What Is the Past Form of a Verb? (with Examples)

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What Is the Past Form of a Verb? (with Examples)

The past form is one of five verb forms in English. It is the form used to show the simple past tense.

There is no simple rule for creating the past form of a verb. It depends on whether the verb is regular or irregular. Regular verbs form their past forms by adding -ed or –d. (There are some spelling rules to consider too.) Irregular verbs form their past forms in a number of ways.

The Past Form of Regular Verbs

Below are some examples of past forms of regular verbs:

Base FormPast FormComment
help helped -ed added
dance danced -d added
tally tallied -ed added but spelling rule applied
(change y to i)
allot allotted -ed added but spelling rule applied
(double the last consonant if the verb ends [consonant-vowel-consonant] and is end stressed)

Read more about the spelling rules for creating the past forms of regular verbs.

The Past Form of Irregular Verbs

Below are some examples of past forms of irregular verbs:

Base FormPast FormComment
set set past form same as the base form
dig dug past form has a vowel change from the base form
seek sought past form is completely different from the base from

The Five Verb Forms

The table below shows the five verb forms in English.

Verb Type The Base Form
(also "Simple Form" or "Uninflected Form")
The 3rd Person Singular Present Tense Form
(also "The -s Form")
Past Form
(also "The Past Tense Form")
The Present Participle Form
(also "The –ing From")
The Past Participle Form
Regular play plays played playing played
Regular use uses used using used
Regular marry marries married marrying married
Irregular bring brings brought bringing brought
Irregular run runs ran running run
Irregular fall falls fell falling fallen
Irregular drink drinks drank drinking drunk
 
 


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