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Irregular Verbs

Regular verbs in English consist of a base verb from which all different tenses can easily be formed. For example, the verb "to learn": present tense: learn; continuous present tense: learning, perfect tense and past tense: learned. As you see, all tenses of the regular verb "to learn" can be formed by adding the endings -ing and -ed.


English irregular verbs, however, have no definite rules, and although some irregular verbs have certain patterns in common, the best way to learn them is by looking at each individual verb. Let's look at the irregular verb "begin" in its simple present tense as an example.


Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off,

and begin again the work of remaking America.

Captions 26-27, Barack Obama's Inauguration Day - Obama's Speech

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As you see, in the simple present tense it remains the same. But in the present continuous tense:


It's beginning to turn into a lovely red color!

Caption 28, Tara's Recipes - Chilli Prawns and Golden Couscous

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Just like a regular verb, this irregular verb adds -ing, but with an extra '"n": However, in the past tense:


She got a fright when the clock suddenly began to strike twelve.

Caption 15, Yabla Fairy Tales - Cinderella

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The base verb "begin" changes to "began." And as a past participle:


Bottled water sales have begun to drop.

Caption 67, Nature Preservation - The Story of Bottled Water

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The base verb "begin" changes to "begun."



Further Learning
Take a look at this list of English irregular verb forms, and search Yabla English for some of your favorite English irregular verbs to see them used in a real-world context.

Grammar Verbs

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