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Regular Verbs

Elizabeth O'Brien

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Regular Verbs

If you've studied English grammar, you know that there are regular verbs and irregular verbs. If you haven't studied English grammar, just trust me!
Quick Refresher

A verb is a word that names an action or a state of being.

Verb Tenses

Before you can learn why regular verbs are regular, you need to learn a little bit about verb tenses. Verb tenses tell us about the time that the verb occurs.

Verbs have three different basic or simple times that they could have taken place. These three times are called the simple tenses.

1. Past Tense: These verbs take place in the past.

2. Present Tense: These verbs take place in the present.

3. Future Tense: These verbs will take place in the future.

Past tense and present tense are the two tenses that are important for this discussion, so those are the two that we're going to focus on.

Here are some examples of present and past tense verbs. Do you notice a pattern in how they're formed?

Present Tense Past Tense
learn learned
walk walked
move moved
work worked
love loved
play played

Regular Verbs

After looking at the table above, did you notice any pattern when we changed the present tense form of a verb into the past tense? I certainly hope so! You should have noticed that all of the past tense verbs above simply added a -d or -ed to the present tense form of the verb.

Well, the definition of a regular verb is a verb that adds -d or -ed to the present tense form to make the past tense form. That's it!
This chart shows you how they are formed.

Present Tense + -d or -ed arrow Past Tense
learn + -ed arrow learned
walk + -ed arrow walked
move + -d arrow moved
work + -ed arrow worked
love + -d arrow loved
play + -ed arrow played
The word regular in its name means that we can predict what these verbs will do. They follow a pattern. They do the same thing every time they are in the past tense, so we say that they are regular.

Okay... so what are irregular verbs?

Irregular Verbs

Put all of that lovely knowledge that you just learned into action. Use what you learned above to figure out what an irregular verb is. If I looked inside your head right now, I'm sure that I would gain access to this thought process:

If a regular verb adds -d or -ed to the present tense form when making the past tense, I'll bet that an irregular verb does not do that!

Great! You're right. Here is a formal definition for you.
Irregular verbs are verbs that don't add -d or -ed to the present tense form when making the past tense.
This makes them wacky, unpredictable little things. Here are some irregular verbs.

Present Tense Past Tense
sing sang
take took
read read
drive drove
fly flew
Irregular verbs are so undisciplined that they don't follow a pattern, unlike their organized and dependable counterparts.
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