Yes. Let’s be honest. Irregular verbs may be a real pain in the neck for English learners. Many of them may seem nonsense and difficult to memorize.
However, as you move towards mastering the English language, you will find out that irregular verbs are not that bad. How so? Well, there are some advantages this language holds against others. And, even though it may seem hard at first, you’ll notice that it’s actually not that bad.
That is why we have prepared some methods for you to practice and learn English irregular verbs. In this way, you will learn and memorize them without much effort. You can choose the one that suits you best, or combine them!
But, before we jump into our advice on how to learn English irregular verbs, there’s something you need to remember. Mastering a language takes time and effort. These are just ways to make it as easy as possible for you. It’s not magic, but studying techniques.
Irregular verbs are those actions in English that don’t follow a pattern, as regular verbs do. Unlike regular verbs, they change either wholly or partially when conjugated in the simple past or past participle tenses.
To understand this more clearly, let’s take some examples of regular verbs. You’ll notice that, even though they follow this pattern we mentioned before, they also hold some spelling rules to favor pronunciation. Take a look at these verbs:
This chart shows the four possible rules for regular verbs as regards spelling. The first thing you may have noticed is that both simple past and past participle tenses are the same. That’s part of the pattern regular verbs follow.
But, if you look closer, you’ll also notice that not all of them follow the same rules. Depending on how they are spelled in the infinitive, we need to do some slight modifications. These are due to pronunciation rules in English. But we’ll deal with these rules in another article.
We want to clarify here why we call some verbs regular and others irregular in English. Later on, you’ll see that irregular verbs are pretty different from the examples above. And that is why they are more challenging to memorize for English learners.
Now that we know what regular verbs are, we can go on with our main goal here. Why are they called irregular verbs, and how can we easily memorize them? We said it’s a challenging task. But a challenge is far from being impossible.
As we said before, irregular verbs suffer either a partial or complete modification when conjugated into the simple past or past participle tenses. To set this more clearly, let’s see some examples:
|Infinitive||Simple Past||Past Participle|
By now, you may be thinking: “are you serious?”. Well, yes, I am. Irregular verbs change their infinitive form in the most peculiar ways. And this is what makes it challenging for English learners to memorize them.
Irregular verbs have no specific rules. It may have been that, some time ago, there were some spelling rules for them. But that changed in time. And now, we have to deal with them just the way they are.
Still, fear not, my fellow English learners. We said we had some tips for you, and we took that commitment very seriously. Learning irregular verbs may not seem an easy task. But these tips will help you memorize them.
The first thing you need to apply these methods is an irregular verbs list, as you may have imagined. If you don’t have one, you can ask your English teacher at Inmersivo, Empointe’s learning platform, for one.
Learning and memorizing irregular verbs takes time and effort from you. If you come to think about it, it’s very much like practicing a sport. Even though it may seem a long way from day one, in time, you’ll see the difference.
Remember when you were a child, and you had to learn something for school? How did you do that? Was it all at once, or little by little? When it comes to memorizing something, the best way to do so is to take baby steps.
Take your list of irregular verbs and paste it somewhere you see every day. It could be on the door of your fridge, the mirror in the bathroom, or your computer screen. Each day after getting up, choose five verbs.
During the rest of your day, repeat those verbs in your head whenever you have some spare time. On the bus, while having lunch, or when walking to school. Repeat them in groups: first the infinitive, then the simple past, and finally, the past participle.
By the end of the week, you will have easily memorized 25 verbs and their conjugations. That is 75 English words in just a week. Pretty impressive, right? And I’m being a good person, and giving you weekends off!
Once you start memorizing your first group of five irregular verbs, apply them. Build sentences using different tenses. Force yourself to do so without the list.
You can look for online exercises or ask your English teacher at Inmersivo to give you personalized ones. In this way, you will practice what you have been studying.
Another way to practice them is to build sentences on your own. As you learn the different conjugations, you will also learn their translation in your own language. Invent sentences, and ask your teacher if they are correct.
Once you feel you have memorized and correctly applied your first group of five irregular verbs, you can go on to the next group. Do this constantly. It won’t take much time, and you will benefit from it.
You can look for the verbs you have already learned. Do it whenever you listen to music or read anything in English (because reading is a great way to practice your English!). Identify them, and see how people apply them.
Learn from what you read or listen to in English. Take advantage of the various available content, both online and offline.
If you dare, you can also get new verbs from songs, books, or articles. Identify them, and look them up. If you see they’re irregular, look for the correct conjugation and add them to your daily repetition.
There are about 200 irregular verbs in English. That’s a lot. Consequently, you may feel frustrated at first. Well, don’t. It’s almost impossible to learn all irregular verbs in English in a week or so.
Instead, if you ever feel upset because you can’t see any progress, look back at what you’ve acquired. This is a gradual process, and the more it takes, the better it will stay in your head.
We know how difficult it may be to learn irregular verbs. But we also know how important they are to master the English language. So calm down; time and practice will take you to success.
Learning English irregular verbs is a big step towards mastering the English language. Even though it may seem a complex task, it’s not impossible. You will benefit from it, as you will also correctly apply them to the different English tenses you learn.
If you need any help while doing so, you can ask your English teacher at Inmersvio, Empointe’s learning platform. Remember to subscribe to our weekly newsletter to receive more updates like this. Thank you for reading, see you next time!