Irregular VerbsA list of irregular verbs in English with notes and conjugation information
What Are Irregular Verbs?
Regular verbs follow a standard conjugation pattern, with the past tense and past participle forms both taking the suffix -ed:
to create / created / (have) created
to listen / listened / (have) listened
to look / looked / (have) looked
Irregular verbs do not follow this pattern. Their past tense and past participle forms may not take the suffix -ed, and these forms may also be different from each other. They do not necessarily follow a predictable pattern. And for many irregular verbs, there is more than one accepted past tense and/or past participle form:
to do / did / (have) done
to feel / felt / (have) felt
to see / saw / (have) seen
There are so many frequently used irregular verbs in English that regular speakers of the language are used to conjugating them without thinking. However, errors are quite common, especially with more obscure verbs that we don’t encounter very often, so it is helpful to be able to look these verbs up when we’re not sure of the correct form.
About This List
The list on this page is a more or less comprehensive list of irregular verbs in contemporary American English. Some of these verbs are less commonly used than others, of course, but you may encounter all of them in your reading. I put this list together very carefully to ensure its accuracy, but please let me know if you find anything you think may be incorrect. For verbs with more than one acceptable form, the most common form is listed first, with archaic, rarely used, or questionable forms in parentheses. (In some cases, more than one form is quite common, but when in doubt, use the first form listed.) Special attention should be paid to verbs marked with an asterisk, which are commonly used verbs that for various reasons tend to give students some difficulty.
In your writing, keep in mind that for verbs with both traditional irregular forms and regular forms (e.g., dreamt vs. dreamed), the traditional form tends to convey a greater sense of formality, antiquity, and poetry, while the regular form conveys informality, modernity, and colloquiality, as in everyday conversation—and perhaps more Americanness as well.
In the list below, the first form given for each verb is the infinitive form (without to), followed by the past tense form and the past participle form. (The easiest way to distinguish the past participle form is to mentally add have or has before it.) Present tense and present participle forms almost always follow the regular conjugation pattern, so they are not listed here.
A – B
bidden, bid (bade)
C – E
cleave (“to adhere, stick”)
cleaved, clove (clave)
cleave (“to split”)
cleaved (cleft, clove)
cleaved (cleft, cloven)
F – J
*found (“to establish”)
*hang (“to kill by hanging”)
K – Q
lie (“to tell an untruth”)
*lie (“to rest or recline”)
pleaded, pled (plead)
pled, pleaded (plead)
 Don’t confuse to awake with the regular verb to awaken.
 To be is the only verb in English with singular and plural past tense forms. It is also noteworthy in that it has three present tense forms: is (singular), are (plural), and am (used with the subject “I.”)
 When used in the passive voice to mean “given birth to,” born is far more common: “She was born on November 7th, 1971.” This also holds true for its common use as an attributive adjective: “American-born,” “born of experience,” etc. In the active voice, however, as in other uses of the word, borne is far more common: “She has borne three children.”
 In this verb’s most common use, in the phrase “to bide one’s time,” bided is more widely used.
 Cleft is the standard form in the expression “cleft palate.”
 Although to drown is a regular verb, its similarity to verbs like known and drawn may cause confusion.
 Although to found is a regular verb, it is sometimes confused with to find.
 Although lie in this sense is a regular verb, it is included here to make the distinction between the different conjugation patterns clear.
 Pent is not normally used as a verb, but it is used quite commonly as an adjective in the expression “pent up.” According to some sources, it is not a form of to pen at all, but a form of the obsolete verb to pend.
 The usage of podcast may not be fully established because it is a relatively new word, but its conjugation pattern seems to follow that of all of the verbs that end in –cast (e.g., broadcast).
 My experience suggests that although the form quitted is sometimes used to mean left, as in “quitted the room” (but not “quitted my job”), it is rarely used in other senses of the word.
R – Sh
saw (“to cut with a saw”)
Si – Sp
St – T
U – Z
wind (“to coil”)
 Be sure to pronounce this as “sed,” not “sayed.”
 Shone is the correct form to use for all intransitive uses of the word: “the stars shone brightly,” “his face shone with excitement.” Strictly speaking, shined should only be used in the sense of to polish, as in “he shined my shoes,” although you may hear it commonly used in other senses, such as “shined the flashlight on me.”
 Normally, slayed only occurs in the more informal usage “to greatly amuse,” as in “the comedian slayed the audience.”
 Spilt is still quite common as an attributive adjective, as in “spilt milk.”
 Stricken is common as an adjective: “guilt-stricken parents,” “disease-stricken populace.”
 As an adjective, swollen is much more common than swelled: “swollen gums.”
 Don’t confuse this verb with the regular verb that is pronounced /teer/ and means “to fill with tears.”
 The usage of webcast may not be fully established because it is a relatively new word, but its conjugation pattern seems to follow that of all of the verbs that end in –cast (e.g., broadcast).