This research is intended to determine how irregular verb usage has evolved during the last century and to produce the most complete and up-to-date irregular verb reference on the Internet.
These current dictionaries provide information on over 470 verbs and include infinitive, simple past and past participle forms. In some situations, multiple simple past or past participle forms are included. Forms which are listed first are more frequently used in modern English. [More Info] In addition, information on the differences between British and American irregular verb usage has been included. [More Info]
Each entry in our dictionary links into OneLook Dictionary Search, which provides definitions, translations into select languages and links to additional reference sources (some of which include recorded pronunciations). Problematic or confusing forms are followed by the symbol [?], which links into suplementary information on that form.
In some situations, multiple simple past or past participle forms are included in 's Irregular Verb Dictionary and Extended Irregular Verb Dictionary. Based on 's research, forms which are listed first are more frequently used in modern English.
Our tests were conducted on the Internet using a variety of highly targeted searches of English language media sources, electronic texts, and the World Wide Web. In some situations, a form may only be listed in the Extended Irregular Verb Dictionary because it was determined that the form was either extremely rare or antiquated.
Although many textbooks and dictionaries clearly list specific irregular verb forms as "American" or "British," 's research has clearly shown that very few irregular verb forms are exclusively British or American.
Most of our research has shown that virtually every irregular verb form traditionally listed as "British" frequently shows up in American media and web texts. The frequency of these occurences excludes the possibility that these texts have been produced by British English speakers living in the United States. In addition, virtually every "American" form tested not only showed up in British media sources and web texts, but in most cases, they actually showed up more frequently than the traditionally "British" forms.
This is not to say that there are no significant differences in irregular verb usage between American and British English speakers. However, our research does indicate that these differences tend to be highly exaggerated. For more specific information on our conclusions, visit the following links:
T-forms include: burnt, clapt, crept, dealt, dreamt, dwelt, felt, leant, leapt, learnt, meant, spelt, smelt, spilt, spoilt, stript, vext
T-forms can be divided into two categories: those with a vowel change and those without a vowel change.
T-forms with a vowel change include: crept, dealt, dreamt, felt, leapt, meant
The t-forms with a vowel change are still very common in modern English. In fact, crept, dealt, felt and meant are the only accepted forms. In the case of dreamt and leapt, although dreamt and leapt are still quite common and acceptable in both written and spoken English, the regular forms dreamed and leaped seem to be more popular in modern usage.
T-forms without a vowel change include: burnt, clapt, dwelt, leant, learnt, spelt, smelt, spilt, spoilt, stript, vext
The t-forms without a vowel change are slowly disappearing from the language. Dwelt is the only form in this category which is more frequently used than the regular -ed form. Burnt, leant and learnt are still relatively common in spoken English and fairly common in written English. Spelt, smelt, spilt and spoilt are quickly disappearing. Stript, clapt and vext are rarely used in contemporary English. For this reason, they are only listed in our Extended Irregular Verb Dictionary.
It should be noted that although many t-forms are listed in texts as distinctly "British" forms, our research indicates they are disappearing in British English as well.
Betted, quitted and wetted are often listed as "British" forms. In reality, our research indicates the irregular forms bet, quit and wet are more common than the regular forms in both American and British English. Although the irregular forms are preferred, the regular forms betted, quitted and wetted are still used in contemporary English in both America and, more commonly, in Britain.
Most English speakers use the form clothed as the simple past and past participle of to clothe. However, clad is still often used as an adjective to mean "dressed in." Our research turned up many such examples:
clad in protective clothing
One of the few significant differences that we found between American irregular verbs and British irregular verbs was with the form fitted.
In British English, the form fitted seems to be preferred.
In American English, the situation appears to be more complicated. Our research indicates that Americans generally prefer the simple past and past participle form fit. However, when the verb fit is used to mean "to tailor," they seem to prefer fitted.
With the verb shine, the form shined is preferred in everyday English, possibly because shone sounds too much like the form shown, which is the past participle of show. However, in Internet searches the form shone occurs quite frequently because of its use in literary English.
For the verb got, gotten is often listed as the American past participle and got as the British past participle. Our research shows that gotten is actually more common than got in British English. This is also true for the verb forget.
The situation is complicated by the fact that have got is often used to mean "to have" or "must" such as in the following examples:
I've got five dollars.
I've got to go soon.