Irregular and Regular Verbs

Irregular and regular verbs present tense 3rd person singular Simple Past Past Participle Present Participle

Verbs fall into two categories: regular and irregular. The difference between them is the way their endings change when they become past tense. Regular verbs in the past tense often end with –ed.

In the sentence, “He looks in the mirror,” the main verb look is a regular verb. The past tense of look is looked. In the past tense, the sentence would read “He looked in the mirror.”

The word buy, is an example of an irregular verb. It undergoes irregular spelling changes in its past tense. It doesn’t end with -ed. The past tense of buy is bought. You could say “He buys a new car every year,” in the present tense. The past tense would be “He bought a new car yesterday.”

In the present simple tense, the basic form of a regular verb only changes in the 3rd person singular (he/she/it), as follows:

Most verbs just add -s to the basic form (allow/allows, come/comes, lead/leads).

Verbs that end with a vowel other than e add -es (do/does go/goes, veto/vetoes,).

Verbs that end with -s, -z, -ch, -sh, and -x add -es (kiss/kisses, fizz/fizzes, punch/punches, wash/washes, mix/mixes).

For a list of these verbs3rd person singular present tense, simple past, past participle and present participle click here

If the verb ends in a consonant plus –y, change the y to an i before adding –es (hurry/hurries, clarify/clarifies). But if the verb ends in a vowel plus –y, just add –s (e.g. play/plays, enjoy/enjoys).

Not all irregular verbs undergo a change in spelling in the past tense. For example, the verb cut stays the same in all tenses.

There are many irregular verbs that don’t follow the normal rules. Here are the forms of some of the most common irregular verbs:

  Verbs 3rd person singular
present tense
Simple Past Past
Present Participle
  appear appears appeared appeared  
  ask asks asked asked asking
  be   were been  
  become becomes became become becoming
  begin begins began begun beginning
  believe believes believed believed believing
  bring brings brought brought  
  build builds built built building
  buy buys bought bought buying
  call calls call called calling
  change changes changed changed changing
  clarify clarifies clarified clarify clarifying
  come comes came come coming
  consider considers considered considered considering
  continue continues continued continued continuing
  create creates created created creating
  cut cuts cut cut cutting
  decide decides decided decided deciding
  die dies died died dying
  do does did done doing
  expect expects expected expected expecting
  fall falls fell fallen falling
  feel feels felt felt feeling
  find finds found found finding
  follow follows followed followed following
  get gets got got / gotten getting
  give gives gave given giving
  go goes went gone going
  grow grows grew grown growing
  happen happens happened happened happening
  have has had had having
  hear hears heard heard hearing
  help helps helped helped helping
  hold holds held held holding
  hurry hurries hurried hurry hurrying
  include includes included included including
  keep keeps kept kept keeping
  kill kills killed killed killing
  know knows knew known knowing
  lead leads led led leading
  learn learns learnt / learned learnt / learned learning
  leave leaves left left leaving
  let lets let let letting
  like likes liked liked liking
  live lie lived lived living
  look looks looked looked looking
  lose loses lost lost losing
  love loves loved loved loving
  make makes made made making
  mean means meant meant meaning
  meet meets met met meeting
  move moves moved moved moving
  need needs needed needed needing
  offer offers offered offered offering
  open opens opened opened opening
  pass passes passed passed passing
  pay pays paid paid paying
  play plays played played playing
  provide provides provided provided providing
  pull pulls pulled pulled pulling
  put puts put put putting
  raise raises raised raised raising
  reach reaches reached reached reaching
  read reads read read reading
  remain remains remained remained remaining
  remember remembers remembered remembered remembering
  report reports reported reported reporting
  require requires required required requiring
  run runs ran run running
  say says said said saying
  see sees saw seen seeing
  seem seems seemed seemed seeming
  sell sells sold sold selling
  send sends sent sent sending
  serve serves served served serving
  set sets set set setting
  show shows showed shown showing
  sit sits sat sat siting
  speak speaks spoke spoken speaking
  spend spends spent spent spending
  stand stands stood stood standing
  start starts started started starting
  stay stays stayed stayed staying
  stop stops stopped stopped stopping
  suggest suggests suggested suggested suggesting
  take takes took taken taking
  talk talks talked talked talking
  tell tells told told telling
  think thinks thought thought thinking
  try try’s tried tried trying
  turn turns turned turned turning
  understand understands understood understood understanding
  use uses used used using
  wait waits waited waited waiting
  walk walks walked walked walking
  want wants wanted wanted wanting
  watch watch’s watched watched watching
  win wins won won wining
  work works worked worked working
  write writes wrote written writing
  work works worked worked working
  write writes wrote written writing

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