In March and August of this year I published the first two installments of my mini-series on the use and abuse of irregular verbs in English. Here’s the third installment:
The English language is famous (or infamous!) for its many irregular verbs. For irregular verbs, most dictionaries list all of the irregular forms along with the base form of the verb. If you aren’t sure whether a verb is regular or irregular, and the dictionary only lists the base form, you can assume it is a regular verb. Following is a list of some of the most common irregular verbs (beginning with letters h to r), along with a usage example for each tense.
For each verb, the three forms listed are: Base Form, Past Tense, and Past Participle.
hang (as in “to suspend”), hung, hung
– Please hang the picture on that far wall.
– We hung our coats in the front closet.
– I would have hung it there, had I known about that.
hang (as in “to execute”), hung, hung
– They plan to hang him at high noon.
– They were hung together, on the same gallows.
– Ten years ago, he would have been hung for that crime.
have, had, had
– I believe I have what it takes.
– Last month I had the measles.
– They would have had it if you had gone there.
hear, heard, heard
– I can hear them coming.
– We heard a loud noise just before the jet flew over.
– By the time we got there he had already heard about it.
hide, hid, hidden
– They can hide in the woods.
– I hid the black bag behind the barn.
– We didn’t see him because he was too well hidden.
hurt, hurt, hurt
– I need help because my leg is hurt.
– I hurt my back while moving the wood.
– Any more weight and he would have been hurt very badly.
keep, kept, kept
– I will keep the letter it in my desk.
– She kept going until she was exhausted.
– We would have kept them there all night if necessary.
know, knew, known
– I know how we can get there.
– They knew immediately that it was wrong.
– Had I known about that I would have changed the setting.
lay (is in “to put”), laid, laid
– He will lay it on the counter until the clerk arrives.
– She laid her coat on the sofa while waiting.
– Had we known, we would have laid them out on the table in advance.
lead (as in “move” or “do”), led, led
– I will lead the procession, and you can follow me.
– We led them all the way back to the camp.
– He would have led the rally if he hadn’t been badly injured.
lend, lent, lent
– He will lend you his golf clubs.
– I lent my car to him for the weekend.
– Once that was done, he lent me his special tools.
let (as in “allow”), let, let
– I’m willing to let it go this time.
– We let them in through the back gate.
– By the time that happens, I will have already let them in.
lie (as in “to recline”), lay, lain
– I will lie down for half an hour and rest.
– Snow lay on the ground. The desert lay before us.
– Had I known better, I would have lain it down for a moment.
lose, lost, lost
– I’m afraid I might lose my nerve.
– They were lost in the mountains for three days.
– He would have lost them, had he taken that route.
make, made, made
– I plan to make the table out of steel and wood.
– We made our way there by bus and train.
– Had he not given me that, I would have made my own shelter.
prove, proved, proved/proven
– That will prove my client’s innocence.
– He proved it beyond the shadow of a doubt.
– Except for that fact, he would have proven/proved his case.
read, read, read
– I will read them the riot act when I get there.
– We read him his rights before arresting him.
– I would have read it more closely, had I known.
ride, rode, ridden
– She plans to ride the red bike in the parade.
– The last time I rode a horse I was thrown to the ground.
– Given the chance, I would have ridden that motorcycle home.
ring, rang, rung
– Let’s ring the bell right now.
– When he scored, the buzzer rang.
– If I had known at the time, I would have rung the alarm.
rise (as in “get up”), rose, risen
– We plan to rise at the crack of dawn.
– She really rose to the occasion.
– By that point, the water had risen to a height of eight feet.
run, ran, run
– I run three miles every day as part of my fitness routine.
– When I worked there, I ran the cement mixer. I ran home in a hurry.
– By the time they arrived, we had run out of options.
The simple examples given above are provided to show how these verbs can be used in typical situations using the base form, the past tense, and the past participle.
To see my previous blog posts on common irregular verbs, please check: March 2014 (letters “a” to “c”), and August 2014 (letters “d” to “g”).
I will be posting additional articles in this irregular verbs series in the future.
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