Lesson plan

Irregular Verbs Review

How do irregular verbs change when they are used in the past tense or past participle form? Use this lesson to review some grammar basics.
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Students will be able to identify and use the past and past participle forms of irregular verbs.

(5 minutes)
  • Write two sentences on the board as examples of the infinitive and past tense forms of a regular verb (i.e., "I will watch a movie. I watched a movie.").
  • Underline the verbs in each sentence and ask students to turn to a partner and discuss the differences they see between the two verbs.
  • Write two more sentences with regular verbs (i.e., "Today I will bake some cookies. Yesterday I baked cookies.").
  • Again, underline the verbs and have students turn to talk with a partner to compare these verbs with the ones in the first set of sentences.
  • Ask students to think about how the verbs changed (the suffix -ed/-d was added in the second sentence of each set) and why they changed (because the second sentence in each example was written in past tense). Call on students to share their answers.
  • Write another set of sentences on the board, this time using an irregular verb (i.e., "I can throw a ball. I already threw a ball.").
  • Underline the verbs and ask students to share what they notice about them.
  • Guide students towards the observation that the verbs in the third set of sentences did not follow the same rules and pattern as the first two sets of verbs.
  • Explain that today we will be reviewing some common irregular verbs, like "throw" and "threw."
(15 minutes)
  • Remind students that past tense refers to things that happened in the past (i.e., yesterday, last week, years ago, or minutes ago).
  • Explain that the past tense of regular verbs is formed by adding the suffix -ed (or -d when a verb ends in "e"). Refer to the examples in the sentences you provided earlier in the lesson (watched/baked) and tell students that these are examples of simple past tense.
  • Tell students that there is another grammatical form called the past participle which is used to form perfect tenses and the passive voice.
  • Write an example on the board, like "She has watched all the movies," and a second example, like "The cookies were baked yesterday."
  • Point out that, when the past participle is used, a regular verb takes the same form as the simple past tense (i.e., it ends with -ed). However, an auxiliary word like "has" or "were" is added in front of the verb.
  • Explain that the past participle can also be used like an adjective in front of a noun.
  • Write an example on the board, like "This baked chicken is delicious."
  • Point out that, in this example, the past tense of the verb "bake" is used to describe a type of chicken rather than being used to describe an action.
  • Divide a piece of chart paper into three columns.
    • Label the first column "infinitive" and explain that this is the base verb. Write the example "watch" under the heading.
    • Label the second column "simple past" and write the example "watched" under the heading.
    • Label the third column "past participle" and write the example "watched" under the heading.
  • Tell students that some verbs are irregular and do not follow the typical rules or patterns for past tense or past participle.
  • Write the word "hide" in the infinitive column on the chart. Then write the past and past participle forms in the following two columns (hid/hidden).
  • Use the past tense form in a sentence (i.e., "We hid under the bed during the storm."). Then, offer an example with the past participle form (i.e., "She had hidden her favorite toy from her brother.").
  • Fill in the chart with several more irregular verbs (i.e., "rise," "build," "eat," "forget," "break," "write," "take," "give," "bite," "steal"). Display the chart for the remainder of the lesson.
  • Ask students to share any patterns or similarities they notice between the irregular verbs (i.e., risen/given or broke/stole).
  • Explain that there are many irregular verbs that are not included on this list, and even though there are sometimes similarities between irregular verbs, they do not follow a consistent set of rules like regular verbs do.
  • Emphasize that students must memorize these irregular verbs.
(10 minutes)
  • Hand out the worksheet "Irregular Verbs."
  • Review the instructions and read through the example section with the students.
  • Use a document camera to display the worksheet and add the past participle form to each row in the example section (i.e. "flown," "eaten").
  • Instruct students to work with a partner to complete the worksheet.
  • Then, challenge students to write the past participle form for each of the verbs in the exercise. (Note: students may write the past participle in the margin next to each sentence.)
  • Explain that if they are unsure about the past participle form, students can try using the verb in a sentence preceded by the auxiliary word "have," as in, "I have flown..." or "I have eaten..."
  • When students are finished, call on volunteers to share irregular verbs from the worksheet to add to the displayed chart.
(10 minutes)
  • Hand out the Found It! worksheet.
  • Instruct students to complete the worksheet independently.
  • Challenge students to write the past participle form of each verb in the margin once they've completed each sentence.
  • Circulate and offer support as needed.


  • Provide opportunities for students to practice with a digital exercise (see optional materials).
  • For struggling students, focus only on the simple past during the lesson.


  • Have students go through a piece of their own writing. Tell them to circle irregular verbs and make spelling corrections if needed.
(10 minutes)
  • Hand out a sheet of lined paper to each student.
  • Instruct students to write a base verb (infinitive) on the top of their paper. Encourage them to use a verb from one of the worksheets or the displayed chart.
  • Once students have written their verb, cover the chart.
  • Tell students to pass their paper to a neighbor.
  • Have students write the past tense of the verb on the paper they recieve.
  • Instruct students to pass the paper again and write a sentence using the past tense on the paper they recieve.
  • Call on students to read their sentences aloud.
  • Have students pass the paper again and write the past participle form of the word on the paper they recieve.
  • Once more, have the students pass the paper and write a sentence using the past participle. (Note: by now, the paper will have been passed to four different students, not including the original owner.)
  • Call on students to read their sentences aloud.
(5 minutes)
  • Show a short video to review the lesson, like "The Cat Song" (see related media).

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