Regular Verbs

Regular Verbs

A regular verb is
any verb whose conjugation follows the typical grammatical inflections of the language it belongs to. A verb that cannot be conjugated like this is called an irregular verb. All natural languages, to different extents, have a number of irregular verbs. Auxiliary languages usually have a single regular pattern for all verbs (as well as other parts of speech) as a matter of design. Other constructed languages need not show such regularity, especially if they are designed to look similar to natural ones.

The most simple form of regularity involves a single class of verbs, a single principal part (the root or a conjugated form in a given person, number, tense, aspect, mood, etc.), and a set of unique rules to produce each form in the verb paradigm. More complex regular patterns may have several verb classes (e. g. distinguished by their infinitive ending), more than one principal part (e. g. the infinitive and the first person singular, present tense, indicative mood), and more than one type of rule (e. g. rules that add suffixes and other rules that change the vowel in the root).

Sometimes it is highly subjective to state whether a verb is regular or not. For example, if a language has ten different conjugation patterns and two of them only comprise five or six verbs each while the rest are much more populated, it is a matter of choice to call the verbs in the smaller groups "irregular".

The concept of regular and irregular verbs belongs mainly in the context of second language acquisition, where the defining of rules and listing of exceptions is an important part of foreign language learning. The concepts can also be useful in psycholinguistics, where the ways in which the human mind processes irregularities may be of interest. However, most other branches of linguistics do not use these categories; historical/comparative linguistics is more interested in categories such as strong and weak.

(see Complete list of Irregular Verbs)

base -s form past past participle -ing form notes

call calls called called calling
clean cleans cleaned cleaned cleaning

look looks looked looked looking 1
talk talks talked talked talking 1

end ends ended ended ending 2
wait waits waited waited waiting 2

kiss kisses kissed kissed kissing 3
wash washes washed washed washing 3

live lives lived lived living 4
love loves loved loved loving 4

beg begs begged begged begging 5
sin sins sinned sinned sinning 5

play plays played played playing
stay stays stayed stayed staying

cry cries cried cried crying 6
study studies studied studied studying 6

die dies died died dying
tie ties tied tied tying


1. Pronunciation differences in past/past participle after /p, s, k, f/ sounds

2. Pronunciation differences in past/past participle after /t, d/ sounds

3. Spelling and pronunciation differences in –s form after /s, sh, ch, z/ sounds

4. Dropping of “silent e” with –ing endings

5. Doubled consonants after “short” vowel sounds

6. Spelling differences when “y” is preceded by a consonant


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