Irregular verbs in the English language

Irregular verbs in the English language There are a huge number of irregular verbs in the English language. The Past participle and Past simple for most of these verbs are not formed based on general rules.

Other forms of irregular verbs can be formed by the rules. For example: the present 3rd person singular /-s/ or /-es/ and the present participle /-ing/.

The so-called defective verbs are also among the exceptions. These are the verbs that do not have any form of conjugation – in certain tenses, moods, etc. These verbs are:  can/could, may/might, shall/should, must, ought to, will/would.

Most of the English irregular verbs are native English words rooted in the Old English. There are certain exceptions like the word “catch” that came from the French word “cachier”.

The irregular verbs in English are the most commonly used. The top ten most popular English verbs are irregular verbs.

Almost all of the adopted words from foreign languages into English are regular just like the modern words and all nouns which have similar form with verbs. All these verbs form by adding the standard suffixes and endings.

Many modern irregular verbs are the result of historical rules for verbs formation. I.e. the verbs that are exceptions to the rule today were considered regular in ancient times.

Some irregular verbs can be divided into groups by the way of formation:

  • Change the vowel in the root of the word to the /ɔ:/ sound
Present (Infinitive) Past and Past participle
bring brought
buy bought
catch caught
seek sought
teach taught
think thought
  • Change the vowel in the root of the word on the /ɔu/ sound
Present (Infinitive) Past simple
Past participle
break broke broken
choose chose chosen
freeze froze frozen
speak spoke spoken
steal stole stolen
  • Without change
Present (Infinitive) Past and Past participle
bet bet
bid bid
burst, cast, cost, cut, fit, hit, hurt, knit, let, put, quit, rid, set, shed, shut, slit, split, spread, thrust

The following video presents the most popular forms of irregular verbs with a photograph or an illustration for each of the verb to make you better remember the words:

The table of English irregular verbs:

Infinitive Past simple Past participle
abide abode; abided abode; abided
arise arose arisen
awake awoke awaked; awoke
backbite backbitten backbitten
backslide backslid backslid
be was; were been
bear bore born; borne
beat beat beaten
become became become
befall befell befallen
beget begot; begat begotten
begin began begun
begird begirt begirt
behold beheld beheld
bend bent bent; bended
bereave bereft; bereaved bereft; bereaved
beseech besought; beseeched besought; beseeched
beset beset beset
bespeak bespoke bespoke; bespoken
bespit bespat bespat
bestride bestrode bestridden
bet bet; betted bet; betted
betake betook betaken
bid bad; bade; bid bid; bidden
bind bound bound
bite bit bit; bitten
bleed bled bled
bless blessed blessed; blest
blow blew blown; blowed
break broke broken
breed bred bred
bring brought brought
broadcast broadcast broadcast
browbeat browbeat browbeaten
build built built
burn burnt; burned burnt; burned
burst burst burst
bust bust; busted bust; busted
buy bought bought
can could could
cast cast cast
catch caught caught
chide chid; chided chid; chided; chidden
choose chose chosen
cleave clove; cleft; cleaved cloven; cleft; cleaved
cling clung clung
come came come
cost cost cost
countersink countersank countersunk
creep crept crept
crow crowed; crew crowed
cut cut cut
dare durst; dared dared
deal dealt dealt
dig dug dug
dive dived; dove dived
do did done
draw drew drawn
dream dreamt; dreamed dreamt; dreamed
drink drank drunk
drive drove driven
dwell dwelt dwelt
eat ate eaten
fall fell fallen
feed fed fed
feel felt felt
fight fought fought
find found found
fit fit fit
flee fled fled
fling flung flung
floodlight floodlighted; floodlit floodlighted; floodlit
fly flew flown
forbear forbore forborne
forbid forbad; forbade forbidden
forecast forecast; forecasted forecast; forecasted
foresee foresaw foreseen
foretell foretold foretold
forget forgot forgotten
forgive forgave forgiven
forsake forsook forsaken
forswear forswore forsworn
freeze froze frozen
gainsay gainsaid gainsaid
get got got
gild gilt; gilded gilt; gilded
gird girded; girt girded; girt
give gave given
go went gone
grave graved graved; graven
grind ground ground
grow grew grown
hamstring hamstringed; hamstrung hamstringed; hamstrung
hang hung; hanged hung; hanged
have had had
hear heard heard
heave heaved; hove heaved; hove
hew hewed hewed; hewn
hide hid hidden
hit hit hit
hold held held
hurt hurt hurt
inlay inlaid inlaid
input input; inputted input; inputted
inset inset inset
interweave interwove interwoven
keep kept kept
ken kenned; kent kenned
kneel knelt; kneeled knelt; kneeled
knit knit; knitted knit; knitted
know knew known
lade laded laded; laden
lay laid laid
lead led led
lean leant; leaned leant; leaned
leap leapt; leaped leapt; leaped
learn learnt; learned learnt; learned
leave left left
lend lent lent
let let let
lie lay lain
light lit; lighted lit; lighted
lose lost lost
make made made
may might might
mean meant meant
meet met met
miscast miscast miscast
misdeal misdealt misdealt
misgive misgave misgiven
mishear misheard misheard
mishit mishit mishit
mislay mislaid mislaid
mislead misled misled
misread misread misread
misspell misspelt; misspeled misspelt; misspeled
misspend misspent misspent
mistake mistook mistaken
misunderstand misunderstood misunderstood
mow mowed mown; mowed
outbid outbid outbid
outdo outdid outdone
outfight outfought outfought
outgrow outgrew outgrown
output output; outputted output; outputted
outrun outran outrun
outsell outsold outsold
outshine outshone outshone
overbid overbid overbid
overcome overcame overcome
overdo overdid overdone
overdraw overdrew overdrawn
overeat overate overeaten
overfly overflew overflown
overhang overhung overhung
overhear overheard overheard
overlay overlaid overlaid
overpay overpaid overpaid
override overrode overridden
overrun overran overrun
oversee oversaw overseen
overshoot overshot overshot
oversleep overslept overslept
overtake overtook overtaken
overthrow overthrew overthrown
partake partook partaken
pay paid paid
plead pleaded; pled pleaded; pled
prepay prepaid prepaid
prove proved proved; proven
put put put
quit quit; quitted quit; quitted
read read; red read; red
rebind rebound rebound
rebuild rebuilt rebuilt
recast recast recast
redo redid redone
rehear reheard reheard
remake remade remade
rend rent rent
repay repaid repaid
rerun reran rerun
resell resold resold
reset reset reset
resit resat resat
retake retook retaken
retell retold retold
rewrite rewrote rewritten
rid rid; ridded rid; ridded
ride rode ridden
ring rang rung
rise rose risen
rive rived riven
run ran run
saw sawed sawn; sawed
say said said
see saw seen
seek sought sought
sell sold sold
send sent sent
set set set
sew sewed sewed; sewn
shake shook shaken
shave shaved shaved; shaven
shear sheared shorn; sheared
shed shed shed
shine shone; shined shone; shined
shoe shod shod
shoot shot shot
show showed shown; showed
shred shred; shredded shred; shredded
shrink shrank; shrunk shrunk
shrive shrove; shrived shriven; shrived
shut shut shut
sing sang sung
sink sank sunk
sit sat sat
slay slew slain
sleep slept slept
slide slid slid
sling slung slung
slink slunk slunk
slit slit slit
smell smelt; smelled smelt; smelled
smite smote smitten
sow sowed sowed; sown
speak spoke spoken
speed sped; speeded sped; speeded
spell spelt; spelled spell; spelled
spend spent spent
spill spilt; spilled spilt; spilled
spin spun; span spun
spit spat; spit spat; spit
split split split
spoil spoilt; spoiled spoilt; spoiled
spotlight spotlit; spotlighted spotlit; spotlighted
spread spread spread
spring sprang sprung
stand stood stood
stave staved; stove staved; stove
steal stole stolen
stick stuck stuck
sting stung stung
stink stank; stunk stunk
strew strewed strewn; strewed
stride strode stridden
strike struck struck
string strung strung
strive strove striven
sublet sublet sublet
swear swore sworn
sweep swept swept
swell swelled swollen; swelled
swim swam swum
swing swung swung
take took taken
teach taught taught
tear tore torn
tell told told
think thought thought
thrive throve; trived thriven; trived
throw threw thrown
thrust thrust thrust
tread trod trod; trodden
unbend unbent unbent
underbid underbid underbid
undercut undercut undercut
undergo underwent undergone
underlie underlay underlain
underpay underpaid underpaid
undersell undersold undersold
understand understood understood
undertake undertook undertaken
underwrite underwrote underwritten
undo undid undone
unfreeze unfroze unfrozen
unsay unsaid unsaid
unwind unwound unwound
uphold upheld upheld
upset upset upset
wake woke; waked woken; waked
waylay waylaid waylaid
wear wore worn
weave wove; weaved woven; weaved
wed wed; wedded wed; wedded
weep wept wept
wet wet; wetted wet; wetted
win won won
wind wound wound
withdraw withdrew withdrawn
withhold withheld withheld
withstand withstood withstood
work worked; wrought worked; wrought
wring wrung wrung
write wrote written

Here is the video with irregular verbs in the present and past tense: