Irregular Verbs: A Definitive List with Learning Tips

A table of verbs

Irregular verbs and the rules and patterns that govern them can be difficult to learn without proper guidance.

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Fortunately, we already covered the 12 main English verb tenses and the lesser known 13th tense called Future in the Past here at Magoosh Speaking.

However, those blogs mainly focus on regular verbs. What about the 200+ irregular verbs in the English language? Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered.

In this blog, we’ll review the regular past and past participle forms of verbs and provide a definitive irregular verbs list that breaks them down by group and form.

(Prefer to watch this lesson on video? Here’s our full length tutorial on “Irregular Verbs”):

‘Irregular Verbs’:

Regular Verbs

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Before we look at irregular verbs, let’s review the base, simple past, and past participle forms of regular verbs. Those are the forms that have a different structure with an irregular verb.

To create the past simple and past participle forms of a regular verb in English, simply add -ed to the end of the verb.

Base Form Simple Past Past Participle
Ask Asked Asked
Earn Earned Earned
Join Joined Joined
Wash Washed Washed

If the verb ends in consonant + y then change the -y to -i and add -ed.

Base Form Simple Past Past Participle
Carry Carried Carried
Hurry Hurried Hurried
Marry Married Married
Worry Worried Worried

If a word ends in -e, then we just add -d to the end.

Base Form Simple Past Past Participle
Cause Caused Caused
Damage Damaged Damaged
Love Loved Loved
Refuse Refused Refused

Here are some sentences using regular verbs in these forms:

  • I asked to go with them to the movies.
  • She washed the dishes last night.
  • He has carried her books to school since they were six years old.
  • Do you know what caused the damage to the roof?

Pronunciation of Regular Verbs with -ed

The last letter of the verb will determine how you pronounce it with -ed.

Pronounce verbs ending in -f, -k, -ss, -ch, -sh, or -x + -ed with a /t/ sound.

Examples:

  • Kissed
  • Washed
  • Matched
  • Boxed

Pronounce verbs ending in -d or -t + -ed with an /id/ sound.

Examples:

  • Greeted
  • Needed
  • Admitted
  • Folded

Pronounce verbs ending in all other letters + -ed with a /d/ sound.

Examples:

  • Allowed
  • Called
  • Opened
  • Pulled

Irregular Verbs

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Irregular verbs in English are defined as: verbs that do not follow the pattern of adding -ed in the simple past and past participle forms of the verb.

As stated before, there are over 200 of them in English and learning them all can be a difficult task. Like any other list you learn in life, it’s always easier to remember if you group everything into a pattern.

English irregular verbs have four distinct (clear) patterns or types. So we’ve divided our list of irregular verbs examples into these groups for you.

Group 1

The irregular verbs in Group 1 have the same base, simple past, and past participle forms.

Base Form Simple Past Past Participle
bet bet bet
bid bid bid
broadcast broadcast broadcast
burst burst burst
cost cost cost
cut cut cut
hit hit hit
hurt hurt hurt
let let let
put put put
quit quit quit
set set set
shut shut shut
split split split
spread spread spread

Group 2

The irregular verbs in Group 2 have the same simple past and past participle forms.

Base Form Simple Past Past Participle
bend bent bent
bring brought brought
build built built
buy bought bought
catch caught caught
creep crept crept
deal dealt dealt
dig dug dug
feed fed fed
feel felt felt
fight fought fought
find found found
flee fled fled
get got got
hang hung hung
have had had
hear heard heard
hold held held
keep kept kept
kneel knelt knelt
lay laid laid
lead led led
leave left left
lend lent lent
light lit lit
lose lost lost
make made made
mean meant meant
meet met met
pay paid paid
read read* read*
say said said
seek sought sought
sell sold sold
send sent sent
shine shone shone
shoot shot shot
sit sat sat
sleep slept slept
slide slid slid
spend spent spent
spit spat spat
stand stood stood
stick stuck stuck
sting stung stung
strike struck struck
sweep swept swept
swing swung swung
teach taught taught
tell told told
think thought thought
understand understood understood
weep wept wept
win won won

Group 3

The irregular verbs in Group 3 have the same base and past participle forms

Base Form Simple Past Past Participle
become became become
come came come
run ran run

Group 4

The irregular verbs in Group 4 have different base, simple past, and past participle forms.

Base Form Simple Past Past Participle
arise arose arisen
awake awoke awoken
be was /were been
begin began begun
bite bit bitten
blow blew blown
break broke broken
choose chose chosen
do did done
draw drew drawn
drink drank drunk
drive drove driven
eat ate eaten
fall fell fallen
fly flew flown
forbid forbade forbidden
forget forgot forgotten
forgive forgave forgiven
freeze froze frozen
give gave given
go went gone
grow grew grown
hide hid hidden
know knew known
lie lay lain
mistake mistook mistaken
ride rode ridden
ring rang rung
rise rose risen
see saw seen
sew sewed sewn
shake shook shaken
show showed shown
shrink shrank shrunk
sink sank sunk
sing sang sung
speak spoke spoken
spring sprang sprung
steal stole stolen
stink stank stunk
swear swore sworn
swim swam swum
take took taken
tear tore torn
throw threw thrown
wake woke woken
wear wore worn
write wrote written

Learning Tips

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Even with the grouping, that’s a lot of verbs to learn! So here are a few key strategies you can use to commit those verbs and their forms to memory.

  • The mind can only handle so much! Try to learn only a few every day and a limited number of verbs each week.
  • Use a free flashcard program like Quizlet or Anki to create your own flashcards to help you memorize them. Both programs let users post their own flashcard decks, so there’s probably already a deck out there you can use.
  • Keep an English journal and try to use the irregular verbs you’re learning that day in your writing.
  • Try some irregular verbs exercises online.
  • Read, read, and read some more! Reading is the key to seeing more irregular verbs in use. In speaking, you’ll mainly hear the most common irregular verbs.

With our list, you should have a great start to learning the English irregular verbs. Remember to take things slowly and only learn a few verbs at a time. Over time, you’ll get them all.

There are over 200 irregular verbs in English, and I know we didn’t list them all. So leave a comment below and let us know if you can think of any more we can add to our list.

If you really want to advance your English skills, our starter plan includes unlimited automatic feedback and access to our Magoosh English Speaking Slack Group. There you can get peer feedback from advanced students along with unlimited automatic feedback within the app.

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