Spelling Rules: Past Tense of Regular Verbs

The following rules will help you learn how to add ~ed to the end of verbs to form the past tense. These rules only apply to verbs that use the ~ed ending to form their past tense. Here is a list of the most common irregular verbs that do not use ~ed to form their past tense.

  • If a verb ends with a consonant + e, the past tense is formed by adding ~d.

  • Examples:

    believe - believe + d = believed

    race - race + d = raced

  • If a verb ends with one vowel and a consonant, the past tense is formed by doubling the consonant and adding ~ed.

  • Examples:

    hop - hop + ped = hopped

    skip - skip + ped = skipped

  • If a verb ends with two vowels and a consonant, the past tense is formed by adding ~ed. DO NOT double the consonant.

  • Examples:

    snoop - snoop + ed = snooped

    look - look + ed = looked

  • If a verb ends with two consonants, the past tense is formed by adding ~ed.

  • Examples:

    reign - reign + ed = reigned

    watch - watch + ed = watched

  • If a verb ends with a consonant + y, the past tense is formed by changing the ~y to ~I and then adding ed.

  • Examples:

    cry - cri + ed = cried

    study - studi + ed = studied

  • If a verb ends with a vowel + y, the past tense is formed by adding ed. DO NOT change the ~y to ~i.

  • Examples:

    stay - stay + ed = stayed

    play - play + ed = played

    Exceptions to the rules.

    Do not double the consonant if the verb end in ~x.

    Do not double the ~w in snow. (snow - snow + ed = snowed)

    Two syllable verbs

    Two syllable verbs that is in one vowel and one consonant and have the stress on the first syllable form their past tense by simply adding ~ed. DO NOT double the last consonant.

    Examples:

    visit - visit + ed = visited

    open _ open + ed = opened

    Two syllable verbs that is in one vowel and one consonant and have the stress on the last syllable form their past tense by doubling the final consonant and adding ~ed.

    Examples:

    occur - occur + red = occurred

    prefer - prefer + red = preferred