Basics of writingVerb tenses

Verbs with the same form in present and past tenses and past participle

From Rick:

In my editing I sometimes encounter a case where the author gets a verb’s past tense wrong. Here are three errors I’ve encountered a few times. These are incorrect:

He broadcasted his location over the radio.

The weatherman forecasted that it would rain today.

The knight thrusted his sword into the thief.

There are more verbs than we realize whose present tense, past tense, and past participles are the same and don’t take the normal -ed endings of regular verbs. Most of them are common enough that we take them for granted: put, hurt, bet, shut, let, quit, and several others.

He puts his money in the bank every week.
He put his money in the bank yesterday.
He has always put his money in the bank.

In the list below, note that some of these verbs exist in two acceptable forms, with or without the -ed ending. For some, the -ed form is more common; for others the opposite is the case.

Of course, the language is constantly changing, so we may see some of these less common forms shift into common use, just as “sunk” is now an acceptable past tense of “sink” (instead of “sank”) and “drank” has become an acceptable past participle of “drink” instead of “drunk.”

So pay attention to these and to avoid errors in your writing.

However, all is fair when it comes to adding color to the language of some of your characters. Just know that you’re doing this intentionally, not out of ignorance as a writer.

NOTE: The following table is one I put together from data from several sources. You’re free to copy or print it. (And if you’re wondering, it was a bit of a pain to format it because I’m not super html savvy.)

Present Simple past Past participle
(1st/3rd person) (1st & 3rd same) (only one form)
bet/bets bet bet
bid/bids bid bid
broadcast/broadcasts broadcast broadcast
burst/bursts burst burst
cast/casts cast cast
cost/costs cost cost
cut/cuts cut cut
fit/fits fit fit
forecast/forecasts forecast forecast
hit/hits hit hit
hurt/hurts hurt hurt
input/inputs input/-ted input/-ted
knit/knits knit/-ted knit/-ted
let/lets let let
miscast/miscasts miscast miscast
offset/offsets offset offset
preset/presets preset preset
put/puts put put
quit/quits quit/-ted quit/-ted
read/reads read read
recast/recasts recast recast
retrofit/retrofits retrofit/-ted retrofit/-ted
rid/rids rid/-ded rid/-ded
set/sets set set
shed/sheds shed shed
shut/shuts shut shut
slit/slits slit slit
spit/spits spit/spat spit/spat
split/splits split split
spread/spreads spread spread
sublet/sublets sublet sublet
sweat/sweats sweat/-ed sweat/-ed
thrust/thrusts thrust thrust
typecast/typecasts typecast typecast
upset/upsets upset upset
wed/weds wed/-ded wed/-ded
wet/wets wet/-ted wet/-ted


While the present and past tense of “read” are spelled the same, we’re all aware of the different pronunciation (reed/red).

“Spat” is primarily used in the UK, while “spit is used in the US.

“Quitted” is rare in the US, but more common in the UK.

For some of these, one form is more formal, while the other is more informal.

The verb “slit” has two different uses. When used in the sense of cutting, the past and participle is “slit.” When used to refer to the eyes being barely open, then the past tense is “slitted” (He slitted his eyes to keep out the bright light.) “Slitted” is also an adjective referring to something having slits.


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