Example Sentences of the Verb Learn

Learning a Language
How do you learn a language?. Ezra Bailey/Getty Images

As an English learner, you'll want to know about the verb learnLearn is one of the few verbs in English that have two acceptable forms for the past simple and as a participle. Learnt or learned is acceptable in both American and British English, but learned is more common in American English. 

Base Form: ​Learn

Use the base form of the verb in simple tenses including the present simple. The base form is also used with the future and modal forms such as canshould, and must:

I usually learn a lot when I travel.
Will you learn anything about math today?
You should learn at least one foreign language.

Past Simple: Learned or Learnt

Use either learned or learnt in past simple positive sentences:

The children learnt about squirrels in school yesterday.
I learned to play the piano at the age of five.

Past Participle: Learned or Learnt

Use the past participle learned or learnt in past, present, and future perfect forms. This past participle form is also used in passive sentences.

Perfect Forms:

Shelley's learnt a lot in the United States.
Peter had learned to count to ten before he turned one year old.
They will have learned their lesson by the end of next week.

Passive Forms:

Latin was learned by most students in the early 1900s.
Patience is a lesson that has been learned by anyone trying to study a language.

Present Participle: Learning

The present participle learning is perhaps the most common form as it is used in past, present, and future continuous forms, as well as with the past, present, and future perfect continuous forms:

Continuous Forms:

He's learning a little Chinese this month.
I wasn't learning anything new when you interrupted the meeting.
He'll be learning a lot of new things this time next week.

Perfect Continuous Forms:

She's been learning English for a few years.
They'd been learning a lot from Tom before Alice returned.
Tom will have been learning Japanese for two years by the end of next term.

Example Sentences with Learn

Here are example sentences in each tense in English. As you study these examples, imagine a timeline on which the actions take place to help become familiar with tense usage. Please note that passive forms are much less common in everyday English than active forms.

Present Simple

She learns languages quickly.

Present Simple Passive

Math is learnt slowly by some.

Present Continuous

Jack is currently learning Russian.

Present Continuous Passive

Russian is being learnt by the students.

Present Perfect

Angela has learnt four languages.

Present Perfect Passive

Four languages have been learnt by Angela.

Present Perfect Continuous

Angela has been learning Arabic for the past few months.

Past Simple

Jennifer learnt how to play poker yesterday evening.

Past Simple Passive

Poker was learnt quickly by all.

Past Continuous

She was learning her lesson when he telephoned.

Past Continuous Passive

The lesson was being learnt when he arrived.

Past Perfect

She had learnt the song by heart before Jack did.

Past Perfect Passive

The song had learnt by heart by the class before the singer arrived.

Past Perfect Continuous

Our children had been learning English for two months before we moved.

Future (will)

She will learn quickly.

Future (will) passive

A new song will be learnt soon.

Future (going to)

She is going to learn a new language next year.

Future (going to) passive

A new song is going to be learnt next week.

Future Continuous

This time next week we will be learning in a new classroom.

Future Perfect

She will have learnt everything by the end of the month.

Future Possibility

She might learn something new.

Real Conditional

If she learns Russian, she will travel to Moscow.

Unreal Conditional

If she learnt Russian, she would travel to Moscow.

Past Unreal Conditional

If she had learnt Russian, she would have traveled to Moscow.

Present Modal

She can learn easily.

Past Modal

She can't have learnt that so quickly!

Quiz Conjugate with Learn

Use the verb learn to conjugate the following sentences. In some cases, more than one answer may be correct.

  1. Angela _____ Arabic for the past few months.
  2. Math _____ slowly by some.
  3. Poker _____ quickly by all.
  4. She _____ the song by heart before Jack did.
  5. A new song _____next week.
  6. She _____ everything by the end of the month.
  7. If she _____ Russian, she would have traveled to Moscow.
  8. Angela _____ four languages.
  9. She _____ languages quickly.
  10. Jack _____ currently _____ Russian.

Answers:

  1. has been learning
  2. is learnt / is learned
  3. was learnt / was learned
  4. had learnt / had learned
  5. is going to be learnt / is going to be learned
  6. will have learnt / will have learned
  7. had learnt / had learned
  8. has learnt / has learned
  9. learns
  10. is learning