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Irregular verbs. FITA course Lesson 12

You only truly master the irregular verbs when you are able to say them in the blink of an eye without making any mistake.

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What are irregular verbs?

Lesson 12 Irregular Verbs Simple Past Tense. Fita Course .docx

Irregular verbs are verbs that have different patterns in the past and past participle. 

They usually appear in a list with three columns. 

The first column represents the infinitive (the root of the verb), the second is the past tense and the third is the past participle. 

Almost all the students, including the advanced ones, experience some degree of difficulty when trying to reproduce the irregular verbs.

So, even assuming you think you know all the irregular verbs, it is a very good idea to start paying attention to the problems you experience when trying to use them.

Here are some of the most common problems:

1) Mispronouncing the following verbs

  • Come and become- 

It is NOT “kom” or”bikom”

Approx. pronunciation: /Kam/keim/kam

Approx. pronunciation:/ Bíkam/bíkeim/ Bkam

  • Begin- began- begun

The past participle is NOT “bigun”

Approx. pronunciation: /Bigin/bigan/bigaan/

Note:  The phonemic symbol of the “u” is like a roof ^. This means you should say an “a” with the mouth NOT too open.  I personally call it the “A del tonto”.

  • Catch- caught- caught

The past tense and past participle is NOT “kaut”

Approx. pron.: /katch/kot/kot/

  • Teach –taught- taught

The past tense and past participle is NOT “taut”

Approx. pronunciation: /tich/tot/tot/

  • Choose -chose- chosen

The past tense is NOT “chus”

Approx. pronunciation:/chus/chóius/chóusen/

  • Eat – ate- eaten

The past tense is NOT normally “at”

Approx. pronunciation: it/eit/itn

  • Fall- fell- fallen

The past tense is NOT felt- Do not confuse past tense of “fall” with that of “feel”

Approx. pronunciation: /fol/fel,/folen/

  • Feel- felt- felt

The past tense is NOT  “fell”.

Approx. pronunciation:/fiil/felt/felt/

  • Forgive- forgave- forgiven

The past tense is NOT  “forgive”.

Approx. pronunciation:/forgiv/forgeiv/forgivn/

  • Give- gave- given

The past tense is NOT  “giv”.

Approx. pronunciation:/giv/geiv/given/

  • Hear- heard- heard

The past tense is NOT  “hird”.

Approx. pronunciation:/hir/herd/herd/ Note: “H” should be pronounced very softly.

  • Hurt- hurt- hurt

The sound is NOT  “hart”

Approx. pronunciation: /hert/hert/hert/

  • Mean- meant- meant

The past tense is NOT  “mint”.

Approx. pronunciation: /min/ment/ ment/

  • Say (says) said- said

The past tense is NOT  “said”.

Approx. pronunciation: sei/ses/(3rd person)/sed/sed/

  • Read read read

The past tense is NOT  “rid”.

Approx. pronunciation: /rid/red/red/

2) Confusing the past participle of these verbs:

  • Arise – arose- arisen
  • Drive- drove- driven
  • Ride – rode- ridden
  • Rise- rose- risen
  • Write- wrote- written

Many students confuse the –ing form and the past participle. They make the mistake of pronouncing them like this:

  • Arisen- araising  INCORRECT
  • Driven- draiving  INCORRECT
  • Ridden- raiding INCORRECT
  • Risen- raising INCORRECT
  • Written-raiting INCORRECT  

Do you make this mistake? 

This is obviously a problem of NOT paying enough attention to the sounds and saying whatever your mind thinks you should say. 

Your mind is NOT going to remember the right sounds unless you force it to listen and repeat the correct sounds.

How can you solve this problem?

Practise saying these sounds many times:

  • Arisen- /arisn/
  • Driven /drivn/
  • Ridden-  /ridn/
  • Risen /risn/
  • Written- /ritn/

The “e” has a very short sound and it almost disappears in between the stronger sounds of the consonants that come after and before.

3) Using “was” instead of “were” especially when asking questions

The confusion occurs because the student’s mind doesn’t connect the subject with the right verb. So, for instance, if he is saying: “I was there”, and then he has to ask a question changing the pronoun to “you”, he will continue to use “was”, like this: “Was you there? “

To solve this problem you must practise saying sentences like these aloud many times:

  • Were you at the party? 
  • Were you there?
  • Were you tired?
  • Were you sick?
  • Was he there?
  • Was he at the party?
  • Was he sick?
  • Were you late?
  • Was she in the room?

The goal is for you to automatically associate “were” with “you”. This is only achieved when you say it correctly without having to think about it and when you immediately realise it is a mistake to say “you was”.

Note: It’s true that “you was” is sometimes used by native speakers, but this is considered bad English and is incorrect.

Have you experienced any of the problems listed above?

If you have, and you truly want to be an advanced student, you must put an end to all these problems. Therefore, we’ll go over some suggestions on how to learn the irregular verbs in a more effective way.

How to learn the irregular verbs more effectively?

In this course we are going to reinforce your knowledge of the irregular verbs through listening, reading and repeating the sentences of your audiobook.

But there also many other alternatives you can use for extra help. 

TWO VERY IMPORTANT PIECES OF ADVICE regarding these suggestions below.

1) NEVER, EVER, learn new sounds only by reading them. You should ALWAYS listen to the sound of the verb first using software such as Google translator or alike.

2) Do not pretend to gain fluency if you dedicate little time to the verbs as you go through this lesson. You should be completely committed to this goal and do some type of activity with the verbs EVERY DAY until you completely master them.

These are my suggestions: 

  • Download apps to learn the irregular verbs
  • Sing them. Here you have an example:

Listen and Repeat Podcast: Improve Your English Pronunciation

  • Say them aloud.  Here are a list of verbs with the sounds that will help you repeat them correctly: Irregular verb list & audio
  • Learn them in sentences. Here are examples of sentences:  

Irregular Verbs Examples

  • Play with them

Games are not only for children. You can have fun learning the verbs by playing. You can find an example of a gamehere: Irregular Verb Wheel Game – Languages Games

  • Make sentences with them.  Here are some exercises to make sentences with them: Irregular Verbs
  • Do all kinds of exercises with them. 

Here are some exercises: Exercise 1 – Past simple affirmative: irregular verbs | Solutions 

More exercises: Irregular Verbs Exercise 1

If you make a poster yourself with the verbs you have trouble with, you’ll learn them faster. Paying more attention and working on a subject always means more learning.

  • Create them. You can write, sculpt, cut, paint, sketch, or draw them. Use your imagination. 
  • Teach them to someone. Teaching them is one of the most effective ways to learn them because you have to prepare what you are going to say and, by going through this process, you force yourself to learn them by heart.

Here you have the list of irregular verbs

Learning the irregular verbs with the audiobook

Please, go to chapter 9 of your audiobook now and listen to it at least two times then read it.

Download chapter 9; The Picture of Dorian Gray

Chapter 9 Dorian Gray Bilingüe.docx

As you’ll see, I have highlighted the irregular verbs in the present tense or infinitive in light blue, in the past tense in pink and in the past participle in green. 

Chapter 9

The painter wants to see the picture

“A man who is master of himself can end a sorrow as easily as he can invent a pleasure.”

The following morning, when Dorian was having breakfast, Basil Hallward entered the room.

“I am pleased to see you, Dorian” he said gravely. “I called last night and they told me you were at the opera. Of course I didn’t believe it.”

“My dear Basil, yes, I was at the opera” murmured Dorian Gray and taking a sip of white wine.

“You went to the opera?” Exclaimed Hallward, speaking very slowly. “You went to the opera as Sibyl Vane was lying dead in some sordid place?”

“That’s enough, Basil! I won’t hear it! Don’t speak about horrible things. If one doesn’t speak about them, they haven’t happened” exclaimed Dorian, standing up brusquely. What is done is done. What has happened has happened.”

“You call yesterday the past?”

“Only superficial people need years to forget an emotion. A man who is master of himself can end a sorrow as easily as he can invent a pleasure.”  I don’t want to be dependent on my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them and to dominate them.”

“Dorian! That is horrible!  Something has changed you completely.  You look the same as the wonderful boy I painted, but you talk as if you had no heart.”

“What do you want, Basil?”

“I want the Dorian Gray who posed for my portrait.”

“Basil, you come here to console me, you find me well and you become furious. I was nothing more than a schoolboy when you met me. Now I am a man. I have new passions, new thoughts, new ideas. I have changed, but you will always be my friend. Don’t argue with me, Basil. I am who I am. There is nothing more to say.

The painter felt strangely emotional.

“Very well, Dorian” he said finally, with a sad smile. “I will never talk about this terrible story again, but you have to come and pose for me again.”

“I will never pose for you again.  It’s impossible!” Exclaimed Dorian.

The painter stared at him.

“My dear boy, what nonsense!” He exclaimed. “Do you mean to say that you didn’t like the portrait?  Where is it? I want to see it. It’s the best thing I have ever done.”

Hallward walked towards the corner of the room.

A cry of terror escaped from Dorian Gray’s lips, who ran between the painter and the screen.

“Basil” he said.  “You must not look at it. I don’t want you to see it!

“Not look at my own work! Why not?” Asked Hallward, laughing.

“If you try to look at it, I will never speak to you again for as long as I live.”

Hallward was amazed.

“Dorian! But what is the matter?  It is absurd that I can’t look at my own work, especially as I want to exhibit it in Paris in autumn.”

“Exhibit it?  You want to exhibit it?” Exclaimed Dorian Gray, terrified.

“Yes, I suppose you won’t mind. The portrait will only be away for a month.”

Dorian Gray passed his hand over his forehead. He was sweating.

“One month ago you told me you would never exhibit it” he exclaimed. “Why have you changed your mind?”

Then Dorian Gray remembered that Lord Henry had told him that Basil had asked him why he didn’t want to exhibit the picture. Yes, perhaps Basil also had his secret.

“Basil” he said, coming quite close and looking him in the eyes. “We both have a secret. Tell me yours and I will tell you mine. Why didn’t you want to exhibit my portrait?”

The painter shuddered.

“I know you are going to laugh at me. From the moment I met you my life changed. I adored you. I was jealous of each and every person you spoke to. I wanted you for myself.  I was only happy when I was with you. Of course I never wanted you to know any of this. You wouldn’t have understood. When I painted, I put a lot of myself into the picture. I was scared that others would discover that I adored you. I decided that I wouldn’t exhibit the portrait. Don’t get angry about what I have told you, Dorian.

Dorian Gray took a long breath. The colour returned to his cheeks and a smile drew itself onto his lips. The danger had passed. For now he was safe.

“Can I see the portrait?  Said the painter.

“Dorian shook his head.”

“You mustn’t ask me that, Basil.  I can’t allow you to see it.”

“Will you pose for me again?”

“Impossible! I can’t explain, Basil, but there is something fatal about a portrait. It has a life of its own.”

“Goodbye, I am sorry you won’t show me the painting one more time.”

When he left the room, Dorian Gray smiled; poor Basil! How little he knows of the real reason!  He had to hide the portrait.  He decided to ask the servant for the only key that existed for the empty room on the top floor. She handed it to him. Dorian took the painting upstairs and locked the door with the key, which he would keep himself. Now he felt saved.

As he went back to his room, he saw on the beautiful wooden table, the book that Lord Henry had left him. He took it and started to read. It was the strangest book that he had ever read. The story was about a young Parisian man who dedicated his life to trying all of life’s pleasures.

Listen and repeat the following sentences aloud

Remember that what you are trying to do with this exercise is to DRAMATICALLY improve your accent and fluency, so if you happen to feel that you know all these verbs, ignore the feeling and continue repeating and trying to imitate the native accent of the audiobook as long as you can.







Él dijo con gravedad 

he said gravely

| hi ˈsed ˈɡreɪvli |

Hi sed gréivli

Ellos me dijeron

they told me

ˈðeɪ təʊld miː |

Déi tóuld mi

Tú estabas en la ópera

you were at the opera

ju wər ət ði ˈɒprə |

Iu wuér at di ópera

Yo estaba en la ópera

I was at the opera

ˈaɪ wəz ət ði ˈɒprə |

Ái wuáss at di ópera

¿Fue usted a la ópera?

You went to the opera?”

ju ˈwent tə ði ˈɒprə |

Iu wuént tu di ópera?

¿Fue a la ópera mientras Sibyl Vane yacía muerta en un lugar sórdido?

You went to the opera as Sibyl Vane was lying dead in some sordid place?”

ju ˈwent tə ði ˈɒprə əz ˈsɪbl̩ veɪn wəz ˈlaɪɪŋ ded ɪn səm ˈsɔːdɪd ˈpleɪs |

Iu wuént tu di ópera ass síbyl véin wuáss láing ded in sam sórdid pléis?

Yo no era más que un colegial cuando usted  me conoció

I was nothing more than a schoolboy when you met me.

ˈaɪ wəz ˈnʌθɪŋ mɔː ðən ə ˈskuːlbɔɪ wen ju met miː |

Ai wuass názing mor dan a sskúlboi wuén iu métmi

El pintor se sintió extrañamente emocionado

The painter felt strangely emotional

ðə ˈpeɪntə felt ˈstreɪndʒli ɪˈməʊʃn̩əl |

De péinter felt sstréinyeli émoshional

Finalmente, dijo

he said finally

hi ˈsed ˈfaɪnəli |

Hi sed fáinali

Que corrió a situarse entre el pintor y el biombo

Who ran between the painter and the screen

huː ræn bɪˈtwiːn ðə ˈpeɪntər ənd ðə skriːn |

Hu ran bítuin de páinter an de sskrin

Basil, dijo

“Basil” he said.  

ˈbæzl̩ hi ˈsed |

Bássel hi sed

Hace un mes me dijo que nunca lo expondría

One month ago you told me you would never exhibit it

wʌn mʌnθ əˈɡəʊ ju təʊld miː ju wʊd ˈnevər ɪɡˈzɪbɪt ɪt |

Wuán monz a’gou iu told mi iu wud néver ekssíbit

Lord Henry se lo había dicho

Lord Henry had told him

lɔːd ˈhenri həd təʊld ɪm |

Lord henri had tóuld him

Quizas Basil también tenía su secreto

perhaps Basil also had his secret.

pəˈhæps ˈbæzl̩ ˈɔːlsəʊ həd ɪz ˈsiːkrɪt |

Perháps bássel ólso had hiss síkret

Desde que le conocí mi vida cambió

From the moment I met you my life changed.

frəm ðə ˈməʊmənt ˈaɪ met ju maɪ laɪf tʃeɪndʒd |

From de móument ai met iu mai láif chéinchd

Estaba celoso

I was jealous

ˈaɪ wəz ˈdʒeləs |

Ai wuass yélas

Todas las personas con las que usted hablaba

every person you spoke to

ˈevri ˈpɜːsn̩ ju spəʊk tuː |

Évri pérson iu sspik tu

Solo estaba feliz cuando estaba con usted

I was only happy when I was with you

ˈaɪ wəz ˈəʊnli ˈhæpi wen ˈaɪ wəz wɪð ju |

Ai wuass ounli hápi wuén ai wuass wiz iu

Usted no hubiera entendido

You wouldn’t have understood.

ju ˈwʊdnt həv ˌʌndəˈstʊd |

Iu wúndnt jav anderstud

Yo estaba asustado

I was scared

ˈaɪ wəz skeəd |

Ai wuass sskérd

Se lo he dicho a usted

I have told you

ˈaɪ həv təʊld ju |

Ai háv tóuld iu

Dorian Gray respiró hondo

Dorian Gray took a long breath.

ˈdɔːiən ɡreɪ tʊk ə ˈlɒŋ breθ |

Dórian grei túk a long brez

Se dibujó una sonrisa en sus labios

a smile drew itself onto his lips

ə smaɪl druː ɪtˈself ˈɒntu ɪz lɪps |

A ssmail drú ítself óntu hiss lips

Por ahora  él estaba salvo

For now he was safe

fə naʊ hi wəz seɪf |

For náu hi wuass séif

Dijo el pintor

Said the painter

ˈsed ðə ˈpeɪntə |

Sed de péinter

Dorian negó con la cabeza

Dorian shook his head

ˈdɔːiən ʃʊk ɪz hed |

Dórian shúk his hed

Cuando él se marchó de la habitación

When he left the room,

wen hi left ðə ruːm |

Wuen hi left de rum

Tuvo que esconder el retrato

He had to hide the portrait.  

hi həd tə haɪd ðə ˈpɔːtrɪt |

Hi had to háid de pórtret

Ahora se sintió seguro

Now he felt safe

naʊ hi felt seɪf |

Náu hi félt séif

Cuando volvía a su habitación

As he went back to his room

əz hi ˈwent ˈbæk tu ɪz ruːm |

Ass hí wuént bak tu hiss rum

Vio en la bella mesa de madera

He saw on the beautiful wooden table

hi ˈsɔːr ɒn ðə ˈbjuːtəfl̩ ˈwʊdn̩ ˈteɪbl̩ |

Hi so de bíutifol wúden téibol

El libro que le había dejado Lord Henry

The book that Lord Henry had left him

ðə bʊk ðət lɔːd ˈhenri həd left ɪm |

De buk dat lord hénri had left him

Él lo cogió

He took it

hi tʊk ɪt |

Hi tukit

Era el libro más extraño

It was the strangest book

ɪt wəz ðə ˈstreɪndʒɪst bʊk |

It wuass de sstréinyest buk

Que él nunca había leído

He had ever read

hi həd ˈevə riːd |

Hi had ever red

La historia era acerca de un joven parisino

The story was about a young Parisian man

ðə ˈstɔːri wəz əˈbaʊt ə jʌŋ pəˈrɪzɪən mæn |

De sstóri wuass ábaut a iang párissian man


To sum up

Irregular verbs are not easy to learn because their spelling differs greatly from their sound. Therefore, a variety of techniques should be used to memorise them. In this lesson, I suggest learning them by listening to a story and to reinforce and continue learning them by doing other activities such as singing, repeating them aloud, making sentences with them or teaching them.

If you feel you already know these verbs, concentrate on improving your pronunciation and fluency by saying them aloud in sentences many times. Remember that if you truly want to be an advanced student your pronunciation should be almost, if not completely, perfect.



Using what you have learned in this lesson, go back to chapter 7 and 8 of the audiobook and try to spot all the irregular verbs. 

Listen and repeat all the sentences that have irregular verbs in these two chapters aloud. 

If you find irregular verbs in infinitive or present tense, try to say the past tense as well as the past participle aloud. 

If you make any mistakes, correct the mistakes.

For example: You confuse the past tense of “fall” with the past tense of “feel”. Go over both tenses, make sentences with them and repeat them aloud. Make sure that you know the sound using software like Google Translator.

If you find that you don’t know the past tense or past participle of any irregular verb, take a look at the list included in this lesson and repeat them aloud many times.

Remember that you have to master these sounds and you can only do this by repetition.

Go to index.


1 comentario

  1. Hello Monica,

    Congratulations for your great post.

    In case it could help, we have implemented a simple free tool to help memorising irregular verbs, right now is divided in three steps:

    1. Choose right option
    2. Fill the gap
    3. Fill all the forms

    You can customize the quizzes by choosing which verbs will be included in the test.

    Hope it helps:

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