So each verb has the base form (V1) which is used in present simple, the past simple (V2) and the past participle (V3).

For example:

V1: allow (I allow you to leave early)
V2: allowed (I allowed you to leave early)
V3: allowed (I have allowed you to leave early)

In the regular verb, the V2 and V3 are the same.

In irregular verbs, the V2 and V3 are often different, for example:

V1: eat
V2: ate
V3: eaten

V1: take
V2: took
V3: taken

The question is, do all regular verbs have the same form for V2 and V3? I can't think of any verbs that don't simply add the -ed suffix for both forms. I'm a native speaker, but I'm teaching this grammar tomorrow and want to check.

  • 1
    Yes, that is why they are regular. – Lambie Mar 11 '19 at 18:51
  • Cheers! That's all I wanted to know, so I can accept that if you write it in an answer, haha. – Lou Mar 11 '19 at 18:52
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    Well, bear in mind, there are a FEW, which have both regular and irregular forms. Give me a minute. :) They are special cases. Learn, learned, learned OR learn, learnt, learnt [mostly UK but not only] – Lambie Mar 11 '19 at 18:53
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    True, but the V2 and V3 is still the same, whether it's irregular or regular :). I just wanted to be able to confidently make the claim that "For all regular verbs, the past simple and past participle are the same," and for there not to be an awkward exception! I couldn't think of any exceptions. – Lou Mar 11 '19 at 18:56
  • Don't forget the invariables. – Lambie Mar 11 '19 at 20:00

Regular verbs add ed in the past and for the past participle, which is why they are called regular verbs.

walk, walked, walked

However, there are some that have two forms:

  • learn, learned, learned
  • learn, learnt, learnt [some say mostly UK]
  • spell, spelled, spelled
  • spell, spelt, spelt [some say mostly UK]
  • dream, dreamt, dreamt [some say mostly UK]
  • burn, burned, burned or burnt, burnt [some say mostly UK].

There are others but I cannot give you a complete list here since I would have to compile it.

However, for some adjectives, you get: Burnt toast, for instance.

This whole issue can get very sticky:

creep, crept, crept [creeped is gaining acceptance. :(]

However, as a teacher, I would not teach it as standard.

  • Prove – proved – proved / proven, dive – dived / (AmE) dove – dived, cleave – cleaved / clove / cleft – cleaved / cloven / cleft, hew – hewed – hewed / hewn. – user3395 Mar 11 '19 at 19:23
  • Those are some interesting counter-examples, @userr2684291. It looks like "proven" is an irregular past participle, "dived" is becoming a regular past simple (whereas previously it was irregular,) cleave has both a regular and irregular past simple and past participle, and a regular and irregular past simple, and hew has an irregular past participle. – Lou Mar 11 '19 at 19:34
  • @userr2684291 I said I was not compiling a list. If you want to, be my guest. – Lambie Mar 11 '19 at 19:47

As English only has one recognised verb pattern, and that one pattern has the past participle and simple past being different, then by definition any verb that doesn't have them the same is irregular, and any verb that is regular has the same form in the past simple and the past participle. If you look at tables of verbs, you will see some patterns (though not perfectly consistent), that relate to the different origins of words in different languages, or similar journeys of development in the English language.

For example, some don't change between infinitive, simple past and past participle, such as bet:

I bet you can't eat that whole steak.
I bet someone they couldn't eat a whole steak last week, and now I have no money.
I have bet on some stupid things.

And there are verbs who experience a vowel shift between infinitive and simple past, and then add -n or -en to form the past participle:

You should just forget about her.
I forgot all about my exam!
I've forgotten more than you know.

How much are you going to take from me?
He took all I had and I got nothing in return.
What do you want now? You've taken everything!

What can I give you to make you go away?
I gave you all that I had, now what?
What I have been given, I have tried to use wisely.

(Note that the -en ending might be added to the past tense form or the infinitive form.)

Knowing about these other patterns can help when you come across an unfamiliar irregular verb.

Also note that this is actually the most common form of irregularity in English verbs. Really irregular verbs like to be are much less common.

  • 1
    You simply do not answer the question. – Lambie Mar 11 '19 at 19:16
  • @SamBC, you have misunderstood the question. I'm aware of the difference between irregular and regular verbs. My question is whether the past simple form and the past participle form of a regular verb is always the same, which you have not addressed. – Lou Mar 11 '19 at 19:21
  • I answered it in the first sentence, but I've clarified. – SamBC Mar 11 '19 at 19:24
  • 1
    Ah, that wasn't clear to me. I've retracted my downvote as you do indeed answer the question. – Lou Mar 11 '19 at 19:31

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