“Beat – Beat – Beaten”: Learn Irregular English Verbs Through Expressions!

By Robby

If you are new here please read this first.

Improve Spoken English

Hello my friends foreign English speakers!

I’m back with another English irregular verb, and this time around it’s TO BEAT.

As you know from my previous videos (if you don’t, please watch it HERE, it’s super-important!), you shouldn’t be learning English irregular verbs by repeating and memorizing word strings such as BEAT, BEAT, BEATEN (these are the respective Present, Past and Past Participle forms of the verb TO BEAT).

Instead, you should learn each of those verb forms as part of a word combination and that way you’ll achieve all the following:

  • You’ll avoid getting mixed up when using BEAT and BEATEN in real life;
  • You’ll be able to use these irregular verb forms without much THINKING;
  • You’ll INSTINCTIVELY feel when to use them – just like a native speaker!

So, without a further ado, let’s look at the phrases containing the various forms of the irregular verb TO BEAT, and alternatively you can watch the video or listen to the podcast above to gain even more insight into using the following phrases:

It BEATS me;

I BEAT the traffic on the way to;

BEATEN to death.

Present Tense – BEAT

The present tense of TO BEAT is BEAT (quite obviously!), and here’s a useful phrase – “It BEATS me”.

This expression can be used whenever you’re really confused about some other person’s behavior or decisions, for example, and you’re responding to someone’s question about it:

“Why do you think our boss just signed off John’s request for a three week unpaid leave at the very height of the busy season?” – “It beats me…”

Past Tense – BEAT

This irregular English verb remains the same when used in the Past Tense, and here’s a handy phrase which would normally be used when referring to an event in the recent past: “I BEAT the traffic on the way to… (work, school etc.)”

To beat the traffic simply means that you AVOIDED a heavy traffic jam either by leaving early or taking an alternative route, and here’s a typical way of using this phrase:

“How did you manage to arrive on time while everyone else was at least 15 minutes late?” – “Well, I beat the traffic by taking a backroad only a few people know about!”

Past Participle – BEATEN

The third form of the verb TO BEAT is BEATEN, and while there are other ways of using it (get beaten in some sports or video game, for example), today let’s learn the following expression: “BEATEN to death”.

This expression comes in handy in situations when you have to describe an unfortunate situation when some person has been beaten to death by attackers. It’s a scenario we quite often hear on the radio, so whenever you’re telling your friends or work colleagues about it, you can use this phrase:

“Did you hear about a guy who was beaten to death in the early morning hours just because he refused to share a cigarette?”


There are many other ways of using the three forms of the irregular verb TO BEAT, of course, but the point I’m trying to make here is the following:

Learn how to use them in certain situations by learning useful phrases containing these verbs, and then it’s going to be a whole lot easier for you to remember them!

And by the way – if you’re really interested in improving your spoken English and learning all irregular verbs contextually, check out the English Harmony System HERE – it’s stuffed full with irregular verbs and you’ll learn how to use them instinctively, without much thinking at all!


Robby 😉

English Idiomatic Expressions

P.S. Are you serious about your spoken English improvement? Check out the English Harmony System HERE!

English Harmony System
  • Nick Kalpazanov

    What you’ve done so far goes to show your drive and ambition to become fluent.After all, one of the hardest things in life to learn is which bridges to cross and which bridges to burn; it’s by no means certain you’re pretty much there Robby.Keep it up!


  • Gee

    What would be correct Alice beat Gus to the finish line or Alice beats Gus to the finish line. How will the meaning change ? Can you give a third-person present tense example with (his or her) and the word beats.

  • Yes, I guess it remains to be seen how efficient it would be to use the EH approach to learning a very similar language.

    I couldn’t have imagined that Finnish and Estonian are SO similar; Latvian and Lithuanian are a far cry from such a degree of similarity so I can actually understand your issues of getting the languages mixed up.

    But then again – if they’re so similar, maybe it’s actually an advantage if you look at the bigger picture? I mean – yes, you’re going to have to deal with a lot of confusion, but at the same time you won’t have to learn plenty of vocab and the two will balance each other out!

    I guess you’d be able to tell it for real only when living in an Estonian environment, and I’m sure the surroundings also play a significant role in making sure meanings of words and sentences are understood correctly. After all, you mentioned associations yourself and I also strongly believe that if you were to spend a lot of time in an Estonian environment, words would start sorting themselves differently in your head.

    Lastly, my Latvian accent.

    It wasn’t because of Russian influence – my Latvian is by no means influenced by Russian (as a matter of fact, I haven’t been speaking in Russian much lately and the odd time I have to do it I struggle bit time simply because of the lack of practice!) – it was actually ENGLISH that made my Latvian sound accented.

    I realized after making the video that I was speaking in Latvian with an English intonation, if you like, and it’s quite interesting actually!

    Thanks and chat soon again,


  • Juhapekka

    Hi Robby

    But actually, this is coincidence because I heard as if you would have spoken Latvian with some kind of slight accent which sounded untypical for those Latvians I have heard before in TV or in Internet. But I thought this accent difference was only in my imagination or then it was because of regional differences between Latvian dialects or because of Russian language had affected your accent more than those Latvians I had heard before in TV. But maybe we’re not talking about the same thing in your Latvian accent.

    And speaking more about Estonian and Finnish languages. Estonian is sometimes somewhat similar than Finnish: “one, two, three” is “yksi, kaksi, kolme” in Finnish, for example. But why does I sometimes get confused about Estonian language? Few more reasons come to my mind: Firstly, I am already so used to the fact that all foreign languages are completely different for me. And this fact alone can explain my confusion somewhat. Secondly, You probably know these distorting mirrors in carnivals or in circuses. Estonian language sounds for me like the distorted mirror image of Finn is speaking for me but I can’t still understand the speaker or then I understand him incorrectly. Probably Estonians feel similarly when Finns are speaking though I have heard that older Estonian generations know Finnish language often really well but younger don’t. But I don’t know what is the feeling between Latvians and Lithuanians or between Spanish and Portuguese people. Thirdly, my aforementioned “false friend words” makes Estonian so confusing for me because I have already very strong associations between some words and meanings. I try to simulate the situation a little bit in English: If Estonian would say “You have a big bed in your bedroom” in Estonian language I’d understand it instinctively that it means “You have a big gun in your bedroom” based on my very strong associations in my native language that the word “bed” means “gun”. In real context it’d be: “Sul on suur ase magamistoas!” in Estonian language and Finns would understand it instinctively but incorrectly. In Finnish the same sentence would be “Sul on suur sänky makuuhuoneessas!” in spoken language and “Sinulla on suuri sänky makuuhuoneessasi!” in written “correct” language. But perhaps people often overemphasize these “false friend words”. And some grammar structures can have different purposes in Estonian and in Finnish and this makes things more complicated. But these details aside, I guess it all boils down to associations once again and it’s difficult to modify your associations in these kind of situations but perhaps the context is saviour in these kind of situations: When Estonian say something and I know he is Estonian, I can understand him correctly in the right Estonian context because my previous very strong associations have been born in Finnish context but this requires that I have to learn Estonian like any other foreigner would have to learn the foreign language! But I’m not sure this approach really works in the long run in real life and therefore this can be merely the speculation.

    Having said all this I have to admit that I have never learned Estonian at all but I hope I shed some light on this topic. But in any case I’m sure that the EH approach works well when learning sufficiently different languages but I’m not sure about it when learning too similar languages. The main problem is to avoid confusion and mixing up the languages.

  • Hi Juhapekka,

    I’m glad you liked the sound of my language, but truth be told – I actually sound a bit weird in the video, it almost sounds as if I’m speaking in Latvian with an accent for some reason! 😉

    Anyway, speaking of Latvian and Estonian – unfortunately I don’t know any Estonian; I’ve only been to Estonia a few times in my life so I wouldn’t know a single word – except for counting from one to three. After all – Russian fulfills the role of lingua franca in the post-Soviet countries anyway, so it’s either that for older folks like me and my parents generation or English for the youngsters when visiting Estonia, I guess.

    My personal opinion on whether it’s easier to learn a language that’s related to the one you already know or a completely new one from a completely different language group – I think that the whole related language thing is grossly over-rated.

    Let’s take Russian and Polish, for example. There’s plenty of vocabulary shared between the two languages, yet in order to speak I’d have to learn it from scratch. Yes, it would be a little help at times, but it’s still a brand new language.

    Latvian and Lithuanian – they’re also related, and I’ve heard people say that Latvians and Lithuanians can converse with each other using one or the other language. Nothing could be further from the truth! Yes, there’s similarities, but they’re very, very different at the same time!

    I’ve also spoken to a Spanish chap about speaking in Portuguese and he said that despite the prevalent notion that they’re very similar languages, it’s not the case in real life.

    I guess that people just like finding similarities and point them out, but it probably accounts for less than 1% of the total vocabulary so it’s not anywhere near enough to serve as a sufficient active vocabulary in terms of conversations.

    Speaking of why you sometimes got confused when trying to analyze some Estonian – I guess you do it in close connection with your own language in which case it’d be the same as developing an English fluency issue while trying to learn and speak the English language by translating to and from your native tongue!

    I mean – if you started learning Estonian seriously using the EH approach (learn meanings of basic words and then move onto collocations and phrases and explain new words using other Estonian words), I don’t think you’d be all that confused because you’d leave Finnish out of the equation.

    But that’s just me talking – someone who has no experience trying to learn Estonian while being a native Finnish speaker, so maybe there are some other factors at play that I’m not aware of!

    On the finishing note – of course it’s amazing that we can all use English as the common language to express your thoughts and opinions in relation to what interests us, it really is great and keep up the good work Juhapekka!

    Chat soon,


  • Juhapekka

    It was nice surprise, Robby, that you spoke Latvian. It’s quite a beautiful language but I don’t understand any word. Latvian may be completely different than Estonian which is probably the only relatively big foreign language for me in the world I can understand at least a little bit without learning the language. There are still quite many “false friend words” in Estonian and therefore it’s too easy to mix up some Estonian and Finnish words. This mixing up confuses me sometimes so much that I sometimes think it’s much better to learn new language from different language group. Maybe it’s blessing that we have been born in different language groups than in the group to which English belongs. Due to this fact we are forced to work much more to achieve English fluency and that’s why the reward is also somewhat bigger and we can appreciate it more! By the way, do you understand any Estonian? It’s interesting to know because Latvian and Estonian are two Baltic countries so close each other in the map.

    But anyway I realized once again how cool it is that we can understand each other thanks to English as the world’s language. It makes me to try to improve my English even more and to apply your advice into practice!