A poem with a past (past simple, that is!)

Here is a funny poem by Richard Lederer about the past simple tense in English. How irregular! 🙂

Mr. Lederer is an author, speaker, and teacher, as well as a bit of a comedian. His books include A Tribute to Teachers and Anguished English. You can read more about him by clicking here: About Richard Lederer

Pick out the past simple verbs which are correct and the ones which are incorrect. Send it to us in a comment and we’ll tell you if you’re right!


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 they once mid?