English pronunciation: verbs ending in ‘-ed’

The English language can be very confusing, especially when it comes to pronouncing words. There are silent letters and letters that are pronounced differently depending on how they are written. This post is going to help with pronouncing past simple verbs that end in ‘–ed.’

The first thing to know is that these ‘-ed’ verbs can be pronounced three different ways. The first way is as /id/, such as, ’needed,’ or ‘wanted.’ The second way is with a /t/ sound such as ‘watched.’ The third way is /d/ sound such as ‘called.’

Now, a lot of students ask how they can learn which pronunciation is correct. Here are some tips for knowing which pronunciation to use:

1. /id/

The /id/ sound that most students commonly want to use the most is actually only used if the last consonants is a ‘t’ or a ‘d.’ Then by adding an ‘-ed’ to the verb, you will make a sound like /id/. Examples of this would be verbs like ‘needed’, ‘wanted’, and ‘decided’.

2. /t/

The /t/ sound comes as a surprise to many students. It is a very soft ‘t’ sound such as in ‘carrot.’ The same /t/ sound needs to be made with verbs that end in the following consonants: ‘p’, ‘k’, ’f’, ‘s’, ‘ch’, ‘sh’, ‘x’ and ‘th’. Examples of this are ‘washed’, ‘mixed’, ‘dropped’, and ‘watched’.

3. /d/

The /d/ sound is very easy for students to get used to. The same /d/ sound needs to be made with verbs that end in the following consonants: ‘b’, ‘g’, ‘j’, ‘m’, ‘n’, ‘l’, ‘r’, ‘th’, ‘w’, ‘v’, ‘z’. Examples of this include ‘colored’, ‘called’ and ‘loved’.

One thing to keep in mind is that there are always exceptions to the rule. So when you are learning to pronounce the words, be sure to ask a teacher for help.

Now the best way to learn the correct pronunciations of past simple verbs is to break up the sounds. For example, let’s look at the verb ‘watched.’

So the sounds with the verb ‘watched’ are /wa/ + /ch/ + /t/.

First, say all the sounds separately and slowly so you can hear them clearly. Then start saying the same word a little more quickly by putting all the sounds together. Keep repeating the word until you have said it in full using all the correct sounds.

Remember, not all past simple verbs end with an /id/ sound so be sure to practice the pronunciation of these verbs, it will help your spoken English greatly.