Regular Verbs

by Craig Shrives

What Are Regular Verbs? (with Examples)

A regular verb is one that conforms to the usual rule for forming its simple past tense and its past participle.

In English, the "usual" rule is to add "-ed" or "-d" to the base form of the verb to create the past forms.
regular and irregular verbs

Regular Verbs Test

Use the buttons to form the past tense and then the participle of the regular verb shown.
Regular Verb
Past Tense Past Participle

Spelling Rules for Creating the Past Forms of Regular Verbs

For regular verbs, the "simple past tense" and "past particle" are formed like this:

Add "ed" to most verbs:
  • jump > jumped
  • paint > painted
If a verb of one syllable ends [consonant-vowel-consonant], double the final consonant and add "ed":
  • chat > chatted
  • stop > stopped
If the final consonant is "w," "x," or "y," don't double it:
  • sew > sewed
  • play > played
  • fix > fixed
If the last syllable of a longer verb is stressed and ends [consonant-vowel-consonant], double the last consonant and add "ed":
  • incur > incurred
  • prefer > preferred
If the first syllable of a longer verb is stressed and the verb ends [consonant-vowel-consonant], just add "ed":
  • open > opened
  • enter > entered
  • swallow > swallowed
If the verb ends "e," just add "d":
  • thrive > thrived
  • guzzle > guzzled
If the verb ends [consonant + "y"], change the "y" to an "i" and add "ed":
  • cry > cried
  • fry > fried

Comparing Regular Verbs to Irregular Verbs

Regular verbs contrast with irregular verbs, which form their simple past tenses and past participles in a variety of ways.

With a regular verb, the simple past tense and the past participle are the same. For example:
Base FormSimple Past TensePast Participle
paintpainted has painted
yawnyawnedhas yawned
dancedancedhas danced

With irregular verbs, however, the past forms can be same or different. For example:
Base FormSimple Past TensePast Participle
runranhas run
growgrewhas grown
telltoldhas told
bleedbledhas bled

Read more about irregular verbs.

Regular Verbs Are Weak Verbs

A regular verb is a type of weak verb.

The terms "regular verb" and "weak verb" are not synonyms (i.e., they do not mean the same). Similarly, the terms "irregular verb" and "strong verb" are not synonyms.

Here is an infographic explaining how verbs are classified:
strong, weak, regular, irregular verbs
Somewhat counter-intuitively, the most common verbs in English are the irregular verbs. They are a pain, but if you're learning or teaching English, you must embrace them. That said, there are some extremely useful regular verbs.

When learning or teaching English, it is a good practice to start with the regular verbs to understand the concept of tense and the role of participles. You can tackle those ghastly irregular verbs, once you've cracked how the tenses work.

Good luck!

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