What are Regular Verbs? Meaning and Examples

A regular verb is a verb that follows a predictable pattern when switching between tenses. In English, you can usually form the past tense of a regular verb simply by adding the suffix “-ed” or “-d” to the end of the verb. It applies to both the simple past tense and the past participle.

Regular verbs are an essential part of the language; luckily, they’re relatively easy to learn. So, now we’ve seen a standard verb definition, let’s break it down and find out the exact meaning of regular verbs and how they operate. We can also look at some frequent verb examples so you can see them in action.

We all use regular verbs daily, but we probably don’t notice them. Two in that sentence – “use” and “notice”- are examples of regular verbs. They can be transformed into the past tense simply by adding “-ed” or “-d” to the end of the verb:

  • “I use a pencil to do my homework” becomes “I used a pencil to do my homework.”
  • “I notice the trees on my way home” becomes, “I noticed the trees on my way home.”

So, a regular verb always takes this very predictable form when moving it from the present into the simple past tense.

Some more regular verbs examples include:

  • walk – walked
  • laugh – laughed
  • jump – jumped
  • talk – talked
  • look – looked
  • agree – agreed
  • listen – listened
  • dance – danced
  • wonder – wondered
  • wish – wished

As you can see, each of these verbs can very quickly be turned into its past-tense equivalent. It is why regular verbs are the first ones children learn – they make it as easy as possible for children to talk and write about what has happened in the past.

There are lots of regular verbs in English! Each behaves the same way as the regular verb examples we’ve given here. For example, if you want to talk about something that’s already happened, you add “-ed” or “-d” to the end.

Past participle regular verbs meaning and examples

A participle is a non-finite verb that can also be used as an adjective. For example:

  • He looked at his burned finger.
  • He has burned his finger.

The first sentence uses the word ” burned ” as an adjective. In the second, it is used as the past participle.

The past participle of a verb is always used with the verb “to have” (“He has burned his finger”). It is most often used to form the past perfect tense to describe an action that has already been completed.

Here are some more examples of past participle regular verbs:

  • I have completed my homework.
  • We had talked about it.
  • They played in the garden.
  • I have cooked my dinner.
  • She has watched television.
  • He had shouted to his friend.

The great thing about regular verbs is that they don’t change their form between the simple past tense and the past participle. You still form them simply by adding “-ed” or “-d” to the end of the regular verb.

What’s the difference between regular and irregular verbs?

It’s an irregular verb if it can’t be put into the past tense easily, if the verb doesn’t fit with the ending “-ed” or “-d,” or if the verb needs to change its form to make sense in the past. These are more tricky to learn because irregular verbs don’t follow the regular pattern you’d expect when you put them into the past tense. Some examples of irregular verbs include:

  • eat – ate
  • write – wrote
  • go – went
  • run – ran
  • see – saw

English is full of irregular verbs, which must be learned on a case-by-case basis. Unfortunately, children are usually not taught irregular verbs until they have grasped how regular verbs work and feel confident using them.

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