Regular and Irregular Verbs


In English grammar, verbs are divided into two main categories – Regular verbs and Irregular verbs. The main difference between these two categories depends on how we form the past tense and past participle of the verbs. In this tutorial, you will learn the basics of understanding and recognizing regular and irregular verbs. Knowing this can significantly improve your English language competence.

Regular Verbs

Definition and Examples of Regular Verbs

Regular verbs are those verbs whose past tense and past participle are formed by adding -d or -ed to the end of the verb. Therefore, they follow a regular, predictable pattern when changing tense. Here are some examples:

  • Play – Played
  • Work – Worked
  • Laugh – Laughed

Formation Rules of Regular Verbs

For most regular verbs, you can simply add -ed to form the past tense and past participle. However, spelling changes can sometimes occur – for example, verbs ending in ‘y’ preceded by a consonant will change the ‘y’ to ‘i’ before adding -ed (e.g., Study – Studied).

Irregular Verbs

Definition and Examples of Irregular Verbs

Irregular verbs, unlike regular verbs, do not follow a standard pattern when changing tense. This means that the past tense and the past participle can be entirely different from the base form of the verb. Here are some examples:

  • Go – Went
  • Begin – Began
  • See – Saw

Formation Rules of Irregular Verbs

For irregular verbs, there are no defined rules for forming the past tense and past participle forms. They must be learned and memorized separately, as they deviate from standard conjugation patterns. Some irregular verbs, however, have some form of perceivable pattern, such as drink-drank, swim-swam, etc.

How to Identify Regular and Irregular Verbs

While practice and familiarity with the English language will increase your ability to correctly identify whether a verb is regular or irregular, it helps to know some common types of verbs that make up each category, especially as a beginner. Regular verbs tend to be "weaker" and are often more about mental process and communication while irregular verbs, being "stronger", often about physical occurrences. Of course, there are exceptions to these rules as there are with many English grammar rules.

Role of Regular and Irregular Verbs in Sentences

In sentence construction, both regular and irregular verbs function the same way. They both denote action, state, or occurrence. Their different past tenses and past participle forms are used in various tenses like the simple past, perfect tenses, and past continuous, among others.

Practicing Regular and Irregular Verbs

Learning to correctly use regular and irregular verbs requires practice. A good way to learn them is by regularly reading and listening to English since this provides context and helps to engrave the forms of irregular verbs in your memory. It can also be helpful to create your own sentences using both regular and irregular verbs, focusing on ensuring that you use the correct form of the verb based on the tense of the sentence.


The topic of Regular verbs and Irregular verbs forms a significant part of the English language and proficiency in their use can greatly enhance your communication skills. Although it may seem challenging at first, with a bit of practice, you will soon grasp the different forms of the verbs and their applications.

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