Let’s get started! | Pronouncing “ed” endings

Words that end in “ed” (for example started) are very common but this word ending is tricky because it can actually be pronounced 3 different ways!

I will show how to pronounce the 3 different sounds and explain how you can know when to use which one so you will never pronounce words ending in -ed incorrectly ever again. 

Are you ready? Let’s get started!  

diagram
click to zoom in!


1. “id” SOUND

+

SEPARATE SYLLABLE

For example

Started is pronounced -> start-id

Wanted  -> want-id  

Waited -> wait-id

Seated -> seat-id

When is this pronounciation used?

We only pronounce -ed as a separate syllable with the /id/ sound when the last letter of the main word (the part before -ed) is D or T

REMEMBER! 

Number 1 is the only pronunciation of the three that gives the -ed a separate syllable so remember: only separate the -ed ending and create a separate syllable if the main word ends in D or T


2. “t” SOUND

(Not a separate syllable)

For example

Talked -> talkt

Kissed -> kisst

Parked -> parkt

When is this pronounciation used? 

The /t/ sound is used when the last consonant of the main word is voiceless

A voiceless consonant is when the sound doesn’t vibrate your vocal chords.

To identify a voiceless consonant put your fingers on your throat – if the sound vibrates your vocal cords and you can ‘feel’ the sound it is voiced, if not it is voiceless. 

Sounds complicated? 

Don’t worry, here is a list of the ‘voiceless’ consonants: 

Ch, F, K, P, S, Sh, T, and Th (as in “thing”)

…and here are some more examples of common words where the -ed ending is pronounced as a  /t/ sound: 

Helped -> helpt

Watched -> watcht

Booked -> bookt

Wished -> wisht

Dropped -> droppt

3. “d” SOUND

(Not a separate syllable)

For example 

Played -> playd

Watered -> waterd

Plastered -> plasterd

When the last letter of the main word is a voiced consonant, the -ed ending is pronounced as /d/ and it is not made an extra syllable. Here is a list of ‘voiced’ consonants: 

B, D, G, J, L, M, N, Ng, R, Sz, Th (in the word “then”), V, W, Y, and Z.

…here are some more examples of words where the -ed ending is pronounced as a /d/ sound: 

Travelled -> traveld

Gloved -> glovd

Lived -> livd 

Changed -> changd

Dreamed -> dreamd

PRACTICE!

Read and listen to all of the examples above and practice distinguishing between the sounds, try working with a partner or record yourself on your phone and listen to the recording to check. 

It’s a good idea to listen to songs in English, you can search for the lyrics and read along as you listen, look out for words that end in -ed. Good luck!

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