How to Learn Irregular Verbs (Video)

Hello everyone! This is Abbe from MosaLingua. In today’s video, I will talk about a very important element of English grammar: Irregular Verbs. Learning these will definitely help you speak better English, and today I’m going to explain how to learn them the easy way.

 Irregular Verbs

The irregular verbs are very important to learn because they are among the most frequently used verbs in the English language. Remember: regular verbs get their past forms by adding -ed to the end but irregular verbs have different endings for each of the past forms and there are hundreds of them… but don’t panic! There’s a smart and easy way to learn them and I’m going to explain it to you right now. The first thing you need to do is limit your list to only the most useful irregular verbs.

How to Learn Irregular Verbs (Video)

How to Learn Irregular Verbs (Transcript)

Don’t Worry About Specific Verbs Right Away

There are about 600 of them,  but most of them are quite specific so you don’t need to worry about learning them right away. For example: you probably don’t need to learn the past forms of the verb “to knit” right, when you first start learning English, right?

Don’t Worry About Verbs With Prefixes

Another way to reduce your list is by eliminating words that just have a prefix added to them. For example: “to stand” and “to understand”. By doing this, you can easily reduce your list down to about 100 or so of the most useful verbs. This is definitely more manageable than 600!

Use the Chunking Memory Hack

The second trick is to use a memory hack called “chunking”.“Chunking” is the idea of breaking down your learning into small bits that are easy to memorize. So how can we apply this hack to the irregular verbs? Simple: Let’s look for some similarities, and group together all of the verbs that share them. Here’s what you get: verbs that do not change, like” to hit” and “to set”.

Verbs that change only in their preterite form like “to come” and “to run”. Verbs that have the same form for both the preterite and the past participle like “to dream” and “to keep”. Finally, verbs that have different forms for the preterite and the past participle like “to rise” and “to swim”. You’ll also be able to find similar spelling patterns.

Group Words Together That Have Similar Spelling Patterns

Grouping together words with similar spelling patterns will be very helpful, especially for the last two categories. For example: when you learn the verb “to mean” you can also learn to deal, to keep, to spend, to learn and to dream. verbs for the price of one! Not bad…  Do the same thing for the verb “to begin” and the five verbs that are similar: to drink, to wring, to sing, to sink, and to swim. For these verbs, you need to remember “i-a-u”.  The “i” in the infinitive is replaced by an “a” in the preterite and a “u” in the past participle.

Break Down Your Learning and Find Groups That Share Similarities

To recap: break down your learning and find groups of words that share similarities. Try this exercise: draw a tree with each branch representing a different group and the leaves on the branch representing different verbs.  This is a great way to visualize the groups and commit them to memory  by writing them down. If you learn the irregular verbs following these groups, you’ll find that it takes far less time than if you were to try to learn straight from a list.

Apply this hack to your learning by memorizing these verbs with the MosaLingua app. So what are you waiting for? Get started now! To review: the 2 hacks we gave you today to learn the irregular verbs the easy way are: limit your list to the words you will actually use and use chunking to group together similarly conjugated verbs. This creates links between these words in your memory and helps you remember them better.

Bonus Tip: Be Aware of Irregular Verb Differences in British English and American English

Here’s a bonus tip: some words like “to dream” and “to spell” are irregular in British English but not in American English. So make your life even easier by cutting  these words from your list.

And one last thing, if you liked this video, don’t forget to subscribe to our channel. Don’t miss out on the next English grammar hacks in this series, and if you have questions about today’s lesson, don’t forget to add them in the comments below. We’ll be happy to help! Happy learning and see you next time!

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