Regular verbs form the past tense by adding d or ed to the present tense of the verb. Irregular verbs form the past tense in different ways.
Be, Have, and Do
Three of the most frequently used verbs in the English language are be, have, and do. The tenses of these verbs are irregular; they do not fit the pattern of the regular verbs. Therefore, we must memorize them.
Points of View
Verb forms often change according to three points of view:
(1) First person, the speaker—I or we
(2) Second person, the person or thing spoken to—you
(3) Third person, the person or thing spoken of—he, she, it, they, and singular or plural nouns
Below are charts showing the verb forms of be, have, and do.
Complete each sentence with the correct form of the verb.
- She (present of have) red hair.
- You (present of be) so helpful!
- I (past of be) on time.
- We (past of do) our homework last night.
- He (present of do) chores each day.
- They (past of have) an abundance of ripe tomatoes.
- If we (present of have) strong, healthy bodies, we can resist disease.
- You (present of be) what you eat.
- He (past of be) aware that eating proper foods is necessary for good health.
- You (past of do) know that a balanced diet helps the body function properly.
- She has red hair.
- You are so helpful!
- I was on time.
- We did our homework last night.
- He does chores each day.
- They had an abundance of ripe tomatoes.
- If we have strong, healthy bodies, we can resist disease.
- You are what you eat.
- He was aware that eating proper foods is necessary for good health.
- You did know that a balanced diet helps the body function properly.
Other Irregular Verbs
There are no rules for forming the past tense and past participles of verbs that are irregular. Fortunately, we recognize the principal parts of most of these verbs just by hearing them. We must memorize the irregular verb parts that we do not know already.
Irregular verbs cause people trouble because it is easy to confuse the past and past participle.
- She has gone (NOT went) to work.
- The concert began (NOT begun) on time.
- The commercial Federalists had chosen (NOT chose) Jared Ingersoll as their token Antifederalist.
- Jared Ingersoll began (NOT begun) to see the necessity of a stronger central government.
We can group many irregular verbs because they follow similar patterns. Here we list four groups of irregular verbs:
Remember, there are many more irregular verbs. Some of them follow the patterns above, but others don't. Always consult the dictionary if you are unsure.
Write the correct verb form for sentences 1-10.
- The pond has (froze, frozen) solid already.
- Dawn (threw, thrown) a snowball at Pete.
- My beige pants (shrank, shrunk) in the dryer.
- Julie has (grew, grown) two inches taller this year.
- Jeff has (chose, chosen) his classes for the spring semester.
- The howling wind (blew, blown) all night.
- The church bells (rang, rung) on the hour.
- Victoria has (drank, drunk) all her milk.
- No one (knowed, knew, known) how to help Helen Keller until she was seven years old.
- Anne Sullivan did not (shrink, shrank, shrunk) from helping Helen Keller.
- The pond has frozen solid already.
- Dawn threw a snowball at Pete.
- My beige pants shrank in the dryer.
- Julie has grown two inches taller this year.
- Jeff has chosen his classes for the spring semester.
- The howling wind blew all night.
- The church bells rang on the hour.
- Victoria has drunk all her milk.
- No one knew how to help Helen Keller until she was seven years old.
- Anne Sullivan did not shrink from helping Helen Keller.