Difference Between Regular and Irregular Verbs

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: September 11, 2023

       

Difference Between Regular and Irregular Verbs

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Introduction

Verbs are the basis of every sentence formation since they describe the action taken. In the English language, numerous different kinds of verbs are used such as auxiliary verbs, transitive verbs, finite verbs, regular and irregular verbs, modal verbs, etc. The proper use of irregular and regular verbs is among the most fundamental and significant grammatical principles. Depending on how they are conjugated, all English verbs fall into one of two categories: regular or irregular. The formation of the past tense and past participle helps us to distinguish between both categories. To avoid and reduce grammatical errors, it is crucial to have a solid knowledge of verb usage.

Regular verbs are a type of verb that adheres to the standard rules of conjugation, i.e., they adopt the regular pattern for transforming verbs into their past, past participle, or future tense forms. Usually, when a verb is employed in the past tense, the suffixes -ed or -d is added, or if the word ends in a 'y,' the 'y' is dropped and the suffix ‘ied’ is added.

For example,

  • She cried yesterday because she didn’t get the expected result       
  • She went to the shop to buy a dress for her birthday party.       
  • I am going to carry this box in my room.       
  • My friend hurt her leg yesterday while playing.       
  • I am unable to find my glasses.       
  • I visited my friend’s house for a housewarming party.

The past, past participle, and future tenses of irregular verbs are not formed according to the standard norms of conjugation. In other words, a verb is deemed irregular if it does not end in -ed, -‘ied’, or -d in its past tense form. Strong verbs, often known as irregular verbs, are occasionally used.

Regular and irregular verbs consist of fixed or not fixed patterns according to which their past tense and past participle forms are changed.

Regular verbs-

  • talk-talked-talked                        
  • walk-walked-walked                        
  • like-liked-liked

Irregular verbs-

  • buy-bought-bought                          
  • go-went-gone                          
  • sing-sang-sung

Regular Verbs vs Irregular Verbs

The main difference between regular and irregular verbs is that regular verbs consist of a fixed ending with the suffix (-ed) thus, a pattern is followed, whereas irregular verbs don’t contain a consistent ending or there is no such pattern to be followed as either they change completely in their other verb forms or remains the same as that of the base or simple form. Regular verbs are very similar to their infinitive (base) form For Ex- look-looked-looked, on the contrary, irregular verbs are different from their original form For Ex- go-went-gone.

Difference Between Regular and Irregular Verbs in Tabular Form

Parameters of ComparisonRegular VerbsIrregular Verbs
DefinitionThe past simple tense and past participle forms of regular verbs are created by appending the suffixes "-ed" to the end of the word.The past simple tense and past participle forms are used differently from their base form and do not follow a predictable pattern.
PatternIt follows a regular and standard pattern.It doesn't follow a regular pattern but a special one.
SuffixIt usually ends with a "-ed" ending.It doesn't end with a specific ending.
FormIt has the same form for both past tense and past participle.It can have either different forms or the same form for past tense and past participle.
Exampleschop - chopped - chopped
copy - copied - copied
walk - walked - walked
search - searched - searched
sing - sang - sung
break - broke - broken
go - went - gone
cut - cut - cut

What are Regular Verbs?

Regular verbs refer to those verbs that abide by a certain conjugation pattern. They follow a typical pattern of rules for changing verbs in past tense and past participle verb form. They are formed by using the suffixes ‘-d’ or ‘-ed’ at the end of the action verb and this is the most common modification in the word’s spelling. The vast majority of verbs in English are regular.

To alter a regular verb, we can do it in a variety of ways. Here are a few examples of forms:

Different forms of Regular verbs

If the verb ends in ‘-e’ it is changed into past tense by adding a ‘-d’ at the end. For Example-

  • like- liked
  • love-loved
  • taste-tasted
  • hate-hated
  • close-closed

Sentence Example- She uses a pencil to draw- She used a pencil to draw- Can I use your eraser?

If the verb ends with a constant, we add ‘-ed’ to change it into past tense. For Example-

  • play- played
  • watch- watched
  • work- worked
  • kill- killed
  • plan-planned

Sentence example- I work here daily- I worked here daily- My friend used to work here.

If the verb ends with a ‘-y’, it is replaced by ‘-ied’. For Example-

  • cry- cried
  • dry- dried
  • bury- buried
  • marry- married

Sentence example- Don’t copy the answers- Some students copied the answers - She copied my homework.

There are some special cases where we have to modify the spellings to add ‘-ed’ or ‘-d’

When a verb ends in a "short" vowel and a consonant, we add the suffix "-ed" and double the final consonant. For example,

  • chop- chopped
  • stop- stopped  
  • drop- dropped

Sentence Example- I am going to chop the fruits- I already chopped some fruits - Can you please chop the herbs for dinner?

When a verb's ending is "-ic," we also add the letter "k" to the end of the suffix "-ed."

For example, panic- panicked

Sentence Example- You don’t have to panic everything is going to be fine- She panicked when she heard about the accident- There is nothing to panic about. 

There is an exception for the words ending with a vowel followed by ‘l’ like cancel, fuel, travel, etc. In such cases, we just have to add ‘-ed’ without doubling the consonant. But this exception solely exists in American English, in other English dialects such as British, the constant is still doubled.  

For American English                             

  • travel- traveled                                       
  • label- labeled                                           
  • fuel- fueled                                                

For British English

  • travel- travelled  
  • cancel- cancelled
  • label- labelled

Sentence Example- She is going to travel soon- She traveled/travelled the European cities- My mother is traveling right now.

What are Irregular Verbs?

Irregular verbs refer to those verbs which do not follow a predictable pattern or a fixed conjugation pattern. It is considered a strong verb that has certain special rules for structuring past tense forms. Unlike regular verbs, these don’t end with a ‘-d’, ‘-ed’, or ‘ied’ but are transformed completely into a new different word. Hence, there is no other way but to memorize all the irregular verbs to use them accurately in sentence formation. There are around 200 irregular verbs in the English language.

We can broadly classify the irregular verbs in different groups based on how they are changed in past tense or past participle form:

Group 1- In both their past participle and simple past forms, irregular verbs use the same spelling as their parent verb. In all the tense forms, these verbs stay the same. Since most of these verbs finish in -t, it is simpler to recognize them.

For example,

  • cut-cut-cut
  • hurt-hurt-hurt
  • hit-hit-hit
  • put-put-put

Sentence Example- She cut her hand yesterday while cooking- she is going to cut some vegetables- My mother is going to cut my hair.

Group 2- Irregular verbs that spell the same way in the simple past and past participle. Some of the irregular verbs in this group also have different spelling.

For example,

  • find-found-found
  • bend- bent- bent
  • think- thought- thought
  • bring- brought- brought

Sentence Example- I think this is a good idea- she thought it was a bad idea. - He thought about his friends.

Group 3- In some cases, irregular verbs consist of three distinct spelling patterns- the base form, the simple past form, and the past participle form.

For Example,

  • go-went-gone
  • drink-drank-drunk
  • fly-flew-flown
  • bite-bit-bitten

Sentence Example- I drink tea every morning- she drank tea yesterday. - He was so drunk last night.

Group 4- Sometimes irregular verbs remain the same in both their base form and the past participle form and only changes in the past tense form.

For Example,

  • come-came-come
  • become-became-become
  • run-ran-run
  • overcome-overcame-overcome

Sentence Example- I go for a run every day- she had to run because she was late. - He ran for almost 5 hours.

Table Of Commonly Used Irregular Verbs

comegosee
sayknowget
givebecomefind
thinkbreakbring
choosedobe

Alternative ways to learn irregular verbs:

Irregular verbs ending with ‘ow/aw’ changes into ‘Ew’ in the past form and ‘own/awn’ in the past participle form. For example,

  • blow-blew-blown
  • draw-drew-drawn
  • grow-grew-grown

Verbs ending with ‘ise’ changes into ‘ose’ in the past tense and ‘isen’ in the past participle form. For example,

  • rise-rose-risen
  • arise-arose-arisen

Verbs ending with ‘Ive’ change into ‘ove/ave’ in the past tense and ‘Iven’ in the past participle form. For example,

  • give- gave-given
  • forgive-forgave-forgiven

Verbs ending with ‘et’ changes into ‘ot’ in the past tense and ‘otten’ in the past participle form. For example,

  • get-got-gotten
  • forget-forgot-forgotten

Verbs ending with ‘ide/Ite’ change into ‘ode/ote/id/it’ in the past tense and ‘Idden’ ‘itten’ in the past participle form. For example,

  • hide-hid-hidden
  • ride-rode-ridden
  • write-wrote-written

Verbs ending with ‘ink/ing/in’ change into ‘ank/ang/an’ in the past tense and ‘unk/ung/un’ in the past participle form. For example,

  • sing-sang-sung
  • drink-drank-drunk
  • begin-began-begun

Verbs ending with ‘Ake’ changes into ‘ook’ in the past tense and ‘aken’ in the past participle form. For example,

  • take-took-taken
  • mistake-mistook-mistaken

Verbs ending with ‘Eak/ake/Eal’ change into ‘oke/ole’ in the past tense and ‘oken/Olen’ in the past participle form. For example,

  • wake-woke-woken
  • steal-stole-stolen
  • speak-spoke-spoken

Verbs ending with ‘ear’ change into ‘ore’ in the past tense and ‘orn/Orne’ in the past participle form. For example,

  • tear-tore-torn
  • wear-wore-worn

Verbs ending with ‘oose’ change into ‘ose’ in the past tense and ‘osen’ in the past participle form. For example,

  • choose-chose-chosen

Irregular verbs with ‘ought/aught’ as a suffix in past and past participle form. For example,

  • bring-brought-brought
  • think-thought-thought
  • catch-caught-caught

Main Differences Between Regular And Irregular Verbs (in Points)

  • Regular verbs follow a specific conjugation pattern while changing the form of the verb in past form or past participle form but irregular verbs don’t have any specific conjugation pattern. They are changed entirely into a new word.
  • Regular verbs mostly end with the suffixes such as ‘-d’, ‘-ed’, or ‘-ied’, but there is no specific suffix word used while changing the form of irregular verbs.
  • Regular verbs are easy to understand and memorize, whereas irregular verbs can be a little difficult to learn as they don’t follow a regular pattern.
  • Regular verbs are known as weak verbs and irregular verbs are known as strong verbs
  • Regular verbs have the same form for both past tense and past participle but irregular verbs can either be the same or different in both forms.
  • Regular verbs were added later in the English language, whereas irregular verbs were derived from the old English, Germanic strong verbs.
  • Regular verb examples
    • love-loved-loved
    • arrive-arrived-arrived
    • bake-baked-baked
  • Irregular verb examples
    • go-went-gone
    • cut-cut-cut
    • drink-drank-drunk

Conclusion

In conclusion, we can say that verbs play a very crucial role in the construction of sentences in grammar, thus it is very important to have a thorough understanding and vast knowledge of rules that are applied in changing the forms of verbs while writing. There are different kinds of verbs in the English language, that you must understand to use them accurately. In this article, we talked about two of the verbs- regular and irregular verbs and discussed their basic definitions, and the main differences between them, along with various examples to better understand the concept and their usage in grammar.

Regular verbs have past and past participle tenses that are extremely similar to their present tenses, whereas irregular verbs have past and past participle tenses that are significantly different from their present tenses. This is the major distinction between regular and irregular verbs. Between these two categories of verbs, there are several distinctions that we need to be aware of.

Regular and irregular verbs often differ in that the former adheres to a fixed pattern while altering its form, whilst the latter does not, and varies completely from one form to another.

References

  • https://www.careerpower.in/regular-and-irregular-verbs.html  
  • https://www.thefreedictionary.com/Regular-and-Irregular-Verbs.htm  
  • https://www.twinkl.co.in/teaching-wiki/regular-verbs  
  • https://grammar.yourdictionary.com/parts-of-speech/verbs/what-is-an-irregular-verb.html  
  • https://www.twinkl.co.in/teaching-wiki/irregular-verb

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"Difference Between Regular and Irregular Verbs." Diffzy.com, 2024. Wed. 28 Feb. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-regular-and-irregular-verbs>.



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