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How to teach irregular verb tenses to kids in english

Updated July 20, 2017

There are almost 300 irregular verbs in the English language. A verb is considered irregular when it does not follow the regular pattern of adding a -d or an -ed to the end of the verb in the past tense and past participle. An irregular verb may not change its spelling between tenses or it may completely change from one tense to another, such as like the verb do (did/done/does/doing). Teaching irregular verb tenses to children can be difficult because there is no system or formula to remembering which verbs are irregular, but you can make memorising irregular verbs fun.

Present your objectives and goals for the unit on irregular verb tenses to your students.

Review the formula for conjugating regular verbs and the uses for different tenses.

Give several examples of irregular verbs that are used everyday, such as to be, do, see, run, forget, eat, drink and buy.

Provide your students with a list of irregular verbs and their conjugated forms.

Give some examples of using irregular verbs in a sentence. Have your students practice creating sentences that contain irregular verb tenses, such as "I went to the store and bought a book," or "I was there."

Have your students practice using irregular verbs properly. Use handouts that have the irregular verb missing from the sentence or that have the irregular verb conjugated incorrectly. You can find examples of these types of handouts at Exercizes At Grammar Bytes on the website chompchomp.com.

Make memorising the irregular verbs fun. Sing songs about conjugating verbs, like the rap found at Rhythm Rhyme Results (educationalrap.com.) Play games such as Bingo, Tennis, Memory and Matching found at One Stop English (onestopenglish.com.)

Practice is the key to helping your students memorise the irregular verbs. Give them plenty of time in class and with homework to use irregular verb tenses.

Tip

If a student conjugates an irregular verb incorrectly, don't automatically correct the verb, tell the student that she was close and have her try again.

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About the Author

Melanie Ann Boczarski has been writing professionally since 2009. She was first published in "The Spectrum" in 2006. She received her Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Buffalo in 2007.