Verbs and Irregular Verbs

Posted by Kevin Walker on April 29, 2016

I love grammar. Here is my lowdown on verbs and irregular verbs.

The past participle and simple past tense of regular verbs are spelled like the present tense of the verb, but with the addition of an ‘ed’ or ‘d’ added to the end of the word. Irregular verbs do not follow this rule and so can be more difficult when it comes to correct spelling.

There are some irregular verbs that follow simple patterns, such as:

Know – knew

Drink – drank

Spring – sprang

However, most irregular verbs do not follow a simple pattern. Below are some examples of irregular verbs in their present, past simple and past participle tense forms:

Do – did – done

Forgive – forgave – forgiven

Get – got –gotten

Grow – grew – grown

Wake – woke – woken

Action Verbs

Action verbs express an action or an activity. The following examples are action verbs:





I’ll do my assignment after school.

Action verbs can be used in relation to a direct object that receives the action or without a direct object, depending on the context. These two types of action verbs are known as transitive and intransitive.

Transitive  Verb – will send

James will send the letter as soon as possible.

Intransitive Verb - coughed

Many of the children were not well. They coughed throughout the exam.

Helping or auxiliary verbs

Helping verbs are used with a main verb to signify the tense of the verb or to form a question. The most commonly used helping verbs are:




Sometimes an action or circumstance is continuous or occurring due to another situation or cause of events. In this situation a single word verb is unable to give an accurate description of what is happening, so sentence clauses that use helping verbs are used instead.

The main verb describes the circumstance or action that is occurring. A helping verb goes along with the main verb to convey the details and help signify the nuances of what is happening to the reader.

Does Louie play the guitar?

The students haven’t finished their homework.

Michael is writing a letter to his cousin.

Helping verbs add grammatical or functional meaning to the sentence they appear in.

  • They can signify tense by providing a time reference point.
  • Quantify other verbs.
  • Signify the relationship between the expressed action and the subject of the verb.
  • Increase the emphasis of a sentence.

There are two main types of verbs. Action verbs, that show activities, and linking verbs, that describe circumstances. Both action verbs and linking verbs can be accompanied by a helping verb. Including the three most commonly used: do, be and have.

Sometimes the actions or conditions described by main verbs only occur once before finishing. In these situations a helping verb can be used as an action or linking verb. In the example below, the helping verb ‘is’ can be found functioning as a linking verb.

Sam dropped the box on his foot. He is in terrible pain.                                       

‘is’ is being used as a linking verb. Because it is alone and not accompanied by a main verb, it is no longer a helping verb.