Past tense of READ and Past Participle of READ (Audio, Quiz, and PDF)

Past tense of READ and Past Participle of READ

The past tense of the verb to read is read. The present tense, past tense, and past participle of READ are spelled the same but they are pronounced differently. 

  • “We read history books at school.” Present [REED]
  •  “I read 6 books last summer.” Past [RED]
  •  “They have read all the books in the library.” Past Participle [RED]

To READ – verb conjugation

Infinitive to read [pronunciation] TO REED
“I like to read crime novels.”
Present tense read [pronunciation] REED
“We read history books at school.”
Present tense third-person singular reads [pronunciation] REEDS
“He reads history books at school.”
Past tense read [pronunciation] RED
“I read 6 books last summer.”
Past participle read [pronunciation] RED
“They have read all the books in the library.”
Future tense (Just decided) will read [pronunciation] REED
“If you can’t sleep I’ll read to you before bed.” 
Future tense (Planned activity) TO BE reading [pronunciation] REEDING
“I love the new book by Dan Brown. I’m reading it as soon as I get home tonight, I can’t wait.”
Continuous reading [pronunciation] REEDING
“I’m reading the biography of Steve Jobs now.”
The Continuous form, reading, can be used as a noun. (This is called a gerund in English grammar)
“My grandfather always loved reading books, he read 3 books every week.” *In this sentence, the verb is loved, reading books is a noun phrase, not a verb.

To READ – verb conjugation AUDIO

Students often ask me – What is the past tense of read? How do you pronounce it correctly?
Great questions deserve great answers. Let me share what I found!

present tense, past tense, and the past participle of read

The verb TO READ

The verb to read means – to look at and understand the meaning of written or printed words or symbols
Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries read

READ is an irregular verb, the past tense of READ does not end in _ED.

Read can be a confusing verb because the present tense, the past tense, and the past participle are spelled the same but they are pronounced differently.

READ Present Tense pronunciation

The present tense of READ sounds like REED ~ “I read the newspaper every morning.”

READ Past Tense pronunciation

The past tense of READ sounds like RED ~ “I read that book when I was in high school.”

READ Past Participle pronunciation

The past participle of READ also sounds like RED ~ “These books are read all over the world.” (This example is the passive voice.)

So the 3 forms of the verb read look like this

read (REED) present
read (RED) past
read (RED) past participle

Let’s read (REED) some more present tense, past tense, and past participle examples.

  • A: “Have you read [RED] the new Harry Potter book?”
    B: “Not yet. My Dad read [RED] it and he said it was good. I will read [REED] it on the flight to Canada in August.”
    Past, Past, Present
  • “I bought the new Dan Brown book but I haven’t read [RED] it yet.”
    Past Participle

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Past Participle of READ - past or past participle?

How can I tell the difference between the past and the past participle?

This is a great question. The past participle is used with the Passive voice and the Present Perfect Tense. We can tell the difference by looking at the words used in the sentences.

Simple Past tense will follow a subject.

My Dad read the book and he said it was good.
(My Dad is the subject of this sentence, READ is the simple past tense.)

Mark Twain was an American writer. He lived from 1835 to 1910. He wrote many popular books and traveled across Europe and America. 
(Mark Twain is the subject of these sentences. The verbs in the story are all the simple past tense.)

Transitive and Intransitive verbs with PDF download

More examples:

  • I sprayed my mask with bacteria killer after I wore it. Now I can use it again.
  • Simon bought a new computer yesterday.
  • We played soccer on Friday and we won!

*sprayed, bought, played, and won are all verbs in the past tense.

You can learn more about the Simple Past tense here.
https://worldenglishblog.com/step-by-step-english-grammar-verbs-past-tense/

Passive voice uses the verb TO BE (am, is, are, was, were) plus the past participle form of the verb in the main action.  

If the subject of our sentence gets or receives something – something happens to the subject of our sentence – we use the Passive Voice

“These books are read all over the world.” are + the past participle = Passive voice

More examples:

  • “The hotel room was cleaned at 9:30 AM.”
  • “The lost and found office at the station is full of umbrellas that were forgotten on the train.”
  • “The flowers will be delivered next Tuesday.”

*cleaned, forgotten, and delivered are all verbs in the past participle form.

You can learn more about the passive voice here. https://worldenglishblog.com/use-the-passive-voice-in-english-20-real-examples/

Present Perfect Tense is HAVE/HAS + the past participle form of a verb.

This verb tense is called the present perfect, but it is still talking about a past action. The auxiliary verb TO HAVE will be used in the present tense.

 “Have you read the new Harry Potter book?” HAVE + the past participle = Present perfect

More examples:

  • “I have just eaten lunch so I’m not hungry.” 
  • Have you been to the new café on Front Street? I heard it’s really good.”
  • “Erica’s contact lens has fallen out.”

*eaten, been, and fallen are all verbs in the past participle form.

You can learn more about the Present Perfect tense here. https://worldenglishblog.com/learn-present-perfect-tense/

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READ – Past tense and Past Participle infographic

READ - Past tense and Past Participle infographic

The Past Participle – Deeper study

Let me explain the past participle English grammar with some other verbs and more examples.

We will start with a common example that you’ve probably heard before. Eaten. (This is the past participle of the verb TO EAT.)

Present tense – eat
Past tense – ate
Past participle – eaten

  • I eat pizza twice a month.
  • I ate pizza yesterday.
  • By the time I got to the party the pizza was already eaten.

We learned that one way we use the past participle is the Present perfect tense.

“I like to eat interesting food. I ate alligator in Sao Paulo Brazil, but I HAVE never eaten whale.”

The Present perfect tense uses the past participle with the auxiliary (helper) verb HAS/HAVE.


Another common example – The verb to go

Present tense – go
Past tense – went
Past participle – gone

Dennis: “I’m gonna go to the store. Does anybody need anything?”
Derrick: “We need milk but I went to the store an hour ago and they are sold out.”
Dylan: “Has Dennis gone yet? We need more rice.”

The verb TO GO can also be used in the perfect tense with BEEN.

TO GO past participle – GONE vs. BEEN

Been is the past participle of the verb TO BE.
Been is used as the past participle of GO when somebody has gone somewhere and come back. (This is very common.)

“I want to go back to Sao Paulo, Brazil one day. Have you ever been there?”

*This is asking have you gone to Sao Paulo before?
Been is used as the past participle of go when somebody has gone somewhere and come back.

We are not in Brazil now, so if the person has visited Sao Paulo in the past they have already come back. (Of course!) – Gone somewhere and come back.

Compare BEEN with GONE

“Jessie isn’t here now. He HAS gone to work.”

*Jessie is not in the place where the people are speaking.

Past Participle as an Adjective

The past participle verb form can be used as an adjective. When GONE is used as an adjective it can be used with people or things.

A: Is Jerry here?
B: No, he was gone before I arrived.

Jerry is away from this place.

A: Can I have a coffee, please?
B: Sorry, the coffee is all gone.

The coffee is used up. There is none left.

Sometimes the past participle and the past tense are the same. For example, the past tense and the past participle of the verb TO BUY is bought.

Present tense – buy
Past tense – bought
Past participle – bought

“Have you ever bought something expensive and then felt bad about it after?”

The past participle of the verb TO BUY is bought. Have you ever bought something expensive and then felt bad about it after?

Most regular verbs will use the same spelling and pronunciation for the past participle.
*A regular verb is a verb with a past tense ending in _ed.

PRESENTPASTPAST PARTICIPLE
playplayedplayed
openopenedopened
walkwalkedwalked
allowallowedallowed
looklookedlooked
spraysprayedsprayed

An exception is the verb TO SHOW.
*Showed is possible as the past participle but it is rare. Shown is much more common.

PRESENTPASTPAST PARTICIPLE
showshowedshown
  • Can I show you something? (present)
  • The station staff showed me how to use the ticket machine. (past)
  • Your paintings are amazing! Have you ever shown them to a museum? (past participle)

How to use Modal Verbs – Can Could May Might (Quiz)

Not all verbs have the same past and past participle.
Here are some common verbs whose past tense is not the same as the past participle.

PresentPastPast Participle
awakeawokeawaken
choosechosechosen
flyflewflown
seesawseen
taketooktaken
forgetforgotforgotten
growgrewgrown
fallfellfallen
sinksanksunk
https://www.fluentu.com/blog/english/past-tense-vs-past-participle/

The past participle is also used as an adjective. Adjectives will follow the verb TO BE like the passive voice.

Compare Adjectives and Passive voice

Adjectives describe a state or condition. A noun usually follows the adjective.

The lost and found office at the station is full of forgotten umbrellas.

Passive voice describes what happened, is happening or will happen to the subject of the sentence. In the passive voice, the past participle will end a sentence or be followed by a preposition. Often the preposition BY.

The lost and found office at the station is full of umbrellas that were forgotten.
The lost and found office at the station is full of umbrellas that were forgotten BY tired passengers.

Take the READ Past and Past Participle QUIZ
Test your English!

9 read (REED) or read (RED) questions with 9 short video answers.

Watch the video below to review the grammar and improve your English listening skills!

Listen to the Audio Podcast on SoundCloud. More chances to improve your English listening skills. There is an audio script below the SoundCloud audio player.

Past participle of read – Podcast script

In English, there is a verb form that we use called the past participle. A common example of this verb form is eaten

Present tense – eat

Past tense – ate

Past participle – eaten

We often use it with the auxiliary verb HAS/HAVE 

“I like to eat interesting food. I ate alligator in Sao Paulo Brazil, but I HAVE never eaten whale.”

Been is used as the past participle of go when somebody has gone somewhere and come back.

“I want to go back to Sao Paulo one day. Have you ever been there?”

Sometimes the past participle and the past tense are the same.
Present tense – buy
Past tense – bought
Past participle – bought

“Have you ever bought something expensive and then felt bad about it after?”

Read can be a confusing verb because the present tense and the past tense are spelled the same but they are pronounced differently.

“I like to read.” 

“I read that book when I was in high school.” 

“These books are read all over the world.”

So the 3 forms of the verb read look like this

read (REED)

read (RED)

read (RED)

Let’s read some examples and practice the pronunciation:

A: “Have you read [RED] the new Harry Potter book?”
B: “Not yet. My Dad read [RED] it and he said it was good. I will read [REED] it on the flight to Canada in August.”

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