Irregular Past Tense Verbs – word lists, worksheets, activities, goals, and more

Word list in developmental order

Functional

ate, bit, blew, broke, built, caught, came, cut, did, drew, drank, fell, flew, found, got, gave, had, let, lost, made, put, read, ran, said, saw, sat, stood, stuck, told, took, threw, went, woke, won, wore, wrote, was

Later Developing

began, brought, became, bought, burnt, chose, dove, drove, dug, felt, fit, fought, forgot, grew, hung, hid, hit, held, hurt, kept, knew, laid, left, met, paid, quit, rode, rang, sank, set, shook, shrank, sang, shot, shut, slept, slid, sold, spoke, spun, stole, stung, struck, swept, swore, swam, swung, tore, taught, thought

Advanced

bent, bled, bred, broadcast, cost, crept, dealt, fit, flung, forgave, froze, heard, led, lit, meant, mistook, overcame, proved, rose, sent, slid, sought, sped, spent, split, understood, upheld, upset, wept, withstood, wrung, stank

Basic Worksheets

Previews – Click on a picture to see a small preview of that worksheet.

1)2) 3)4)  5)

Download Documents – Click Doc or PDF to download worksheet in your preferred format.

1) Basic Sentence Choices 1 Doc PDF;      2) Basic Sentence Choices 2 Doc PDF;      3) Grid  Doc PDF;     4) Pictures Doc PDF;     5) Sentence Drop Doc PDF

Word and Sentence Searches

Download Documents – Click Doc or PDF to download worksheet in your preferred format.

1)2) 3)4)

(1) Basic Irregular Past Tense Verbs Doc PDF;        2) Basic Word Search 2 Doc PDF;      3) Later Developing Irregular Past Tense Verbs Word Search Doc PDF;     4) Sentence Search Doc PDF

Later Developing Worksheets and Activities

Previews – Click on a picture to see a small preview of that worksheet.

1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6 )

Download Documents – Click Doc or PDF to download worksheet in your preferred format.

1) Drills/Scripts Doc PDF;     2) Functional, Misc Doc PDF;     3) Board Games, etc. Doc PDF;     4) Bullseye Doc PDF;      5) Sentence Drop Doc PDF;     6)Sentence Maze Doc PDF

Background Information

To acquire irregular past tense verbs one must first learn to express things that happened in the past, before then learning the exceptions to the usual –ed ending. Irregular past tense verbs are problematic for young children and foreign language learners. Some basic ones are learned from a very early age. Most children learn to say “I did it,” before understanding that do and did are different versions of the same word. There is some predictability (teach-taught, catch-caught, get-got, forget-forgot), while often the unpredictability makes learning these words nothing short of memorization (take changes to took, while make changes to made). This property of the class of irregular past tense verbs to be both partly memorized and partly derived from predictable rules has caused these words to be key in the debate between evolutionary-psychological and Chomskyan-nativist models of language acquisition (Pinker, 2001).

Research suggests that children with SLI use bare stem forms (e.g. catch for caught) more frequently than younger control children (Rice, Wexler, Marquis, Hershberger, 2000). As has been shown with other language skills (Childers and Tomasello, 2002), research has implied that learning of irregular past tense verbs is facilitated through distributed practice rather than massed practice. Children with specific language impairment do not seem to learn these forms as effectively from adult repetitions of error sentences with the correct form of the verb (Williams and Fey, 2007).

Identification of the incorrect use of an irregular past tense verb helps develop the skill of correctly using these words. Knowing that catched “just sounds wrong” helps eliminate the common error of overgeneralization of the –ed form.

Tests that assess for irregular past tense verbs include the OWLS, the SPELT, the CASL-Syntax Construction, and the PLS.

Goal Suggestions

Edgar will identify incorrect early developing irregular past tense verbs in simple sentences, e.g. “The bear catched a fish.”

Joanne will correctly label later developing irregular past tense verbs, e.g. “What is the past tense of the word ‘shake’?”

Johnny will use the correct form of later developing and curriculum relevant irregular past tense verbs in varied sentences, e.g. “Use the word freeze in a past tense sentence beginning with yesterday.”

Elicitation Ideas

16 Responses to Irregular Past Tense Verbs – word lists, worksheets, activities, goals, and more

  1. Dawn Wolf says:

    I absolutely LOVE your website! It has saved me countless hours. The language units and the activities are great, as well as the numerous ways you have referenced and linked to the pages. Thank you ever so much. I will be referring all of our District’s speech pathologists to the site. I hate to even mention it, but wanted you to be aware that there is a mis-link in this (irregular past tense) unit. Under “Word and Sentence Searches”, the very first sheet, the doc is correct but the pdf goes to a page from the “Category” unit. Thank you again for this masterful piece of work!

  2. Paul says:

    Thanks for comment! I did fix the link, and I definitely appreciate you letting me know.

  3. Barita says:

    Help! I can’t find “took” on the Basic Irregular Past Tense Verbs word search.

  4. Paul says:

    I can’t find it either. I’ll have to fix it when I get a chance. Thanks for bringing that to my attention.

  5. Anonymous says:

    sup yaoll

  6. Anonymous says:

    You have great ideas and the website has become a valuable resource to me. One thing I particularly appreciate is your _______ list in developmental order. Could you come up with one for irregular plurals? Thanks!

  7. stella says:

    you have the exact materials required by a teacher….. thanks!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Great resources – Thank you

  9. Dawn Wolf says:

    OK, I may be site illiterate, as far as being able to find things in the comments. I was informed of your reply to one of the questions asking for the verbs in developmental order, but all I could see was a partial listing:

    Word list in developmental order Functional ate, bit, blew, broke, built, caught, came, cut, did, drew, drank, fell, flew, found, got, gave, had, let, lost, made, put, read, ran, said, saw, sat, stood, stuck, told, took, threw, went, woke, won, wore, wrote, was Later Developing began, brought, became, bought, burnt, chose, dove, drove, dug, felt, [...].

    I tried to find this response, but don’t see it on the site here. Is there a more complete response? Thanks!

  10. Paul says:

    Dawn, all I’m seeing is a question asking for irregular plurals in developmental order. I have a short list of those on the noun page (children, teeth, men, geese, women, feet, mice, sheep, people, deer, wolves, leaves, knives, phenomena, crises, etc.). To the best of my knowledge there just aren’t a whole lot of these other than some more highly specialized vocabulary. The verbs are at the top of this page. It’s not meant to be an exhaustive list, but I think it has most of the common ones.

  11. Dawn Wolf says:

    OK, thanks. Wow, was I confused. LOL

  12. Monica V says:

    Great post, thanks very much! I’m an English teacher in English language summer schools all over the world, so I know how hard people find irregular verbs. I will recommend this page to all my friends and students!

    Monica V

  13. Anonymous says:

    I loved your exercises, quite original!

  14. Kate says:

    Thank you so much for making all this available. As a new teacher trying to learn how to help my students, your site is way up there for practical advice, activities and ideas. A breath of fresh air!

  15. Chris says:

    Thank you for all the WONDERFUL materials. You really made the class fun. The only thing I’d like to suggest is to put your name or website on the bottom. Sometime I download from different sites, and I don’t remember where I got something from. It makes it easier to get back to you. If teachers don’t’ like it, they can take it off; but I do think you should have some credit. Thanks again and take care.

  16. Paul says:

    Great suggestion! If I get time, I’d really like to do that.

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