Irregular verbs - formation

Irregular verbs are an important feature of English. We use irregular verbs a lot when speaking, less when writing. Of course, the most famous English verb of all, the verb "to be", is irregular.

In the following table, we look at the main difference between regular verbs and irregular verbs:

  base form past past participle
With regular verbs, the rule is easy...

The past simple and past participle always end in -ed:
finish finished finished
stop stopped stopped
work worked worked
But with irregular verbs, there is no rule...
Sometimes the verb changes completely: sing sang sung
Sometimes there is "half" a change: buy bought bought
Sometimes there is no change: cut cut cut

One good way to learn irregular verbs is to try sorting them into groups, as above.

If in doubt, a good dictionary can tell you if a verb is regular or irregular.