Past simple – irregular verbs

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


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: I am so happy to be home!

Oliver: I bet. So, tell us what happened.

Sophie: Well, on Thursday afternoon I saw the weather forecast on the TV in the hotel and it said there was a big storm coming.

Oliver: Yes, that was when we spoke.

Sophie: That’s right. So, I took a taxi to the airport straight away. I wanted to leave before the storm came.

Daisy: Good idea. Did you get to the airport OK?

Sophie: Yes, I got there, but hundreds of other people had the same idea. The storm arrived faster than anybody expected so there were no flights! The road to the airport was completely flooded, so nobody could go back into town. We got stuck in the airport!

Oliver: Did you think it would be for so long?

Sophie: Not at all. We all thought one night ... possibly two ...

Daisy: Did you have enough food?

Sophie: I bought some food on the first day, but it wasn’t very good by the third day. On my birthday I had a packet of crisps and a two-day-old sandwich for lunch.

Oliver: Poor Mum.

Daisy: What about the bathrooms at the airport? Were you able to have a shower?

Sophie: No! The water pipes froze so after the first day there wasn’t any water. It wasn’t nice!

Oliver: That’s disgusting!

Sophie: Don’t worry. I’m clean now!

Daisy: So, what did you do all day in the airport?

Sophie: I met some really nice people! We talked, read, played cards. When they found out it was my birthday, one of them gave me his last bar of chocolate!

Daisy: Ah, cute!

Sophie: It was a strange feeling having no Internet connection, no phone line. It was horrible not being able to phone you two! We’re all so used to being connected all the time. It was hard. I know you think I’m on holiday when I’m working, but it’s not always easy you know!

Oliver and Sophie: Happy Birthday, Mum!

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!


Have you ever been stuck in some terrible weather?

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Submitted by giorgia_marchetti on Fri, 03/20/2020 - 14:36

No, i have never been stuck in a horrible time. But once after school there was a strong storm and i forgot my umbrella at home,for this reason my schoolbag took many rain water and olso my school book

In reply to by MatildePace

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Submitted by notclickbaitgamernl on Thu, 12/05/2019 - 09:24

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Submitted by notclickbaitgamernl on Thu, 12/05/2019 - 09:23

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Submitted by empty on Sun, 06/23/2019 - 15:52

Nice video . I loved what oliver did after he said '' poor mom ! '' !!!
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Submitted by Youjiro on Thu, 01/31/2019 - 13:21

I remember last year I went to mountain with friends to see top of view .We started climbing the mountain at Saturday morning with some food and water.On the way we stuck in strong tyhpoon. It was dangerous for us .We stopped climbing the mountain on the way.I went to cottage .We spend few hour .after that typhoon was gone .We continued climbing the mountain.

Submitted by thanhlong on Sun, 01/06/2019 - 12:53

i wrong 2 question :[
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Submitted by Batgirl on Fri, 02/02/2018 - 16:08

One time when I and my family had to go on a skiing holiday, the weather that bad plains couldn't fly anywhere. So we had to wait few days until the snow melts...
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