Irregular Verbs Overview

As you have seen, irregular verbs do not exactly follow standard patterns of conjugation, though they retain many of the suffixes we see in other verb declensions. Once you know that a verb is irregular, and are aware of major stem changes, like 'ga' to 'eode' or 'eom' to 'wæs' you should be able to figure out the number and tense of the word.

Pay attention to the differences that make these verbs irregular. For example, the vowel in the stem of don - to do changes to 'y' in the past tense. The verbs beon - to be, wesan - to be, and gan - to go borrow their past tense from another verb, so it is not immediately apparent they're related. Lastly, willan - to want has distinctive inflections which aren't seen in other verbs.

Fremman - to do
1st fremme fremede
2nd fremest fremedest
3rd fremeþ fremede
Plural fremmaþ fremedon
Nerian - to save
1st nerie nerede
2nd nerest neredest
3rd nereþ nerede
Plural neriaþ neredon
Hieran - to hear
1st hiere hierde
2nd hierst hierdest
3rd hierþ hierde
Plural hieraþ hierdon

An important thing to remember about 'beon' and 'wesan' is that they are used to mean slightly different forms of being. For example, the verb 'wesan' is generally used to express the present form of 'to be'. For example, 'Se stan is micel - the stone is big'. While 'beon' tends to be used to express permanent truths or the future tense. For example, 'I am your God'.

Ic
Pronoun
beo
Verb
ðin
Possessive
God
Object

Se
Demon.
stan
Subject
is
Verb
micel
Adjective

Similarly, the verb 'gan - to go' is used in specific situations while other verbs of motion, such as 'feran' or 'wendan', are used to describe different types of travel. The difference between 'gan' and 'feran' is 'feran' more specifically means to 'set out' or 'journey' and so is more likely to be used when discussing long distances and non-finite forms of travel, while 'gan' is more likely to be used for shorter journeys and more finite forms of travel. So 'she journey's to the mountains' would be written with 'ferþ' if the mountains were far away, while 'she goes to the mountains' would be written with 'gæþ' if she was going there and staying there.

Heo
Pronoun
ferþ
Verb
to
Prep.
þæm
Demon.
beorgum
Object

Heo
Demon.
gæþ
Subject
to
Prep.
þæm
Demon.
beorgum
Object
Beon - to be
Present Past
1st Person Singular beo wæs
2nd Person Singular bist wære
3rd Person Singular biþ wæs
Plural beoþ wæron
Wesan - to be
Present Past
1st Person Singular eom wæs
2nd Person Singular eart wære
3rd Person Singular is wæs
Plural sind wæron
Don - to do
Present Past
1st Person Singular do dyde
2nd Person Singular dest dydest
3rd Person Singular deþ dyde
Plural doþ dydon
Gan - to go
Present Past
1st Person Singular ga eode
2nd Person Singular gæst eodest
3rd Person Singular gæþ eode
Plural gaþ eodon
Willan - to want
Present Past
1st Person Singular wille wolde
2nd Person Singular wilt woldest
3rd Person Singular wile wolde
Plural wilaþ woldon

Feel free to practice the irregular verbs below so you can get more comfortable with them. When you are ready, continue on to the next module. You can download a pdf of this module using the link below. The pdfs contain a glossary of all vocabulary used in the module.


Test Your Conjugations!

In the textboxes below, fill out the fully declined version of the verb.


Use these buttons to insert thorn, ash and eth when you have an input selected.