How To Use Irregular Verbs

irregular verbs

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Irregular verbs are a common part of the English and Spanish language. They often defy the normal rules for conjugating verbs, making them tricky to use correctly. While there’s no way around learning how to use irregular verbs properly, understanding their fundamentals can make it easier. This guide will cover everything you need to know about using irregular verbs, from identifying them to conjugating them for each tense.

What is an Irregular Verb?

Irregular verbs are verbs that don’t conform to the usual rules of conjugation in a given language. Typically, when transforming a verb from present to past tense or any other form of the verb, you can simply add an ending such as ‘-ed’ for English or ‘–t’ for German. But not with irregular verbs! These verbs require entirely separate forms for every instance of conjugation.

Sometimes it makes sense why—think about the English verb “swim,” which becomes “swam” in past tense; it makes sense that the two words have little in common. However, with some languages like Italian, this convention is so common that beginners may need to memorize lists of irregular verb forms or use special reference tools to help them out!

irregular verbs

How to Identify Irregular Verbs

There are a few tell-tale signs that a verb is irregular: it might have an unusual spelling, or the past tense and past participle forms could be completely different than what’s expected. Irregular verbs can also appear in their infinitive form but with changes to their stem. For example, “to write” can become “written” when used as the past participle instead of “writed” like some regular verbs do.

Conjugating irregular verbs in English

Irregular verbs are those that don’t follow the normal rules of conjugation in English. They are not formed by adding the usual suffixes (such as -ed, -ing, and -s) to the base form of the verb. Instead, they must be memorized and conjugated differently from regular verbs.

Conjugating irregular verbs isn’t difficult once you learn the rules. The most important rule is to remember that, unlike regular verbs, irregular verb conjugations are completely separate. For example, “write” becomes “wrote” in past tense; there is no connection between these two forms at all! Fortunately, some classes of irregular verbs have patterns you can use to help memorize them more quickly.

Present Tense Forms of Irregular Verbs

Understanding present tense forms of irregular verbs can feel daunting at first, but the key is to focus on one verb at a time. In many cases, there are patterns that you can use as a guide to help predict what form the verb will take. You then need to spend time referring to charts that provide the details that each verb follows.

While complex rules may apply in some cases, being conversant in the present tense forms of irregular verbs allows for smoother conversations in everyday situations and gives your writing an added level of sophistication.

Past Simple Forms of Irregular Verbs

When speaking in the past tense, English language learners can find conjugating irregular verbs overwhelming. Some of these verbs form their past simple differently than regular verbs. For example, the verb “see” is an irregular verb, while the verb “arrive” is not.

In the past simple form, the irregular verb “see” changes to “saw,” but the regular verb “arrive” follows the standard conjugation and becomes “arrived.” Although it helps to have a list of irregular verbs nearby and identify patterns they follow when constructing past simple forms, repetition and practice are invaluable when learning how to use them properly.

Participle Forms of Irregular Verbs

Irregular verbs can be difficult for English language learners to master, but participle forms are often a useful first step. Participles are verbals typically formed from a verb’s past tense, and irregular verbs have unique problems because some don’t form participles in the same way as other verbs.

To make matters worse, not all irregular verbs behave the same when it comes to forming their participle forms; in fact most of them need to be memorized as individual words! Nevertheless, with enough practice and patience, any learner can become adept at using the correct participle forms of irregular verbs.

Strategy for Learning the Forms of an Irregular Verb

Learning the forms of irregular verbs can be a tricky process, but with a good strategy in place you can be sure to master them!

  • Begin by creating a chart that lists the irregular verb and its three main forms (e.g. present, past, participle).
  • Practice the forms by using words in sentences and writing them on flashcards to help consolidate your knowledge.
  • And test yourself periodically to keep the verbs fresh in your memory.

With this strategy it won’t be long before you have all your irregular verb forms memorized!

Examples of Simple and Compound Irregular Verbs

Irregular verbs can be a tricky part of the English language to learn, but mastering reflexive, simple, and compound forms of them is key for strong writing. Simple irregular verbs are those which display their reliance upon memorization with special past tense written forms like ‘drank’ rather than the expected ‘drinked’ which results from regular verb conjugation.

Compound irregular verbs differ in that they involve two distinct parts – often a past participle and an auxiliary verb like “have” or “be” – coming together to make an irregular form like those found in sentences such as “had been” or “have gone”. Although slightly more difficult to learn than other conjugations in English, these irregular verbs are an essential part of making our speech and writing accurate and compelling.

The Future Tense with Regular, Irregular and Compound verbs

Understanding and correctly using verbs in the future tense may be challenging at times, but with practice, it can become simpler. Regular verbs are those conjugated with the ending “-ere”, such as “volere” (to want) which becomes “Vorrei” (I will want). Irregular future tenses refer to where the verb’s ending varies from its regular form, such as “Dare” (to give), that becomes”Darò” (I will give).

Compound tenses refer to those composed of two verbs; a main verb plus an auxiliary one. For example, ”Avrò lavorato” (I will have worked), composed by ”Avere” (to have) plus ”Lavorare”(work). With regular practice and patience, you’ll soon overcome any difficulties you may have when dealing with verbs in their future forms!

Conditional Forms of Irregular Verbs

Irregular verbs are those that do not follow a standard pattern for conjugation, unlike regular verbs which can be largely predicted by the simplest of rules. Conditional forms require you to use irregular grammar from the beginning and become especially tricky when it comes to negative sentences.

These may differ from country to country, so keeping yourself updated on common formulations used by native speakers is essential. As specific as they may appear, learning these forms is key in order to make your conversations flow naturally – therefore spending time on them will only improve your pronunciation and communication skills.


Though irregular verbs can appear challenging at first, they are an important and integral part of the English language. By familiarizing yourself with common irregular forms, their usage and the strategies that can help you learn them, you will be able to use them confidently in your speech and writing. With practice and patience, soon those tricky irregular forms will become second nature!


How do I identify Irregular Verbs?

Identifying irregular verbs can be tricky, since they often differ from language to language and even within languages. Generally speaking, you can identify irregular verbs by looking for words that do not follow the standard conjugation rules. For example, in English, most verbs are conjugated according to a set pattern (e.g., adding “ed” to the end of the word for the past tense), but there are exceptions such as “to be” and “to have” which require different forms for each tense.

How do I conjugate Irregular Verbs?

Conjugating irregular verbs can be challenging since there is no single rule that applies to all of them. Instead, you will need to memorize the different forms or spelling changes associated with each particular verb. In some cases, you may also need to use a chart or list of irregular verbs in order to identify the correct form for each tense. Fortunately, there are many resources available online that can help you with this task.

Are there any tips for using Irregular Verb?

One helpful tip is to pay close attention to the spelling changes associated with each verb and make sure you use them consistently throughout your writing. Additionally, practice makes perfect—so don’t be afraid to spend some time practicing conjugating these tricky words. Finally, if you are learning Spanish as well as English, it can be useful to compare the two languages side-by-side so that you can gain an understanding of how the same verb might appear differently in each language.

By understanding how to identify and conjugate irregular verbs, you can become more confident when using them in both English and Spanish!

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