June 22, 2007

Crazy English

This poem jokes with the idea that the past form of English verbs does not always follow a logic... Look at the verbs in bold; their past form is wrong. Can you correct them? Check the answers (and find more activities) here.

The verbs in English are a fright.
How can we learn to read and write?
Today we speak, but first we spoke;
Some faucets leak, but never loke.
Today we write, but first we wrote;
We bite our tongues, but never bote.

Each day I teach, for years I taught;
And preachers preach, but never praught.
This tale I tell, this tale I told;
I smell the flowers, but never smold.
If knights still slay as once they slew,
Then do we play as once we plew?
If I still do as once I did,
Then do cows moo as once they mid?

I love to win, and games I won;
I seldom sin, and never son.
I hate to lose, and games I lost;
I didn't choose, and never chost.
I love to sing, and songs I sang;
I fling the ball, but never flang.
I strike the ball, that ball I struck;
This poem I like, but never luck.

I take a break, a break I took;
I bake a cake, but never book.
I eat that cake, that cake I ate.
I beat an egg, but never bate.
I often swim, as once I swam;
I skim some milk, but never skam.
I fly a kite that once I flew;
I tie a knot, but never tew.

I see the truth, the truth I saw;
I flee from falsehhod, never flaw.
I stand for truth, as once I stood;
I land a fish, but never lood.
About these verbs I sit and think.
These verbs don't fit. They seem to wink
At me, who sat for years and thought
Of verbs that never fat or wought.

Richard Lederer


Nina Lyulkun said...

Dear Monica,

Wonderful poem. Thank you and your friend for sharing it with us.

It's always fun to learn grammar this way. ;-)


Camila Sousa said...


What a great way to learn the verbs in the past!! I loved it and for sure I will use it with my students... Thank you
Camila from Brazil - Uberlândia

Mônica Veado said...

Nina and Camila,
thank you for dropping by and leaving your comment!

I'm glad irregular verbs are not the norm in English! :-)

The Blogging Team said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ronaldo Lima, Jr. said...

Great poem Mônica!

It seems good to work not only with verbs but also with sound patterns!

Thanks for sharing!

Yassihe Sabir said...

Daer Monica,

I saw that poem somtime ago on the internet but I should say that on your blog, it INSPIRED me. I like the activity you make out of it. Very intresting!! I will do it with my adult learners tomorrow morning. (unless there's some copyright!!)


Mônica Veado said...

Hi Yassine,
let me know how it worked! No, there's no copyright on my activity - in fact, I love the idea of sharing it with as many students as possible!