What are verb forms?
English verbs change ‘form’ depending on how they are used. For example, the verb ‘to watch‘ can be watch, watched, watches or watching, depending on the tense of the sentence.
|I watch TV.||present simple form / verb 1|
|I watched TV yesterday.||past simple form / verb 2|
|I’ve watched this TV show before.||past participle form / verb 3|
|He watches TV.||third person singular present simple form / verb 1 (s)|
|I’m watching TV.||present participle form / verb -ing|
Because ‘to watch‘ is a regular verb, the past simple (verb 2) and past participle (verb 3) are the same. They are both simply the present simple form with -ed.
Most verbs in English are regular, and follow this easy rule. So if you want to use a verb in the past tense, you can usually just add -ed to the end, and your sentence will be correct.
However, the rule doesn’t cover all verbs. For example, if we use the verb ‘to write‘, there’s a big difference.
|I write to my friend.||present simple form / verb 1|
|He writes to me.||third person singular present simple form / verb 1 (s)|
|I wrote to him last week.||past simple form / verb 2|
|I’ve written to him twice this year.||past participle form / verb 3|
|I’m writing a third letter to him now.||present participle form / verb -ing|
Here, verb 2 and verb 3 don’t simply add -ed, but are new words. That’s because ‘to write’ is an irregular verb. Irregular verbs change form in different ways to regular verbs.
See below for a list of common irregular verbs.