A friend of mine who is trying to learn English recently asked me a question which has me bamboozled…

He asked "How many IRREGULAR verbs are there in the English Language?"

If you look at the site: http://www.englishpage.com/irregularverbs/irregularverbs.html
it has well over 200.

But then the page "Complete List of English Irregular Verbs by Susan Jones" has a shorter list (http://www.gsu.edu/~wwwesl/egw/jones.htm - the actual list is at: http://www.gsu.edu/~wwwesl/egw/verbs.htm).

I'm confused! Where can I find a definitive real COMPLETE list?!



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Mister Micawber has a excellent point concerning irregular verbs which have become obsolete. I did a count myself once, and I left out any verb that is hardly ever used in modern English, such as "smite", and I left out any verb that is a prefixed compound of another with the same pattern, such as "withhold", which has the same pattern as "hold".

There is room for disagreement about which verbs are old enough or rare enough to be excluded, so lists will naturally differ.

The count I arrived at was 150.

Hope that helps.
Can you use light as a totally weak verb already?

As far as I know, the strong form "lit" is still used and can't be replaced by lighted, except it is used adjectively: "A lighted candle".
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Bob, it's more a matter of how many of our irregular verbs are considered to be still in use. Many are obsolete or obsolescent, like 'bedight, bedight, bedight'; others are changing into regular verbs, like 'light, lit/lighted. lit/lighted'. Chaucer and Shakespeare are full of irregular verbs that you cannot even understand without a gloss.

So I do not think you will find a 'definitive' list of irregular verbs. A list of about 200 of the most 'common', though, is indeed all anyone will find useful today.
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you did a good job: It is indeed about 150-200 verbs which are regarded to be strong today (not included are those with prefixes).

Any list of today's English verbs usually consists of maximal 200 strong ones, about 120-150 of them are still quite important to learn.

Ablaut-rows can be a big help here as you'll see that most verbs have many 'partners' that conjugate in the same way, for example:
sing-sang-sung goes like swim-swam-swum, stink-stank-stunk, shrink-shrank-shrunk, drink-drank-drunk
blow-blew-blown goes like grow-grew-grown, etc. etc.
I agree with you boys as to the issue of some verbs once considered irregular becoming now obsolete verbs which few people use or understand. In my opinion there are no more than 200 irregular verbs.