When teaching irregular verbs it is helpful to group them according to their patterns. The anchor chart above contains common beginning irregular verbs which have been grouped by pattern. This is not an exhaustive list of irregular verbs. English learners should learn the verbs in one pattern and then move on to the next one.
There are many ways to teach and reinforce irregular verb patterns. Some students memorize them while others use manipulatives to practice them. Board games and class quizzes are fun ways to encourage learning. Students need to practice forming sentences with each verb form.
Comparing the meaning of these sentences helps students to understand the grammar. In addition, students should practice writing negative sentences and questions.
While learning common irregular verbs and their patterns is important, that is not the ultimate purpose. These patterns provide a foundation to build upon. The goal is for students to recognize the pattern of a new verb and unconsciously connect it to one of these groups. This builds both word and grammar skills in English.
Group 1 - The base verb (bare infinitive), past tense, and past participle forms are all the same. This is the simplest pattern to memorize.
cut cut cut
Group 2 - The past tense and past participle forms are the same, and only slightly different from the base verb.
hear heard heard
bring brought brought
Group 4 - The past tense and past participle forms are the same and end with a "t".
feel felt felt
Group 5 - The past tense and past participle forms are the same and end with a "d".
pay paid paid
Group 6 - Each verb form has a different vowel. This pattern is the one most teachers remember from their own schooling.
ring rang rung
Group 7 - The past tense form has a vowel change from the base verb. The past participle form ends with a "n" and may have a vowel change.
draw drew drawn
Group 8 - The past tense form has a different vowel from the base verb. The past participle form ends with "en" and may have a vowel change.
Group 9 - This group contains common verbs that do not follow a particular pattern and must be memorized.