Regular Verbs in English: Definition & Examples

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  • 0:05 Regular vs. Irregular
  • 1:18 Simple Past
  • 1:43 Past Perfect
  • 2:52 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: David Boyles

David has a Master's in English literature. He has taught college English for 5+ years.

Regular verbs are verbs that can be put in the past tense simply by adding -ed to the end, such as 'roll', 'walk', and 'climb'. They are the easiest verbs to change tenses with in English.

Regular vs. Irregular

We're taught early on that a verb is the part of speech that describes an action. Words like 'roll,' 'walk,' 'climb,' and 'jump' are all verbs, for example. Every sentence must contain a verb, and it not only shows the action happening in the sentence but, in English, the verb is also responsible for telling the reader when something happens.

Every verb has different verb tenses that show whether the action is happening in the past, present, or future, such as:

  • I walk to school.
  • I walked to school.
  • I will walk to school.

The first sentence here is in present tense, meaning it is happening right now, while the second is in past tense, and the third is in future tense.

For 'walk' and many other verbs, making it past tense instead of present tense is pretty simple: just add '-ed' to the end of the present tense form. These verbs that are conjugated following a pattern are called regular verbs, which differ from irregular verbs, which take on entirely different spellings in the past tense. For instance, 'run' and 'teach' become 'ran' and 'taught.'

Simple Past

The most basic form of past tense, like we saw in our first example, is called simple past. For regular verbs, showing the simple past is just a matter of adding that -ed to the end, as in these examples:

  • John climbed the tree.
  • Stacy wanted a new bike for Christmas.
  • Juan called home to talk to his parents.
  • Abby begged the teacher to let her retake the test.

Past Perfect

Another common past tense is past perfect. This is used to describe an event that happened in the past and was completed by a specific time. It is shown by combining the helping verb 'had' and the past participle of the verb.

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