The past simple – irregular verbs
Some verbs are irregular. Their past forms do not end in -ed.
So how do I know which verbs are regular and which are irregular?
You have to learn them!
Learn them from the list? Oh no!
It's not so bad. There aren't really so many verbs to learn and remember that English is much easier than many languages. The past forms don't change.
I took a taxi to the airport. (take → took)
That was when we spoke. (speak → spoke)
One person gave me his last bar of chocolate. (give → gave)
I see what you mean. I made, you made, he made, she made, it made, we made, they made!
Exactly! They're all the same. And the negatives are all formed with did + not + the infinitive without to. The question forms are very similar: did + subject pronoun + the infinitive without to.
What did you do all day in the airport?
Did you have enough food?
We didn't think you would get home in time for your birthday.
OK, you're right, that's not too bad. Are there any exceptions?
Yes the verb to be. The past form is was for I, he, she and it, but were for you, we and they.
It was horrible not being able to phone you two!
There wasn't any food. I was so hungry!
We were stuck in the airport.
So what about this verb list?
Right, here it is!
|Present||Past Simple||Present||Past Simple|
|be||was / were||begin||began|
Wow! OK, so how do I learn these verbs?
There are lots of things you can try:
- Make cards to test yourself – put the infinitive on one side and the past on the other.
- Write sentences with different verbs in them. Include some negatives.
- Make up stories and record yourself. The story could just be about what you did last weekend.
- Do practice activities online. You can start by doing the ones below on this page!
OK, I'm going to start learning them now!