Two weeks ago I posted the first part of this topic — verbs that are exceptions to the rule in forming the past tense and the past participle. This post is the conclusion of the two-part series.
Verbs have several forms. Three of them are
- The base, or what we use for the present tense — walk
- The past tense, or what we use for simple past tense — walked
- The past participle, or what we use for the perfect tenses — (have, had, will have) walked
The verb walk is regular. It simply adds -ed for the past tense and the past participle.
Obviously, if a verb already ends in e, we simply add the d — bake/baked. Still considered a regular verb.
If a verb ends in y, we change the y to an i before adding ed — study/studied. Still considered a regular verb.
Irregular verbs break those rules. Some irregular verbs have two different spellings for those three forms. The past tense and the past participle are the same:
- build/built/have built
- lend/lent/have lent
- lay/laid/have laid
Other irregular verbs have three different spellings for those three forms. Those are the irregular verbs that cause the most problems and that were the focus of Part 1 of this blog post.
- go/went/have gone
- swim, swam, have swum
- drink/drank/have drunk
- write/wrote/have written
This post talks about the other category of irregular verbs: those that don’t change at all from present tense to past tense to present participle. Here are some of those verbs:
- bet – I bet today/ I bet yesterday/I have bet every day.
- burst – The boy bursts his balloon/An hour ago the boy burst his balloon/The boy said he has burst his balloon.
- cost – It costs a dollar/Yesterday it cost a dollar/Every day it has cost a dollar.
- cut – He cuts his hair/Yesterday he cut his hair/Every month he has cut his hair.
- fit – I fit into a size 10/Yesterday I fit into a size 10/Every summer I have fit into a size 10. (But if your suit comes in at the waist, it is fitted. Go figure.)
- hit – She hits a home run/Yesterday she hit a home run/Every game this season she has hit a home run.
- hurt – She hurt my feelings/Yesterday she hurt my feelings/Every time we argue she has hurt my feelings.
- let – Let the cat in/Yesterday I let the cat in/Every night this week I have let the cat in.
- put -Put lemon in the cake/Yesterday I put lemon in the cake/I have always put lemon in the cake.
- shut – I shut my eyes/A minute ago I shut my eyes/I have shut my eyes and fallen asleep every evening.
- set – Set the flowers on the table/She set the flowers on the table/She has set the flowers on the table for you.
- shed – My dog sheds/This morning my dog shed all over my coat/My dog has shed all over the carpet since I got her.
- slit – Slit the top of the bag off/Yesterday she slit the top of the bag/Mistakenly she has slit the top of the bag.
- split – Split the donut in two/This morning I split the donut in two/Every morning I have split my donut in two.
- spread – I spread jam on my toast/A few minutes ago I spread jam on my toast/Every morning for as long as I can remember, I have spread jam on my toast.
Yes, some of those sample sentences sound a little odd, especially the present tense. We generally use the progressive present tense: I am letting the cat in. I am splitting the donut in two. Some of those present tense sentences actually sound like past tense. They are just examples to show the forms that do not change.
Then there are these verbs:
- knit — The past and past participle forms can be knit or knitted.
- rid — The past participle form can be either rid or ridded
- spit — The past tense and past participle can be either spit or spat.
- read — The spelling is the same for all three forms, but the pronunciation changes; in the past tense and past participle, the ea sounds like a short e (unlike lead, where the past tense spelling changes to led).
The difference in usage between the past tense and the present perfect tense (the second the third sentences in each example) has been covered in a previous post about tenses.