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Are You Pronouncing the Past Tense Correctly?

Communication Improvement

The key to mastering the American English accent often lies in the details. One pronunciation detail that is often tricky for non-native English speakers is how to pronounce the past-test -ed ending. Want to master this sound? Take a look at our pronunciation guide below!

 

The “-ed” endings of past tense verbs can be pronounced three different ways:

– /d/       a “d” sound, such as at the end of the word “bed”

– /t/       a “t” sound, such as at the end of the word “not”

– /ǝd/    a separate syllable which sounds much like the “-id” portion of the word “kid”

 

Over the next few weeks we’ll discuss each of these sounds individually in detail and provide you with plenty of examples to help you master the American English past tense. Today, we’ll talk about the first of these sounds: /d/

 

The /d/ sound is used when the root word ends in any voiced sound that isn’t /d/.  When a word ends in a /d/ sound, this means the d is added direction on to the last consonant or vowel without inserting any extra sounds in between. A common pronunciation error for non-native speakers is to pronounce the /d/ as separate syllable by putting a “schwa” vowel before it (e.g. pronouncing “planned” as plan-id). Take a look at the examples below:

Final sound

Example word

Correct Pronunciation

Incorrect Pronunciation

/b/

robbed

robd

rob-ed

/v/

loved

lovd

love-ed

/m/

claimed

claimd

claim-ed

/n/

explained

explaind

explain-ed

/r/

poured

pourd

pour-ed

/l/

called

calld

call-ed

/th/ (voiced)

smoothed

smoothd

smooth-ed

/g/

hugged

hugd

hug-ed

/z/

pleased

pleazd

pleas-ed

All of the following past-tense verbs are pronounced with a /d/ at the end. Practice saying them aloud:

beggedbragged

braved

calmed

caused

changed

 

charmedcried

deceived

failed

filled

killed

 

livedloved

mailed

paused

posed

ruled

screamedshoved

sighed

skied

snored

surprised

Take a look at the video below to hear Corporate Speech Solutions founder and President Jayne Latz talk more about past tense endings in Standard American English:

Do your professional communication skills need improvement? Let us help you make your speech and communication your most powerful professional tool! For information on the New York Based Speech and Accent Reduction services offered by Corporate Speech Solutions please give us a call at 212-308-7725 or visit us on the web at www.corporatespeechsolutions.com. Not in NYC? No problem! We also provide Skype and video conferencing services.

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