There is one problem though. There are some many of them and we just don’t have time to think and remember while speaking. And some verbs are just unlucky – English learners never use them right.
Let’s deal with the most common mistakes in irregular verbs and make sure you always speak accurately.
There are 3 types of common mistakes with English irregular verbs:
- forgetting if the verb is regular or irregular and just saying what seems right;
- mixing some verbs up (like the tricky ones lie/lay, find/found etc.)
- mispronouncing them – people can’t understand what we actually mean.
Let’s go through all of them step by step.
Sometimes we think that some of the verbs are regular but they are not
If you learnt irregular verbs in the list, of course, they could slip away. That’s why again I will repeat how important it is to learn irregular verbs in context, not as a list.
Here are some ‘unlucky’ verbs which are often confused: teach, build, choose, cost, cut, hold, and steal.
Irregular in British but Regular in American English
At the same time, I will remind you that there are some verbs which are treated both as regular and irregular in different accents of English: burn, learn, smell, dream, and spoil are used as regular verbs in American English now but in British accent we still treat them as irregular. The good news is their V2 and V3 are the same.
Do not mix them up
Another typical mistake: sometimes the verbs have similar meanings. We think about one verb and we use another verb instead. It can happen even with Advanced English learners.
Watch the video lesson and practise with me. There is speaking exercise inside!
A little tip: learn irregular verbs in phrases, not in lists.
Avoid these mistakes:
Incorrect: The boy felt from the tree. – Correct: The boy fell from the tree.
Incorrect: The boy fell confused because he fell from the tree. – Correct: The boy felt confused because he fell from the tree.
Incorrect: They have founded a great book club. – Correct: They have found a great book club.
Incorrect: He has found (=organised) a book club. – Correct: He has founded a book club.
Do you pronounce them right?
If you mispronounce some of the verb forms, people just won’t understand what you mean!
It is very confusing that’s why it’s very important to practise until you are absolutely sure in your pronunciation.
Repeat the forms out loud, use them in sentences – be active!
The main thing in mastering irregular verbs is not to be afraid to make a mistake. It takes some time to remember them all, but it is completely doable. Good luck!