The Past Tense of Reading – Learning Irregular Verbs

If you have been following our previous posts on irregular verbs, you will know by now that they can be very tricky. We have already discussed paid and caught but now it is time to move on to read – one of the trickiest irregular verbs in the English language.

The Past Tense of Reading - Learning Irregular Verbs - Simply Better English
The Past Tense of Reading – Learning Irregular Verbs – Simply Better English

WHAT MAKES READ COMPLICATED?

Read is complicated because the spelling of the verb does not change in the past, present and future tenses. So, when encountering the verb while reading, your pronunciation depends on the context of the sentences. Ok, sounds easy but how do you know which pronunciation to use? Read can rhyme with either seed or bed, two very different sounds. No stress! Just follow these easy tips and you will have the verb down in no time.

WHEN READ RHYMES WITH SEED

The Past Tense of Reading - Learning Irregular Verbs - SImply Better English
The Past Tense of Reading – Learning Irregular Verbs – SImply Better English

When you pronounce read to rhyme with seed, the definition of the verb means “to look at and comprehend the meaning of (written or printed matter) by mentally interpreting the characters or symbols of which it is composed.”

  • Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is what my sister told me to read.
  • Learning how to read at a young age is an achievement.
  • I don’t want to read horror stories.

But did you know that read can also be a noun? It usually refers to “a written or printed matter that is entertaining to read”.

  • The Harry Potter series was such a good read.
  • An erotic novel is never a good read for children.

WHEN READ RHYMES WITH BED

The Past Tense of Reading - Learning Irregular Verbs - Simply Better English
The Past Tense of Reading – Learning Irregular Verbs – Simply Better English

The read that rhymes with bed is also a verb and has the same meaning as when it rhymes with seed. However, when it is pronounced so that it rhymes with bed, it becomes the simple past tense of the verb read.

  • My mother read my rants on Facebook last night and she was not happy.
  • I feel guilty that I read your diary the other day.
  • Jeremy read his poems aloud during last week’s contest.

So you don’t confuse the two, remember: if you read a book in the past, it must rhyme with bed. If you will read a book in the future, it must rhyme with seed.

Let’s have some more examples?

  • The lawyer will read (rhymes with seed) to us my grandfather’s last will and testament tomorrow.
  • Isabela read (rhymes with bed) Of Mice and Men when she was still in high school.
  • I don’t want to read (rhymes with sees) scary stories for my little sister because I have read (rhymes with bed) her one before and she cried.

Don’t fret if you are unable to grasp the difference right at the beginning. Remember, this is one of the most complicated irregular verbs there is. Just practice, practice, practice and soon it will come naturally.

For more tips on learning English, click here.

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