Irregular Verbs with IPA

Pronunciation of some verbs, like 'read' and 'dream', changes different from what would be expected from the spelling. In this list of irregular verbs phonetic transcription of these verbs is given, using the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA).

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In this list, a narrower IPA transcription is used than in most dictionaries, because many learners of English have difficulty with the pronunciation of for instance the letter 'r' in English. Writing [ ɹiːd ] and [ dɹiːm ] instead of / riːd / and / driːm / can help them overcome this problem. It shows that, in English, the letter 'r' is pronounced different from how it is pronounced in many other languages. If you want to hear the sounds for these and other IPA characters, you can visit Click twice on one of the IPA-charts, wait for it to open, then click twice on a symbol and a recording of the corresponding sound will be played.

Some verbs have two forms for past and past participle. When separated by a slash, both forms are used equally. When one is places between brackets, that form is less common. Remember though that preferences and rules like this, change over time and from region to region.

Modal verbs are included in this list although they are very confusing. One of the confusing problems is that the past of a modal verb can have a very different meaning or it is used in very different ways than its present form. Sometimes the relation between present and past of a modal verb is as simple as with other verbs. Modal verbs don't have all forms, like past participle. Because of these problems, in this list, they are indicated as such.

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arise arose arisen
awake awoke awoken
be was / were been
bear (bring forth) bore born
bear (carry) bore borne
beat beat beaten
become became become
begin began begun
bend bent bent
bet bet bet
bid (check dictionary for details) bid / bade bid / bidden
bind bound bound
bite bit bitten
bleed bled bled
blow blew blown
break broke broken
bread bred bred
bring brought brought
build built built
burn burned, burnt burned, burnt
burst burst burst
buy bought bought
can (modal) could -
cast cast cast
catch caught caught
choose chose chosen
cling clung clung
clothe clothed, clad clothed, clad
come came come
cost cost cost
creep crept crept
cut cut cut
deal [ diːl ] dealt [ dɛlt ] dealt [ dɛlt ]
dig dug dug
dive dived, dove dived
do did done
draw drew drawn
dream [ dɹiːm ] dreamed / dreamt [ dɹɛmt ] dreamed / dreamt [ dɹɛmt ]
drink drank drunk
drive drove driven
dwell dwelt / dwelled dwelt / dwelled
eat ate eaten
fall fell fallen
feed fed fed
feel felt felt
fight fought fought
find found found
fit fit fit
flee fled fled
fling flung flung
fly flew flown
forbid forbade, forbad forbidden
forget forgot forgotten
forgive forgave forgiven
forsake forsook forsaken
freeze froze frozen
get got got, gotten
give gave given
go went gone
grind ground ground
grow grew grown
hang (suspend) hung hung
hang (kill) hanged hanged
have had had
hear [ hɪɹ ] heard [ həɹd ] heard [ həɹd ]
hew hewed hewn / hewed
hide hid hidden, hid
hit hit hit
hold held held
hurt hurt hurt
keep kept kept
kneel knelt (kneeled) knelt (kneeled)
know knew known
lay (put, place, prepare) laid laid
lead led led
lean lent / leaned lent / leaned
leap leaped, leapt [ lɛpt ] leaped, leapt [ lɛpt ]
learn (learnt) learned (learnt) learned
leave left left
lend lent lent
let let let
lie (tell untruth) lied lied
lie (recline, be situated) lay lain
light lighted, lit lighted, lit
lose lost lost
make made made
may (modal) might -
mean meant meant
meet met met
mow mowed mown / mowed
must (modal) - -
pay paid paid
plead pleaded / pled pleaded / pled
prove proved proved, proven
put put put
quit quit / quitted quit / quitted
read [ ɹiːd ] read [ ɹɛd ] read [ ɹɛd ]
relay (lay again) relaid relaid
relay (transmit, channel electricity or signal; next person or team of animals taking place) relayed relayed
rid rid rid
ride rode ridden
ring rang rung
rise rose risen
run ran run
saw saw saw
say said said
see saw seen
seek sought sought
sell sold sold
send sent sent
set (place, put) set set
sew sewed sewn / sewed
shake shook shaken
shed shed shed
shine shone shone
shoot shot shot
show showed shown, showed
shrink shrank, shrunk shrunk, shrunken
shut shut shut
sing sang sung
sink sank sunk / sunken
sit sat sat
slay slew slain
sleep slept slept
slide slid slid
sling slung slung
slink slunk slunk
slit slit slit
smell smelled / smelt smelled / smelt
sneak sneaked (snuck) sneaked (snuck)
snow sowed sown (sowed)
speak spoke spoken
speed sped sped
spell spelt (spelled) spelt (spelled)
spend spent spent
spill spilt / spilled spilt / spilled
spin spun spun
spit spat (US spit) spat (US spit)
split split split
spoil spoilt / spoiled spoilt / spoiled
spread spread spread
spring sprang sprung
stand stood stood
steal stole stolen
stick stuck stuck
sting stung stung
stink stunk, stank stunk
strew strewed strewn / strewed
stride strode stridden
strike struck struck
string strung strung
strive strove / strived striven / strived
swear swore sworn
sweep swept swept
swell swelled swelled, swollen
will (modal) would -
swim swam swum
swing swung swung
take took taken
teach taught taught
tear tore torn
tell told told
think thought thought
throw threw thrown
thrust thrust thrust
tread trod trod / trodden
understand understood understood
upset upset upset
wake woke woken
wear wore worn
weave wove, weaved woven, weaved
wed wed / wedded wed / wedded
weep wept wept
wet wet (wetted) wet (wetted)
whet (sharpen) is regular
win won won
wind wound wound
wring wrung wrung
write wrote written

Note: the IPA font used is Doulos SIL webfont (WOFF), freely available from

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