Pronunciation of the simple past -ed

There are three ways to pronounce the final -ed of regular verbs in the simple past. This pronunciation is determined by the final sound of the verb in the base form: Is it a voiced consonant, an unvoiced consonant, or a vowel sound? Learn more about vowel sounds and voiced and unvoiced sounds in the lesson on English phonetics. Before you continue, review the lesson on the simple past.

Read lesson
 * en español
 * en français

Note that in all the examples below the first column represents the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) symbol for the final sound of the verb in its base form.

After unvoiced sounds such as p, f, s, k, , and the final -ed is pronounced like t as in the word cat. Note that the -e remains silent. Click on the words to hear the sound files.

IPA   base
form
  simple
past
p help helped
f stuff stuffed
laugh laughed
s miss missed
dice diced
fix fixed
k look looked
fish fished
march marched

After voiced sounds such as b, g, v, z, , , m, n, ŋ, l, , and r the final -ed sound is pronounced like d as in good. Note that the -e remains silent.

IPA   base
form
  simple
past
b grab grabbed
g hug hugged
v save saved
z ooze oozed
please pleased
massage massaged
rage raged
m resume resumed
n sign signed
ŋ bang banged
l peel peeled
breathe breathed
r honor honored

The final -ed is also pronounced like the d in good after all vowel sounds. Note that the -e again remains silent.

base
form
  simple
past
stay stayed
free freed
lie lied
hoe hoed
sue sued
ski skied
snow snowed
try tried

For verbs ending in d and t the final -ed is pronounced Id as in the final two letters of the word did.

base
form
  simple
past
add added
grade graded
decide decided
 
exit   exited
taste tasted
object objected

Note here that the -e is not silent and this final -ed sound adds another syllable to the end of the verb.

one
syllable
  two
syllables
add add·ed
exit exit·ed
 
two
syllables
  three
syllables
de·cide de·cid·ed
ob·ject ob·ject·ed

Remember, if the base form of the verb does not end with a d or a t, no extra syllable is added.

Related lessons:

Read lesson
 * en español
 * en français

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *