Hey there, and welcome to Speak English with Christina, where you’ll have fun becoming fluent in American English. I’m your English coach Christina and today, I want to help you understand a small but tricky pronunciation point in English: How to pronounce -ed at the end of past simple regular verbs.
As a friend of mine once said, “I was in Texas for 6 months and I always said ‘mash-ed potatoes. No one ever corrected me and I always said it wrong!”
Mash-ed potatoes? We’ll make sure you don’t make these mistakes. Let’s go!
For extra pronunciation practice, be sure to get my American Accent Survival Kit, which will help you understand and correctly pronounce 12 common everyday expressions.
There’s no mashed potatoes in it, but it’s still sooooo helpful. The link to get it is below the video. But first…
3 WAYS TO PRONOUNCE -ED
Quick quiz! What do these words all have in common?: tried – asked – wanted.
OK, that’s kind of easy. It’s the title of the video. They all end in -ed because they’re regular verbs in the past simple.
I need to challenge you more! How do you pronounce them?
They’re all different!
Tried, with a /d/ sound.
Asked, with a /t/ sound.
wanted, with an /id/ sound.
You know what? All regular verbs use one of these three pronunciations: /d/, /t/, or /id/.
And good news, there is actually some logic to this. Here’s how you can know which pronunciation is correct EVERY SINGLE TIME.
THE /id/ SOUND
We’ll start with the easiest first, the /id/ sound. Here, we pronounce the -ed the way it looks. For once, English spelling and pronunciation does make sense! That’s rare! Here’s a little story. Listen to the video to hear the pronunciation of the verbs.
“I was excited when my summer vacation started, because I had waited for it for so long! I decided we needed a change of scenery, and I succeeded in convincing Romain to get started planning a trip down Route 66.”
Here are the verbs, with the /id/ pronunciation: excited, started, waited, decided, succeeded, started.
Notice the last sound of each verb. It’s either -t or -d. -t, like excited, appreciated, and connected. And -d like decided, included, reminded.
So that was easy, right? Next!
THE /t/ SOUND
Let’s look at the /t/ sound.
Listen to this story in the video:
“Last week, I walked downtown to try a new restaurant. I stopped outside the restaurant and checked out the menu. I liked their dishes, so I pushed open the door and looked for a table. But the whole place was packed!”
Look at these verbs and listen to the pronunciation: walked, stopped, checked, liked, pushed, looked, packed. They all have the /t/ sound.
Now, how can you know which verbs to pronounce with a /t/ sound?
It’s all about the last sound of the verb. If the verb ends in -k (like worked, walked, checked, liked, looked, and packed), it’s /t/.
Same thing if the verb ends in -sh (like pushed, finished, and mashed), or -ch (like watched, matched, and reached), or the -s sound (like increased, embarrassed, missed, promised, and guessed), or if the verb ends in -x (like mixed, relaxed, and fixed).
THE /d/ SOUND
This one’s the biggest group. Basically for verbs that end with all other sounds, you pronounce the -ed as /d/. There are so many, so let’s jump right in.
Words that end with an -r sound, like remembered, compared, considered.
Words that end with a -v sound: saved, arrived, improved.
Words that end with a -sound: closed, sneezed, raised.
Words that end in -l, like killed (not a nice one) and traveled (a better word!).
Words that end in -m, like warmed, and claimed.
Words that end in -n, like burned, turned, and explained.
I told you there were a lot! We’re not finished yet! Hang in there with me!
Verbs that end in a vowel sound, like tried, weighed, carried, and borrowed.
Words that end in -b, like robbed, climbed, and disturbed.
Words that end with a -g sound, like hugged and bugged.
And finally, words that end with a -j sound, like arranged, managed, and encouraged.
I hope you’re feeling encouraged about your English, now that you understand these pronunciation rules!
Be sure to actually listen to the pronunciation by watching the episode:
We covered a lot in this lesson, so let’s recap:
-ed is pronounced /id/ if the verb ends in a -t or -d sound.
-ed is pronounced /t/ if the verb ends in these sounds: -k, -sh, -ch, -s sound, -f, or -x.
And for everything else, it’s pronounced /d/.
Now you can do a little happy dance, because you got this pronunciation thing!
And what about you?
What other questions do you have about pronunciation? Share your questions with me in the comments, and I’ll make a lesson about them!
Before you go, be sure to get the American Accent Survival Kit with the link below the video, so you can better understand Americans, and they can better understand you!
Thanks for watching! I’m Christina, and I’ll see you next time!
More English lessons...
Click the image to see the lesson