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Do NOT say -ed with these irregular verbs! They’re tough to get right but I’ll help you master them. It will help you sound more natural and smooth when you’re speaking English—and that’s my #1 goal!
I beginned my work day at 8:00.
Beginned is not a word. Past tense in English, add ED. That’s the pattern. But what about when it’s not? English is full of irregular verbs each with their own way of forming the past tense, and you just have to memorize them. And a lot of them are some of the most common words in English. And some of them get pretty funky, like this word: present tense, read, [ɹid] simple past: read [ɹɛd], the spelling doesn’t change but the pronunciation does. And now it sounds just like the color red. Today we’ll cover over more than 90 of the most common irregular verbs in English, and you’ll understand not just the spelling but the pronunciation too. You’re going to need to know this, so stick with us.
The first one you probably know, but do you have the pronunciation down pat? The phrase ‘to have something down pat’ means to have something memorized perfectly.
Present tense, base form, be. Simple past, was or were. Past participle, been. Did you hear that? Been. This is the only word in American English that I know of where ‘ee’ makes the IH vowel. You see this and you see this and you think, “be”, “been”. “Been” is a pronunciation in British English, but not American English. We’re ‘bin’ or ‘Ben’. We do have the word ‘bean’ in American English and it’s spelled ea and it’s this.
Coffee bean, or black bean or pinto bean. But this word, bin. Bin is a word B-I-N, like a bin for storage or trash and remember how I said you can also pronounce this word as ‘Ben’? That’s also a word in American English, a name, usually short for ‘Benjamin’, like my friend Ben who has been in a couple of my videos here on my channel.
Base form, present tense – be
I want you to be there.
Simple past – was or were
I was there. We were there.
Past participle – been
I’ve been there.
Be. was/were. been.
Bear – the noun is the animal. The verb has a bunch of different meanings, like to carry the weight of or to take responsibility for.
Base form, present tense – bear
They have to bear so much stress.
Simple past – bore
They bore so much stress.
Past participle – born
They have born so much stress.
Bear. bore. born.
We’re gonna beat them.
We beat them last year. – same spelling, same pronunciation for simple past.
We’ve always beaten them.
Beat. beat. beaten. Notice with ‘beaten’, the T is a stop T. You don’t hear tttt the release, that’s because it’s part of the pattern T-schwa-N, so it’s a stop T. You’ll hear that later in this video as well, like with the word ‘bitten’.
This caterpillar can become a butterfly.
The caterpillar became a butterfly.
The caterpillar hasn’t become a butterfly yet.
Now it’s the past participle that has the same spelling and same pronunciation as the base form present tense
Become. Became. become.
Every January, I begin a new exercise program.
I began my exercise program last week.
I’ve already begun my exercise program, and it’s going great.
Begin. began. begun.
I bet you $20 your team loses.
We each bet $20, and I lost.
She’s never bet more than $20 on a game.
Wait? Okay all of those are the same spelling and the same pronunciation.
Bet. bet. bet.
Mosquitos bite me all summer long.
A mosquito bit me just now.
I’ve been bitten several times.
Bite. Bit. Bitten.
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If you bleed, apply pressure to stop it.
My finger bled a little bit when I cut it while chopping carrots.
My finger hadn’t bled long before it stopped.
Bleed. bled. bled.
Let’s blow off class and go see a movie.
We blew off class Friday and went to see a movie.
I’ve never blown off class before today.
Blow. blew. blown.
Notice this word “blue”. It’s a homophone with a color. Blue. They sound exactly the same.
She doesn’t want to be the one to break the bad news.
She broke the bad news, and it made us all sad.
She hasn’t broken the bad news yet.
Break. Broke. Broken.
Can you bring a dessert?
You all brought desserts?
We’ve brought desserts to the office party every year.
Bring. Brought, brought
The kids always build Lego towers at preschool.
The kids built a Lego tower again today.
The kids have never built a Lego tower at home.
Build, built, built
There are several items in my Amazon wish list that I’d like to buy.
I bought two things from my wish list today.
I have no idea how much I’ve bought on Amazon over the past 12 months.
Buy. Bought, bought.
I don’t want to catch a cold.
I caught a cold.
I’ve already caught 3 colds this winter.
Catch. Caught, caught
You typically choose tea over coffee, right?
You chose tea instead of coffee this morning, right?
You’ve rarely chosen coffee if tea is available.
Choose. Chose, chosen
Come over after work.
She came over after work.
Have you come over since starting the new job?
Come. came, come.
You cost this company a lot of money with your mistakes.
Last year you cost this company a lot of money with your mistakes.
You have cost this company so much money over the last five years.
All the same: Cost. Cost, cost
We’re going to cut that clip out of the video.
We cut that clip out before finalizing the video.
We’ve always cut out clips when the camera goes out of focus.
Again, all three the same. Cut. cut, cut.
I do that all day.
I did that yesterday.
I’ve done that for years.
Do. did, done.
Let’s dive right in.
Dove – now, here I should say that ‘dived’ is also acceptable, but ‘dove’ is more common in American English and ‘dived’ is more common in British English.
So, dove, “We dove right in.”
We’ve never dived there; the water is too shallow.
Dive. Dove, dived.
Draw a picture for me.
You drew a picture for me.
You’ve drawn so many pictures.
Draw. Drew, drawn.
First thing every morning, I drink a glass of water.
I drank a glass of water before I ate breakfast.
By the end of the day, I’ve usually drunk 6 glasses of water.
Now drunk, as an adjective, means had too much alcohol to drink, you’re in an altered state, you should not drive, you’re drunk.
Drink. Drank, drunk.
I don’t have to drive much for my job.
For my previous job, I drove 30 minutes one-way every day.
This year, I’ve only driven about 2,000 miles in this car.
Drive. Drove, driven.
I try to eat protein at every meal.
Yesterday, I ate about 30 grams of protein.
Before this year, I had never regularly eaten protein for breakfast.
Eat. ate, eaten.
Don’t let me fall.
She fell on the ice.
She has fallen several times today.
Fall. Fell, fallen.
Let’s feed the dog before we go.
I fed him last night.
We’ve already fed him today
Feed. fed. Fed.
You look like you feel better.
You felt horrible yesterday.
You’ve never felt so bad, have you? Also, felt is also a material, kind of textured. Actually, I coaster is made of felt.
Feel. Felt, felt.
I fought with my sisters as a kid.
I haven’t fought with my sisters since we were kids.
Fight, fought, fought
Let’s find your sunglasses.
His wife found them under the seat.
She’s found a lot of interesting things under the car seat since having kids.
Find. found, found
We’re going to fly non-stop.
We flew through Atlanta last time.
I’ve never flown through Nashville.
Fly. Flew, flown.
Don’t forget your phone.
I forgot my phone.
I’ve forgotten my phone twice this week.
Forget. Forgot, forgotten.
Can you forgive me?
I can’t believe you forgave him.
Forget about it; I’ve already forgiven you.
Forgive, forgave, forgiven.
Let’s freeze the leftover chicken.
We froze the leftovers and reheated them for dinner.
We had frozen the dough, so it took a while to thaw.
Freeze, froze, frozen.
You got all A’s.
Last year you got a B in math.
You’ve never gotten a bad grade.
Get. Got, gotten.
Give me a hand, please.
I gave you lots of attention earlier.
I’ve given you all my free time today.
Give. Gave, given.
It went away.
It’s gone away now.
Go, went, gone.
I want to grow more tomatoes.
I grew 12 plants last summer.
I’ve always grown tomatoes in my garden.
Grow, grew, grown.
Hang up your coat.
She hung all the coats in the closet.
We’ve always hung Christmas lights the day after Thanksgiving.
Now, I want to point out there is another definition for hang, here I’ve used the definition “to be suspend or to suspend”. We hang the coat, we hang the lights. But hang can also mean to kill someone or to kill yourself by hanging from the neck. For that definition, we do use hanged for past tense and past participle. For example, “He hanged himself.”
Hang. hung, hung.
Or, hang, hanged, hanged.
Have a great time!
We had a great time!
We’ve had a great time!
Have, had, had
I hear you’re sick.
I heard you were sick.
I’ve heard several people have gotten sick this week.
Hear, heard, heard
Please hide this chocolate from me before I eat it all.
He hid the chocolate behind some books.
He has hidden several desserts from me while I’ve been on this diet.
Hide. Hid, hidden.
Hit the ball as hard as you can.
He hit it as hard as he could.
He’s hit the ball every time he’s been up to bat.
All the same, hit, hit, hit.
Hold this for me.
She held my bag while I went to the restroom.
I’ve held bags a lot heavier than this one.
Hold, held, held.
My feet hurt right now.
My feet hurt for a few hours before I took some ibuprofen.
My feet have never hurt like that before.
All three Hurt, hurt, hut.
I just kept trying!
Over the years, I’ve kept trying; that’s how I’ve gotten better at it.
Keep. Kept, kept
I kneel to tie my shoes.
My husband knelt on one knee when he proposed to me.
I’ve knelt to put on my shoes since there is no bench to sit on.
Actually, the -ed ending in these cases is also grammatically correct, though maybe less common.
Kneel, knelt, knelt
Kneel, kneeled, kneeled.
Do you know about this?
You knew about this and didn’t tell me?
How long have you known about this?
Know. Knew, known
You lead the way.
You led our team for 3 seasons.
You haven’t led the team before.
Lead, led, led.
Now, here’s something that’s confusing. We’ve said this is lead with the EE vowel, and this is led with the EH vowel. But this word has another pronunciation, and it’s lead with the EH vowel. With this pronunciation it’s a different definition. It’s the chemical element, Lead. So lead, led, led, but this can also be pronounced ‘lead’.
Leave your shoes at the door, please.
I left my shoes outside.
I’ve never left my shoes on in the house.
Leave. Left, left
Would you lend me some tools?
My dad lent me some tools for the project.
My dad has lent me tools for various projects over the years.
Lend, lent, lent
Let me help.
I let my son help me fix this.
I’ve only let him help one other time.
All three, let. Let, let, let.
The next verb has two different forms depending on the definition.
First, lie – tell an untruth, something that is false.
Don’t lie to me.
You lied to me?
You’ve never lied to me before!
Lie. Lied, lied. Ok, so that’s regular. But another definition is irregular. And that’s the definition “lie”, to assume a horizontal position.
You can lie down on the couch if you feel tired.
She lay down for an hour yesterday.
She’s lain down after breakfast every day this week.
Lie, lay, lain.
So depending on the definition it’s lie, lied, lied, or lie, lay, lain
I lose track of time when I’m listening to music.
I lost an hour of work time because the internet was down.
I’ve lost 5 pounds this month.
Lose, lost, lost
Let’s make a cake.
Who made the cake?
Have you ever made a cheesecake?
Make, made, made
What do you mean?
She explained what she meant. Look here, we’ve only added a T, but the vowel changed too. We went from ee as she to the EH as in BED. Mean, ee, meant, eh.
They’ve never meant to make us feel bad.
Mean, meant, meant. EE, eh, eh happens with our next word set too.
Let’s meet at 10.
I met your parents the other day.
I’ve never met your brother.
Meet, met, met. Ee, eh, eh happens yet again in our next set.
That statement might mislead customers.
The advertisement misled customers.
That company has misled customers many times.
Mislead, misled, misled,
You can pay me back later.
I paid you back on Venmo.
I’ve never paid anyone on Venmo.
Pay, paid, paid
Put your shoes on.
I put Sawyer’s shoes on for him this morning.
Have you ever put shoes on the wrong feet?
All three put: put, put, put.
You proofread everything for me.
Proofread. Notice the spelling doesn’t change here but the vowel does proofread, proofread, EH.
My editor proofread everything.
Proofread. Again with the EH vowel.
She’s proofread everything I’ve ever published.
Proofread, proofread, proofread.
So of course this is true for ‘read’ as well. We have read with an EE.
Let’s read over it together.
Then we have read, same spelling but past tense now with the EH vowel.
We read it as soon as it came.
And again, read.
Have you read a novel in another language?
We could ride bikes this afternoon.
We rode bikes for two hours last week.
We’ve never ridden that trail.
Ride, rode, ridden
Sometimes my phone doesn’t ring even though the volume is all the way up.
My phone only rang one time, so I missed the call.
My phone has never rung during a meeting until now—oops!
Ring, rang, rung
You usually rise early.
The sun rose at 7:19 yesterday.
After the sun has risen, we can go for a hike.
Rise, rose, risen. Notice in all three of these words, the letter S is pronounced with a Z sound.
Let’s run a marathon.
They ran two marathons last year.
They’ve always run a marathon during winter break.
Run, ran, run
Say hi to her.
I said hi.
I’ve never said anything rude to her.
Say, said, said.
See what time the movie starts.
We saw that movie last week.
I haven’t seen that movie yet.
See, saw, seen
They sell shoes made from recycled plastics.
They sold 5,000 pairs of shoes during the holidays.
They’ve never sold so many shoes.
Sell, sold, sold
Send me that picture.
I sent the picture on Messenger.
I’ve never sent a picture on Messenger before.
Send, sent, sent
We’re all set.
I was set to go, but our flight was cancelled.
We’ve been set to go for an hour.
All three are the same. Set, set, set
He’s going to shoot some group pictures of us.
He shot about 200 pictures.
He’s shot dozens of group photo sessions.
Shoot, shot, shot
Show them your receipt.
I showed the manager my receipt.
I’ve shown them my receipt; now I’m waiting for a refund.
Show, showed, shown
Shut the door.
I shut the door already.
I’ve already shut the door.
All three shut: shut, shut, shut.
Sing a little more quietly.
She sang so loud that I couldn’t hear myself think.
She has never sung in public.
Sing, sang, sung
Let’s sink all our shots today.
She sank four three-pointers in the first half.
I’ve sunk almost every free throw this season.
Sink, sank, sunk.
Sit over there.
I sat over there.
She’s sat outside for most of the party.
Sit, sat, sat
My kids usually sleep from about 8:00pm-7:00am.
They slept at their grandparents’ last night.
They’ve slept at my sister-in-law’s, too.
Sleep, slept, slept
I want to speak to you.
I spoke to him yesterday.
I’ve spoken to her several times.
Speak, spoke, spoken.
You spend too much time on your phone.
You spent the whole day on your phone.
How much time have you spent watching Rachel’s English videos this week?
Spend, spent, spent.
I stand with you on that.
We stood with you during that difficult time.
We’ve stood together through thick and thin.
Stand stood stood
I don’t want to steal your idea.
You stole my idea.
I’ve never stolen your ideas.
Steal stole stolen
Stick with me.
He stuck with me when my dad was sick.
We’ve stuck together through some tough times.
Stick, stuck, stuck
We swim at the Y.
We swam at the lake yesterday.
We’ve swum at that pool a lot.
Swim, swam swum
Can you take that next door?
He took it next door.
He hasn’t taken it yet.
Take, took, taken.
I teach on Youtube.
I taught in a traditional classroom before becoming a Youtuber.
I’ve always taught with technology.
Teach, taught, taught.
Tell us the whole story.
You told us the whole story.
Have you told us the whole story?
I think so.
I thought so.
I’ve thought about it all day.
Think, thought, thought.
We need to throw this out.
We threw it out on recycling day.
We’ve already thrown out lots of stuff.
Throw, threw, thrown.
She’s understood more since she got hearing aids.
Understand, understood, understood.
Just undo that edit.
I undid the edit.
I’ve undone all the bad edits.
Undo, undid, undone
I need to wake up earlier.
I woke up late this morning.
Have you ever woken up and forgotten where you were?
Wake, woke, woken.
I’m going to wear jeans.
I wore jeans last time.
I’ve worn jeans every time I’ve been there.
Wear wore worn
Let’s win this!
We’ve won the last six games.
Win, won, won
Let’s withdraw some cash in the morning.
He withdrew some cash before leaving.
He has already withdrawn $200.
Withdraw withdrew withdrawn
Write your name in the book.
I wrote my name in the back of the book.
I’ve written a note to you in the back of the book.
Write, wrote, written
Whew, that was a lot. But aren’t you glad to know so much more about these irregular verbs? I also have a series of videos on regular verbs, where you add an –ed, check that out if you haven’t because there are actually some crazy tricks to the pronunciations. And now keep your learning going now with this video and be sure to subscribe with notifications on so you never miss a lesson. I love being your English teacher and accent coach. That’s it and thanks so much for using Rachel’s English.