the usual patterns.
Most irregular verbs are the most often used words in the English language. Some examples of very often used irregular verbs are to be, to have, to go.
There are some patterns that can be observed in the past tense of the irregular verbs:
- The change of a vowel to an [ɔ:] sound as in to buy, bought, bought
- The change of a vowel to an [oʊ] sound as in to freeze, froze, frozen
- No change at all as in to cut, cut, cut
On the following pages, you will find the most often used irregular verbs alphabetically arranged. You can also practise them with our various exercises.
Please note that we do not list all the irregular verbs since many are composed by a prefix + an irregular verb. In that case, their past tense and past participle are formed just as their equivalent. Look at the following examples:
- to run, ran, run and to outrun, outran, outrun
- to lead, led, led and to mislead, misled, misled
- to hold, held, held and to behold, beheld, beheld