Tutor Tip “Pronouncing “ed” Endings”
By Jan Demers, LCUP Board Member & Conversation Specialist @ LCUP’s Clearwater East Library’s Drop-in?Conversation Club

Students in the English Conversation Class often pronounce the ?-ed? ending in past tense verbs [ed] as a separate syllable, as in walk-ed, jump-ed, liv-ed. We addressed this during class one week, pointing out that some ?-ed? endings are pronounced [t] as in walk(t); some are pronounced [d] as in lived; some are pronounced [id] as in end(id). One of the students asked if there is a rule for when you use the different sounds. I replied, honestly, that I didn?t know if there was such a rule but I would look into it.

A quick internet search revealed that, indeed, there is such a rule. It has to do with whether the final consonant of the verb is voiced or voiceless. To determine if a sound is voiced or voiceless, place your fingers lightly on your throat as you make the sound. If you feel a vibration, the sound is voiced. If there is no vibration, the sound is voiceless.

Doing this, you will discover that b, d, g, l, m, n, r, and v are voiced.? The sounds of c, f, k, p, s, t, ch, and sh are voiceless. Verbs ending in voiced consonants make the [d] sound for the ?ed? ending as in grabbed, begged, filled, drummed, and loved. Verbs ending in voiceless consonants make the [t] sound as in cooked, kissed, dipped, puffed, washed, and watched. Verbs ending in d or t are the exceptions. They make the [id] sound as in landed and waited.


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