The majority of English verbs are regular. They have four different forms:
- base form: the form found in a dictionary
- -s form: used in the singular third person, present tense
- -ed form: used for the past tense and past participle
- -ing form: used for the present participle
Exercises With Regular Verbs:
- Building an Essay With Regular and Irregular Verbs
- Exercise in Combining Sentences With Regular Verbs
- Verb Tense Exercise: Completing and Combining Sentences With Regular Verbs
- Forming the Past Tense of Regular Verbs
- Ten Quick Questions and Answers About Verbs and Verbals in English
- What Is the Difference Between a Weak Verb and a Strong Verb?
Examples and Observations:
- "If I have a thousand ideas and only one turns out to be good, I am satisfied."
- "I've searched all the parks in all the cities and found no statues of committees."
(Gilbert K. Chesterton)
- "I had no idea of the character [of the Tramp]. But the moment I was dressed, the clothes and the make-up made me feel the person he was. I began to know him, and by the time I walked onto the stage he was fully born."
- "For a long time now I have tried simply to write the best I can. Sometimes I have good luck and write better than I can."
- "Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better."
- "Creationists make it sound as though a 'theory' is something you dreamt up after being drunk all night."
- "If I talked about Watergate, I was described as struggling to free myself from the morass. If I did not talk about Watergate, I was accused of being out of touch with reality."
(Richard M. Nixon)
- The Forms of Regular Verbs
- "English verbs come in two flavors. Regular verbs have past tense forms that look like the verb with -ed on the end: Today I jog, yesterday I jogged. They are monotonously predictable: jog-jogged, walk-walked, play-played, kiss-kissed, and so on. (Regular nouns, whose plurals end in -s, such as cats and dogs, are similar.) The list of regular verbs is open-ended. There are thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of regular verbs in English (depending on how big a dictionary you consult), and new ones are being added to the language all the time. When fax came into common parlance . . . no one had to inquire about its past-tense form; everyone knew it was faxed. Similarly, when other words enter the language such as spam (flood with E-mail), snarf (download a file), mung (damage something), mosh (dance in roughhouse fashion), and Bork (challenge a political nominee for partisan reasons), the past-tense forms do not need separate introductions: We all deduce that they are spammed, snarfed, munged, moshed, and Borked."
(Steven Pinker, Words and Rules. Basic, 1999)
- "The typical verb has an inflectional paradigm of consisting of either four or five forms. . . . Here are some examples:
fix, fixes, fixed, fixed, fixingThe first item in each of these lists (fix, grow) is the base form; the others are inflected. The actual changes from the base form to the inflected forms are different in the two lists.
grow, grows, grew, grown, growing
"The pattern of variation shown in the top list is that which occurs for the vast majority of English verbs. For this reason it is known as the regular pattern, and the verbs that inflect like this are called regular verbs. In the regular pattern, there is no difference between the third and the fourth items. . . .
"Regular verbs always form their inflected forms by means of adding the standard suffixes to an unvarying stem. Further examples of regular verbs are:
try, tries, tried, tried, tryingAlthough there are various minor complexities about the spelling and the spoken forms of these words, they are all perfectly predictable--for instance, the change from try to tri- or from skid to skidd-, or the different spoken forms of the suffixes in tries (with a /z/ sound) and looks (with an /s/ sound). These are automatic adjustments of the basic elements.
skid, skids, skidded, skidded, skidding
"But irregular inflected forms are quite different. . . ."
(David J. Young, Introducing English Grammar. Hutchinson, 1984)
- Modern English Morphology
"Of the hundreds of strong (irregular) verbs in Old English, relatively few survive in Modern English. Of those that do, many are now inflected as regular verbs. One tally suggests that of the 333 strong verbs of Old English, only 68 continue as irregular verbs in Modern English. Among those that have become regular over the centuries are burned, brewed, climbed, flowed, helped, and walked. By contrast, slightly more than a dozen weak verbs have become irregular in the history of English, including dive, which has developed a past-tense form dove alongside the historical form dived. You may also have heard drug for dragged, as its use seems to be increasing. Among other verbs that are now irregular but were formerly regular are wear, spit, and dig, with their newer past forms wore, spat, and dug."
(Edward Finegan, Language: Its Structure and Use, 6th ed. Wadsworth, 2012)