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How to Study Irregular Verbs

Category 1: irregular ending with no vowel change, V2=V3


group 1: d ending changes to t, end changes to ent

build built built


lend lent lent
send sent sent
spend spent spent

group 2: the verbs have and make

have had had


make made made

group 3: regular (V2, V3) in US English, irregular in UK English

learn learned \ learnt learned \ learnt


smell smelled \ smelt smelled \ smelt
spill spilled \ spilt spilled \ spilt

group 4: ay ending changes to aid

*lay laid laid


pay paid paid
say *said *said

*to lay (the table, clothes, eggs)


*said is pronounced /sed/

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Category 2: Vowel change, irregular ending, V2=V3

group 5: vowel change (d or t ending)

feel felt felt


keep kept kept
meet met met
sleep slept slept
leave left left

group 6: different pronunciation of the same vowel (d or t ending)

deal dealt dealt


dream dreamed \ dreamt dreamed \ dreamt
mean meant meant
read read (/red/) read (/red/)
hear heard heard

group 7: ell turns to old

sell sold sold


tell told told

group 8: vowel change with ought (or *aught) ending (d or t ending)

bring brought brought


buy bought bought
fight fought fought
think thought thought
catch caught caught
teach taught taught
Category 3: Verbs with the same form V1=V2=V3

group 9: Verbs that do not change (d or t ending)

bet bet bet


cost cost cost
cut cut cut
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hit hit hit
hurt hurt hurt
let let let
put put put
set set set
shut shut shut

Category 4: Vowel change, V3 ending with (e)n

group 10: V2 and V3 with long /o / sound

break broke broken


choose chose chosen
speak spoke spoken
steal stole stolen
wake woke \ waked woken \ waked

group 11: V2 long o sound, V3 short /i/ sound

rise rose risen


ride rode ridden
drive drove driven
write wrote written

group 12: The following verbs:

hide hid hidden


eat ate eaten
give gave given
forgive forgave forgiven
forbid forbad(e) forbidden
forget forgot forgotten
get got got
shake shook shaken
take took taken
see saw seen
fall fell fallen

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group 13: the ear-ore-orn pattern

bear bore born


wear wore worn

group 14: V1 with ow, V2 with ew, V3 with own

blow blew blown


grow grew grown
know knew known
throw threw thrown
fly flew flown
draw drew drawn

Category 5: regular V2, regular or irregular V3

group 15

show showed showed \ shown

Category 6: vowel change, no ending, V2=V3

group 16: vowel change pattern, no ending

stick stuck stuck


strike struck struck
*hang (a picture) hung hung
light lighted \ lit lighted \ lit
shoot shot shot

group 17: vowel change pattern i - ou - ou

find found found

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group 18: vowel change ee - e - e

feed fed fed


lead led led
speed speeded \ sped speeded \ sped

Category 7: The craziest verbs!

group 19: vowel change pattern i - a - u

begin (I) began (E) begun (A)


drink drank drunk
ring rang rung
sing sang sung
swim swam swum

group 20: vowel change, V1=V3

come came come


become became become
run ran run

group 21: miscellaneous

be was/were been
go went gone
do did done
hold held held
stand stood stood
understand understood understood
sit sat sat
win won won
lose lost lost