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What are some examples of irregular verbs?

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Quick Answer

The words "be," "fall," "swim," "bring" and "write" are common examples of irregular verbs. Regular verbs end in "d" or "ed" when in past tense, but irregular verbs have their own distinct forms for past tense and past participles. For example, the past tense of "write" is "wrote," and the past participle is "written." The past tense of "fall" is "fell," and the past participle is "fallen."

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Full Answer

More than 250 irregular verbs exist in the English language, so native speakers typically memorize them to avoid misspelling common words. "To be" is one of the most frequently used irregular verbs, and its past-tense form changes, depending on whether the subject is singular or plural. In the sentence, "She was the captain," the subject, "she," is singular, so the past-tense verb becomes "was." In the sentence, "They were the captains," the subject is plural, so the verb becomes "were."

Knowing irregular verbs is also necessary for writing grammatically correct sentences in perfect tenses. For example, the past participle of "be" is "been," as in this sentence: "She had been captain before the vote." The present perfect is "has/have been," and the future perfect is "will have been." Irregular verbs with the same root spelling don't automatically follow the same pattern. For example, the past-tense and past-participle forms of "light" are both "lit," while "fight" becomes "fought."

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