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Irregular Verbs: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Shelley Vessels

Shelley has taught at the middle school level for 10 years and has a master's degree in teaching English.

Most verbs in the English language follow a regular pattern of conjugation, but there are a number of verbs that don't. What does that exactly mean? Read the following lesson to learn about verb tenses, regular and irregular!

What is a Verb?

Before we start defining regular and irregular verbs and their tenses, let's back it up and review what a verb is!

In every complete sentence, there is a verb. Verbs tell 'what the subject is' or 'what the subject does' in a sentence.

Let's Look at an Example.

The woman twirls spaghetti on her fork.

twirling spaghetti!

Twirling Spaghetti

The subject of the sentence is 'woman.' What is the woman doing in the sentence? She is twirling spaghetti, so the verb in the sentence is 'twirls.'

How Do You Change Tenses?

Let's use our example sentence to see a regular verb in action.

  • Present tense: The woman twirls spaghetti on her fork.
  • Past tense: The woman twirled spaghetti on her fork.
  • Past participle: The woman has twirled spaghetti on her fork.

The verb 'twirl' follows a regular pattern like most verbs in the English language. With a regular verb, you add '-d' or '-ed' to form a past or past participle verb.

Irregular Verbs

Irregular verbs do not follow the regular pattern, but there are some similarities within the irregular verbs. Check out the bulleted list of regular irregularities!

  • Add 'n' or 'en' to the past tense to create the past participle.

Think of the verb 'freeze.' To make it past tense, it becomes 'froze,' and the past participle is 'frozen.'

Here are other verbs that follow this pattern: break (break/broke/has broken), choose (choose/chose/has chosen), speak (speak/spoke/has spoken).

  • The past and past participle are the same.

Think of the verb 'leave.' To make it past tense, it becomes 'left,' and the past participle is 'has left.'

Here are other verbs that follow this pattern: catch (catch/caught/has caught), sit (sit/sat/has sat), get (get/got/has got).

  • The past participle is created by adding '-n' or '-en' to the present tense verb.

Consider the verb 'see.' The past tense of 'see' is 'saw.' To make it the past participle form, it becomes 'seen.'

Here are other verbs that follow this pattern: run (run/ran/has run), take (take/took/has taken), throw (throw/threw/has thrown).

  • The vowel in the verb changes from 'i' in the present, to 'a' in the past, to 'u' in the past participle.

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