I’m sure you all know that to create the Simple Past tense of regular verbs you just have to add -ed to the verb. For example, work => worked; play => played. But did you know that the final -ed has three different pronunciations? Today you’ll learn those three sounds and then you’ll be quizzed to see if you’ve understood.

First, we have to learn about voiced and unvoiced consonants. Based on this, you’ll know how to pronounce -ed. Voiced consonants are consonants that create a vibration in your vocal cords. Place two fingers on your throat and say the word “boy”. You’ll feel a vibration as soon as you make the /b/ sound. Other voiced consonants are /d/ like in “day”, /ʒ/ like in “decision”, and /ð/ like in “there”. Unvoiced consonants don’t create a vibration in your throat. Two examples are, /tʃ/ like in “cheese” and /θ/ like in “death“.

When to pronounce /t/

If the last letter in the verb is an unvoiced consonant, pronounce -ed like a /t/ sound. For example, the verb “looked” is pronounced “look/t/“.

When to pronounce /d/

If the last letter in the verb is a voiced consonant, pronounce -ed like a /d/ sound. For example, the verb “cleaned” is pronounced “clean/d/“.

When to pronounce /ɪd/

If the last letter in the verb is a “t” or a “d”, the sound /ɪd/ adds another
syllable to the word. For example, the verb “invited” is pronounced “invit/ɪd/

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