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What are irregular verbs?

An irregular verb is a verb which does not conform to an expected inflectional pattern, derivation, or word formation. These verbs mostly exist as remnants of historical conjugations. Examples are the forms of the verbs "be," "take," "throw," etc. There are nearly 250 irregular verbs in the English language. Dictionaries are perhaps the most valuable tool one can use in distinguishing between regular and irregular verbs. If only one form of the verb is listed, the verb is regular. Regular verbs' forms are often not listed in dictionaries because they follow a set of rules that are learned for inflections. Regular verbs are those whose past tense and past participles are formed by adding a -d or an -ed to the end of the verb - and this is how they differ from irregular verbs. If the verb is irregular, the dictionary will list the principal parts of the other forms. We memorize their forms, or look them up in a dictionary. There are seven main patterns of irregular verbs: 1) verbs that take a voiceless -t suffix to mark both past tense and past participles and which can replace the final d of the base, e.g., build, built; 2) verbs that take a -t or -d suffix to mark both past tense and past participle with a change in the base vowel, e.g., feel, felt, felt; 3) verbs that take the regular -ed suffix for past tense but -(e)n for past participles, e.g., show, showed, shown; 4) verbs that have no suffix for past tense forms but take the suffix -(e)n for past participles, with a change in the base vowel for one or both, e.g., break, broke, broken or take, took, taken; 5) verbs that have past tense and past participle forms marked only by a change in the base vowel, e.g., come, came, come or win, won, won; 6) verbs that have past tense forms and past participle forms identical to the base form, e.g., cut, cut, cut; and 7) verbs that have one or more completely unmatched forms, e.g., go, went, gone.

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