Why Some Verbs Became Irregular Within the History of the English Language

In their regularly informative whiteboard series for Mental Floss , linguist Arika Okrent and illustrator Sean O’Neill verbally and visually explain the history of irregular verbs, why they exist and how certain conjugations have stuck around for such a long time.

If you take a look at the irregular verbs in English, they happen to be some of the ones we use the most. Because we used them so frequently, their forms were reinforced over and over again giving them strength to withstand the changes around them. Less frequent words didn’t get their forms reinforced enough to resist.