In this post, I offer a set of activities for teaching 9 English irregular verbs. I have tested the sequence in class several times, and I have tried to improve it to get even better results. Right now I feel that the following sequence will ensure that students will learn the past tense of at least seven of these verbs.
The sequence contains the following steps: a vocabulary activity, reading and comprehension questions, a listening drill, a Grammar Up activity, a crossword, a wordsearch, a word order activity and a speaking exercise.
English irregular verbs – vocabulary
First ask your students to translate the following list of words into their mother tongue. If you teach an international group of students, ask them to use their own dictionaries and elicit or demonstrate the meaning of the words.
English irregular verbs – reading
Ask the students to read the following story and answer the comprehension questions below.
Read the text and put the actions into the order in which they happened:
Yesterday was a bad day. First I forgot to do my homework and my teacher was angry. I left school at 2 o´clock and I thought that everything was OK. I went home by tram and someone stole my money. Then I lost my keys and I couldn´t get into my house. So I went out, but I fell and broke my leg. In the evening I ate a bad sausage and then I had a stomach ache. It was a really bad day.
Put the actions into the correct order
have stomach ache
eat a bad sausage
someone steals his money
teacher be angry
cannot get into house
English irregular verbs – Listening drill
Watch the following video and then listen and repeat the sentences.
English irregular verbs – Grammar Up
Here is an unusual exercise for your students. It is called Grammar Up. The students should read the text and add the missing grammar to it. All the verbs are CAPITALISED, and students should put them into the past tense. Instead of articles asterisks * are used, and all the prepositions are replaced with dashes -.
Yesterday BE * bad day. First I FORGET – do my homework and my teacher BE angry. I LEAVE school – 2 o´clock and I THINK that everything BE OK. I GO home – tram and someone STEAL my money. Then I LOSE my keys and I CANNOT get into my house. So I GO out, but I FALL and BREAK my leg. – * evening I EAT * bad sausage and then I HAVE * stomach ache. It BE * really bad day.
English irregular verbs – crossword
The next task is very popular with students. They should solve the crossword using the past tense of the missing verbs.
English irregular verbs – word order
In the following exercise students should put the parts in bold into the correct order.
English irregular verbs – wordsearch
The following task is quite simple. Students should find the past tenses of the verbs in the wordsearch.
English irregular verbs – speaking
In the last task of the series students should retell the story, using the clues. They have to tell the story in the past tense.
7. Retell the story. Use the clues below:
cannot get into my house
have stomach ache
If you would like to have all the activities in one worksheet, you can download the pdf worksheet here.
By now students should be able to remember the nine irregular verbs from this story. If you have time you should play the video again and ask your students to repeat the sentences. I believe that a good way to consolidate your students’ the knowledge of the English irregular verbs is to play the video once per class for a number of classes.