Irregular verbs are the bane of your existence when you are first learning to spell. Sometimes it’s instinctual, but if the past tense of ‘know’ is ‘knew’ then why isn’t ‘shew’ the past tense of ‘show’?

Matching games are an excellent way to practice and memorise irregular verbs. Providing your students with lists of past and present tense forms and asking them to match them up is helpful. If that seems a bit boring, you can use cards and variations of the game ‘Memory’ where the past and present tense of a word make a pair.

Most stories are told in past tense so provide your students with a story and ask them to pick out all of the verbs then categorise them as regular or irregular verbs. If they have a bit of trouble with this, get them to write down the present tense of the verbs before they decide if they are regular or irregular.

Writing their own stories in the past tense is also an excellent way to practice past tense verbs. After they have written their stories, you can then use them as a proofreading exercise. First, allow the student to proofread their own work before asking students to swap and proofread each other’s work.

Working in the other direction by converting past tense to present tense can help solidify the relationship in a student’s mind. Get them to talk about a historical figure or event in present tense as if it is happening now. This can also help them to connect better with the past.

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