As I know that in regular verbs we put 'ed' and in irregular verb we do not put 'ed' while changing it into the past or past participle.

But for anyone who does not know about the 2nd and 3rd form of verb, how should he/she know that word is a regular or irregular verb?

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    What is it that you call the “2nd and 3rd form” of verbs? Verbal forms don’t generally have numbers … Commented Jun 4, 2014 at 18:06
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    Probly past and participle: go, went, gone; be, was, been; have, had, had; walk, walked, walked; etc. Commented Jun 4, 2014 at 18:07
  • I asked you about those numbers in an earlier question as well, user78248... But to know whether a verb is regular or not, you can consult a dictionary. Most of them do mention the base forms of verbs.
    – oerkelens
    Commented Jun 4, 2014 at 18:08
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    There's no way of knowing whether forget becomes forgetted or forgot/forgotten without learning that (or looking it up) -- there's nothing in the verb itself which dictates it. And analogy with get doesn't completely help in BrE, which doesn't have gotten. Commented Jun 4, 2014 at 18:08
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    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about learning the very most rudimentary rules of basic English and therefore belongs on ELL instead, not on a site devoted to professional linguists, etymologists, and serious language enthusiasts.
    – tchrist
    Commented Jun 4, 2014 at 19:50

1 Answer 1


Good question. The answer is that irregular means 'not following the rules'.

In this case, the "rules" are for the regular verbs, and they say

  1. The past form and the participle form of regular verbs are the same
    (i.e, "2nd form" = "3rd form")
  2. These forms of regular verbs add "-ed"
    (sometimes spelt differently).

So irregular verbs must violate those rules, which means either

  1. they don't use "-ed", or
  2. they have three forms instead of two.

Any dictionary will give the forms of a verb, but only in code. Here's the key:

  1. if the dictionary indicates that the past form is "-ed", or "-d" or "-t",
    or if it's a special form like spent, where "d" changes to t,
    or if there is no participle form given,
    then it's regular
  2. if the dictionary gives three forms (like sing, sang, sung),
    or no verb form ends in "d" or "t" (like wear, wore, worn),
    then it's irregular.

Plus, there are very few irregular verbs, and they follow common patterns, and they occur often.
Which means you can learn them from a list, like this one.

  • Thnx for this, I will try this method to make my students understand about regular and irregular verbs
    – user78248
    Commented Jun 4, 2014 at 18:36
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    One thing I didn't mention; regular verbs are sometimes called "weak verbs" and irregular "strong". Then there are "irregular weak verbs", like spell, spelt, spelt that don't have three forms, but use an irregular allomorph of the regular past morpheme. The distinction is clearer in German, where all strong verbs have a past participle form ending in "-en"(singen, sang, gesungen), while all weak verbs have a past participle form ending in "-t" (meinen, meinte, gemeint). Marking is very useful in inflected languages. Commented Jun 4, 2014 at 19:16
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    This seems an extreme simplification. Claiming English has 200 patternlessly irregular verbs is like claiming 900 in Spanish. Neither is useful. Apart from verbs subjected to suppletion (be, go), almost all verbs called “irregular” in a simplistic or synchronic analysis become “differently regular” in a broader or diachronic one, where other, more subtle patterns appear. That native speakers are passively aware of these deeper patterns can be shown in the creation of new strong verb inflections like dove and snuck.
    – tchrist
    Commented Jun 4, 2014 at 19:27
  • Of course that's true. However, I suggest that this is way too complicated for kids being introduced to English grammar. Especially if they're not native speakers; native speakers have all soaked this up and don't need lists, only correct description. Commented Jun 4, 2014 at 19:30
  • Thnx for ur this great information it will help me
    – user78248
    Commented Jun 4, 2014 at 19:35

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