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Irregular Verbs

Bare Stem, Simple Past Tense and Past Participle are Different

by Sally Jennings

Most of these verbs must have an object after the verb which is not shown in the examples: "John begins work." "John begins his homework."

Usually the present continuous form is used more often than the simple present; "John is shaking the tree." is used more often than "John shakes the tree." For a table of verb forms click here.

Time is shown using the words (today) for the present, (yesterday) for the past, and (tomorrow) for the future.

Column One
   Bare Stem
   Use for Present Tense - for 3rd person singular only, add "s" to bare stem - singular subject (verb + s).

      John shakes (today).
      Jane shakes (today).
      He shakes (today).
      She shakes (today).
      It shakes (today).
   All others, do not add "s" to the bare stem - subject (verb).
      They shake (today).


Column Two
   Simple Past Tense - do not add anything to verb - subject (verb).

      John shook (yesterday).
      They shook (yesterday).


Column Three
   Past Participle - do not add anything to verb.

      Use for Present Perfect - subject has/have (verb), note: use "has" for 3rd person singular only, all others use "have":
         John has shaken (today). He has shaken (today).
         They have shaken (today).

      Use for Past Perfect - subject had (verb).
         John had shaken (yesterday).
         They had shaken (yesterday).

      Use for Future Perfect - subject will have (verb) (tomorrow).
         John will have shaken (tomorrow).
         They will have shaken (tomorrow).


Column One Column Two Column Three
Bare Stem Simple Past Tense Past Participle
Present Tense
add "s" only for 3rd person singular
He (verb + s) (today).
They (verb) (today).
He (verb) (yesterday).
It (verb) (yesterday).
They (verb) (yesterday).
He has (verb). It has (verb).
They have (verb).
He had (verb) (yesterday).
He will have (verb) (tomorrow).
bear bore borne
beat beat beaten
become became become
begin began begun
bite bit bitten
blow blew blown
break broke broken
choose chose chosen
come came come
dive dove/dived dived
draw drew drawn
drive drove driven
drink drank drunk
eat ate eaten
fall fell fallen
fly flew flown
forbid forbade (archaic) forbidden
forget forgot forgotten
forgive forgave forgiven
freeze froze frozen
get got gotten
give gave given
grow grew grown
hide hid hidden
know knew known
lie lay lain
mistake mistook mistaken
overcome overcame overcome
overtake overtook overtaken
overthrow overthrew overthrown
prove proved proven/proved
ride rode ridden
ring rang rung
rise rose risen
run ran run
saw sawed sawn/sawed
see saw seen
sew sewed sewn/sewed
shake shook shaken
shave shaved shaven/shaved
show showed shown/showed
shrink shrank shrunk
sing sang sung
sink sank sunk
slay slew (archaic) slain
speak spoke spoken
spit spit/spat spit
spring sprang sprung
steal stole stolen
stink stank stunk
stride strode stridden
strive strove striven
swear swore sworn
swell swelled swollen
swim swam swum
take took taken
tear tore torn
thrive thrived thrived
throw threw thrown
tread trod trodden
wake woke woken
wear wore worn
weave wove/weaved woven
write wrote written

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