The past simple – irregular verbs

The past simple – irregular verbs


As you watch the video, look at the examples of past simple irregular verbs. They are in red in the subtitles. Then read the conversation below to learn more. Finally, do the grammar exercises to check you understand, and can use, the past simple irregular verbs.


Sophie has just arrived home after a work trip to the United States which turned into a nightmare.

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
break broke bring brought
build built buy bought
catch caught choose chose
come came cost cost
cut cut do did
draw drew drink drank
drive drove eat ate
fall fell feel felt
fight fought find found
fly flew forget forgot
freeze froze get got
give gave go went
have had hear heard
hold held hit hit
keep kept know knew
learn learnt leave left
lead led let let
lie lay lose lost
make made mean meant
meet met pay paid
put put read read
ride rode run ran
say said see saw
sell sold send sent
set set shut shut
sing sang sit sat
sleep slept speak spoke
spend spent stand stood
steal stole swim swam
take took teach taught
tell told think thought
understand understood wake woke
wear wore win won
write wrote    

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!


Total votes: 2254


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Have you ever been stuck in some terrible weather?


Roby666's picture

Hi there
i want to thank all the staff for this great website
i was looking for this useful lessons for along time
and i'm so glad because most of my answers are correct :)

165 users have voted.
Jonathan - Coordinator's picture

Hi Roby666. Thanks for your comment! It makes us very happy to hear that you find our site useful :) Please keep on visiting LearnEnglish Teens and let us know what you like on here. Good luck with your studies!
Jonathan (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

177 users have voted.
nguyenvuhau's picture

I've never been stuck in a terrible weather. Sometimes I must shelter from the rain when I lose my raincoat or I have problem with my old motorbike.

144 users have voted.
dzeni's picture

I learnt irregular verbs last year so I know all verbs from this table. Thanks British Council for all these exercises. They are very helpful.

151 users have voted.
JoEditor's picture

Hi Tanna, 
Sorry, but for copyright reasons you are not allowed to download our Grammar videos. 
Best wishes, Jo (LearnEnglish Teens Team) 

161 users have voted.
JoEditor's picture

Hi nikki,
We're really pleased you love our site! I'm sorry the videos aren't working for you. I've just checked them on various browsers and they are working fine, so I think it may be a local problem on your computer. Can you watch videos from other websites on the computer you're using? 
Best wishes, Jo (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

209 users have voted.
iriskuit's picture

Oops, I made a little mistake in my first comment.. Typed to fast ! I meant:

This is really helpful, I think I know everything now for so far, thank you very much it was really helpful! Great website!

181 users have voted.
Jonathan - Coordinator's picture

Hi iriskuit. We're very glad to hear that and thank you for letting us know. :) We have more videos coming soon, so keep on checking this website. Is there any particular grammar area you'd like to practice? And don't worry, I make lots of spelling mistakes too because of typing too fast!
Jonathan (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

171 users have voted.