Sergey Sulimov


Sergey Sulimov


The English verb and its three forms

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You are faced with verb forms in the different tenses almost from the learning English very beginning. Here is the Past Simple, and it says, “You will find the irregular verb forms in the table, you have to learn them”. There are about 1000 irregular verbs, but you don’t have to learn them all. It’s not that bad, especially as there are a few tricks for easier memorization.

The regular verbs three forms

First, let’s find out what these forms are and why they are needed. An English verb three forms are the Infinitive, the Past tense and the Past Participle. You need to know these forms to be able to change verbs by tenses. The second comes in handy when you work with the Past and the third comes in handy when you meet the Perfect tenses. The third is also useful for the passive voice, and as a participle.

The next thing you need to know: English verbs are divided into regular and irregular. With the first ones, it’s easy – in the second and third forms, you just have to add -ed:

  • play — played — played (играть);
  • cry — cried — cried (кричать);
  • stop — stopped — stopped (останавливаться).

The base in this case remains the same; the last letter may be changed according to the rules:

y changes to –i after a consonant — study → studied;

in monosyllabic verbs, the consonant at the end after one vowel is doubled — plan → planned;

if the verb ends with – e, is added only –d — dance → danced.

The irregular verbs forms

There are the most common verbs about 200 in the English language. Those all are worth learning if you want to be at an advanced level. About 50 are enough for basic use. To make it easier for you to memorise them all, we will divide them into groups based on the second and third forms common characteristics.

All three forms are the same

Это самая легкая для заучивания группа. Такие глаголы еще называются неизменяемыми:

  • bet — bet — bet (делать ставки);
  • cost — cost — cost (стоить);
  • cut — cut — cut (резать);
  • hit — hit — hit (ударить);
  • hurt — hurt — hurt (причинять боль);
  • let — let — let (позволять);
  • put — put — put (положить);
  • shut — shut — shut (закрывать).

Some two forms are matched

Several subgroups may be distinguished in this group. The first (the smallest) – in which the infinitive and the simple past tense coincide, e.g.,

  • beat — beat — beaten (ударить).

The next sub-group is verbs composed in which the first and the third forms, i.e., the infinitive and the past participle, coincide.

  • come — came — come (приходить);
  • run — ran — run (бежать)
  • become — became — become (становиться).

In the third sub-group, the second and the third forms, i.e., the past tense and the past participle, coincide. These verbs are the most common amongst the irregular verbs, which the two forms overlap. For example, get – got – got., stand — stood — stood (стоять). In addition, they, too, can be further divided along similar lines.

With an ending in –t

  • burn — burnt — burnt (гореть, жечь);
  • dream — dreamt — dreamt (видеть сны, мечтать);
  • feel — felt — felt (чувствовать);
  • keep — kept — kept (хранить).

With an ending in –ught

  • bring — brought — brought (приносить);
  • buy — bought — bought (покупать);
  • catch — caught — caught (ловить);
  • fight — fought — fought (сражаться);
  • teach — taught — taught (учить);
  • think — thought — thought (думать).

When the final -d is changed to –t

  • build — built — built (строить);
  • send — sent — sent (посылать, отправлять);
  • spend — spent — spent (тратить).

When -i is changed to –ou

  • bind — bound — bound (связывать);
  • find — found — found (находить);
  • wind — wound — wound (вить).

When -i is changed to -u

  • dig — dug —  dug (копать);
  • stick — stuck —  stuck (втыкать,  липнуть);
  • sting — stung — stung (жалить);
  • swing — swung — swung (раскачивать).

When -ell is changed to -old

  • tell — told — told (говорить);
  • sell — sold — sold (продавать).

When -ea is read differently

In this category we put verbs in which all three forms are written similarly, the vowels combination in the root is the same, but the reading is different: in the infinitive it is the same, and in the second and third forms it is different:

  • deal — dealt — dealt (иметь дело);
  • mean — meant — meant (иметь в виду);
  • read — read — read (читать);
  • hear — heard — heard (слышать).

In the first three words [i:] is changed to [ɛ] and in the last one [ɪə] is changed to [ɜ:].

All forms are different

Finally, an irregular verb last variation is when not all three forms coincide. Although there are some general principles for the form’s formation here too..

Vowel alternation i-a-u

  • begin — began — begun (начинать);
  • drink — drank — drunk (пить);
  • ring — rang — rung (звонить);
  • sing — sang — sung (петь);
  • sink — sank — sunk (тонуть);
  • swim — swam — swum (плавать).

The vowel -o appears

In the second and third forms, the vowel -o appears in the word root, replacing another letter in the infinitive:

  • break — broke — broken (ломать);
  • choose — chose — chosen (выбирать);
  • forget — forgot — forgotten (забывать);
  • freeze — froze — frozen (замерзать, замораживать);
  • speak — spoke — spoken (разговаривать);
  • steal — stole — stolen (красть)4
  • wake — woke — woken (будить).

The letter -i changes to -o in the second form

  • drive — drove — driven (вести автомобиль);
  • ride — rode — ridden (ехать верхом);
  • write — wrote — written (писать).

The -ew and -own alternation

In the second form, -ew appears in the root of the word, and in the third form – own:

  • blow — blew — blown (дуть);
  • grow — grew — grown (расти);
  • fly — flew — flown (лететь);
  • know — knew — known (знать).

Other cases

  • be — was/were — been (быть);
  • do — did — done (делать);
  • have — had — had (иметь);
  • go — went — gone (ходить);
  • bite — bit — bitten (кусать);
  • hide — hid — hidden (прятать);
  • eat — ate — eaten (есть);
  • fall — fell — fallen (падать);
  • give — gave — given (давать);
  • take — took — taken (брать);
  • make — made — made (делать).

And a little more about irregular verbs

Note that above are mostly simple verbs (without prefixes). If you add a prefix to a verb, it will change in the same way as its variant without the prefix.

Such verbs examples: give — forgive, get — forget, stand — understand, withstand, tell — fortell.

I gave you a book a month ago. Please return it. — Я дал тебе книгу месяц назад, верни ее, пожалуйста.

I forgave you yesterday. — Я простил тебя еще вчера.

Learn irregular verbs and use them correctly in speech. You can find other patterns that make more sense to you and learn English verbs in the order you like.

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