Just when you thought that the verbs in English were so easy to learn (by only adding “d” or “ed”) you discovered the irregular verbs!
Did you know that most verbs in the English language are irregular? There are over 180 of them! And they break all the rules!
Knowing these verbs and being able to conjugate them almost automatically is an important step in developing your fluency in English. And they are actually not that hard to remember. Here are a few suggestions that will help you recall them in conversation just when you need them.
First of all, there are many different websites that can help you. At Espresso English, for example, you will find a really useful explanation of the irregular verbs. This website not only teaches you the conjugations and pronunciation, but you’ll also see that even irregular verbs can often follow a pattern. Many of the verbs follow definite patterns of sounds. For example:
- drink drank drunk
- sink sank sunk
This is a must see website for learners of all levels.
Macmillan Verb Wheel Game
And now, to practise them! Ready?
One of my favourite websites is the Macmillan Verb Wheel Game. It’s great fun. The only thing you’ll need to do to play is download the latest Flash Player.
After pressing the button, the wheel starts to spin and you’ll have two minutes to get as many correct answers as possible. The wheel will stop on a verb and then several boxes will appear with all the conjugations of that verb. The game will then give you a verb tense, e.g., the past simple, and you have to choose the right conjugation for that verb tense to win some points. After your two minutes are up, the game will show you your accumulated score and give you the option to play again to try to beat that score.
If you are keen on mental games then try these crosswords from the Englisch-Hilfen website. I’d recommend looking at their Crossword Puzzles. To enter a word, simply click on the numbers or the words in which you want to begin typing. To check your answers, click on the “check Crossword” button. If you are stuck, you can click on Clue to get a free letter.
Choose the level of difficulty and have fun!
If you are looking for a more interactive way to practise that will also test your memory, try using Quizlet. We already wrote about this great learning tool in a previous post. Make sure you check it out. Here you can gradually go through the irregular verbs on flashcards, either in alphabetical order or shuffle mode. With the English Irregular Verbs set of Quizlet cards, you have the option of seeing both sides of the flashcards (all conjugations), or just one side (past and past participle conjugations).
But that’s just the beginning – once you’ve got the flashcards, you can use several study modes which include multiple choice tests and study games. You can add images and even study on the go with the Quizlet mobile app. Another awesome thing about this site is that it also offers an audio function, so you can listen and repeat to help your pronunciation.
And last but not least, if you are an advanced level student and want to test your knowledge, here’s an irregular verbs list from a-z from the Learning English Online site. Just type to fill in the missing forms, and to check your answers, click on the <?> button. Go on, give it a go!
Don’t think that learning irregular verbs is too hard! With all these suggestions you can really improve quickly.
For most people, learning the core grammar of a language is usually the most boring and sometimes the most difficult part. But as long as you keep reviewing, challenging yourself and then practise using the grammar, you will eventually be using your grammar knowledge in a natural way without thinking twice.
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