Improve Your Spelling: Irregular Verbs Part 1

We all know that English is an annoyingly irregular language, overall ... there are rules, but just as many exceptions to rules! One area where people sometimes get confused is with irregular verb forms; they easily trip up newcomers to the language, whether children learning to speak English from infancy, or adults coming to English as a second language. 


Tip: If you are serious about improving your spelling, then Troy and I highly recommend you try the popular spelling program, Ultimate Spelling. Click Ultimate Spelling for further information.*

What is an irregular verb? Well, to figure this out, first of all we need to know what a regular verb is. So here goes:

 A regular verb is a "doing word" that follows standard rules for forming the past tense (when the action has happened in the past) and past participle (the adjectival form of the verb) are formed by adding "d" or "ed" to the verb. Here are some examples:

Verb Past Tense Past Participle
share shared shared
work worked worked
snore snored snored
retreat retreated retreated

Now, an irregular verb is one where the "add d or ed" rule doesn't apply. That's all. Here are just a few examples, from among hundreds:

Verb Past Tense Past Participle
awake awoke awoken
be was, were been
begin began begun
bite bit bitten
choose chose chosen
draw drew drawn
forbid forbade forbidden
grow grew grown
know knew known
leave left left
make made made
prove proved proven
shake shook shaken
shrink shrank shrunk
swim swam swum
tread trod trodden
understand understood understood
weep wept wept
win won won
write wrote written

As you can see, there aren't any standard rules to apply to these cases, and it's just a matter of learning the correct forms from memory, I'm afraid. Software programs such as Ultimate Spelling and Ultimate Vocabulary can really help a lot in drilling these words.


*Troy and I recommend only products that we have tried and tested. These include Ultimate Spelling. We have agreed to receive a commission from some sales of Ultimate Spelling software because we are happy to endorse that spelling-improvement software.


Last modified on Friday, 27 November 2015 23:38
English Language Skills (Denise)

English Language Skills (Denise)

I'm a syndicated puzzle writer, with 8 puzzle books to my name, including Word Searches for Dummies and Cracking Codes and Cryptograms for Dummies (with Mark Koltko-Rivera). I have a background in science and graphic design, and am a trained indexer. My favourite puzzles are cryptic crosswords. and my favourite books are murder mysteries and cookbooks. I am also a very keen knitter.

I write a blog all about puzzles, called Puzzling.

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