Top Tips for IELTS

Past tenses

First see what you know

A good way to learn a language is to test yourself. Try this brief quiz first to see what you know. The pass mark is 100%. This

test yourself

Irregular verbs

These are REALLY important because they are among the most common verbs in English. That means you must learn them to speak and write accurate English. Here are some suggestions:

  • learn a few at a time (5 a day is a good idea – don’t try and do too much all at once)
  • make it a daily exercise – it’s important to have a routine
  • make sure you know all 3 parts of the verb – you need the third bit (the past participle) for the present perfect and past perfect
  • practise making simple sentences with the verbs to make sure you can use them
  • understand how there are some patterns – if you already know  think – thought – thought then seek – sought – sought should be easy

 Lists of irregular verbs

Some common patterns

As I said earlier it can help to learn verbs in groups. This is because many irregular verbs are irregular in the same way. If you learn one, then you can do all similar verbs.


These verbs are all like think – thought – thought

  • think
  • seek
  • catch
  • teach
  • fight
  • buy
  • bring

xxx – a -u

These verbs are all like sing – sang – sung – the past is made with an “a” and the past participle with a “u”

  • sing
  • run
  • begin
  • ring
  • swim

no change

These verbs are all the same because the past tenses and the past participles are all the same as the base form

  • hit
  • bet
  • bid
  • cost
  • cut
  • hurt
  • let
  • put
  • shut

-en participles

Quite a lot of past participles end in en, including

  • risen
  • beaten
  • bitten
  • driven
  • eaten
  • forgotten
  • written
  • hidden
  • taken
  • spoken

Online exercises on past tenses and the present perfect






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