HELPFUL TIPS AND RESOURCES FOR ADULT ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS
Pronouncing Past Tense -ed Verbs
Pronouncing the -ed at the end of past tense verbs can be quite confusing for non-native English speakers, as there are actually three different possibilities. By using these three rules, it becomes more understandable.
If the verb base ends in a voiceless sound, then the -ed ending sounds like a "t". The "t" sound is blended together with the previous consonant and not pronounced as an extra syllable.
A voiceless sound is like a whisper; your vocal cords don't vibrate. Voiceless consonant sounds are: p, f, k, s, sh, ch, th
Examples of past tense verbs where the -ed ending sounds like "t":
worked, dropped, finished, divorced, stopped, laughed, coughed, watched
If the verb base ends in a voiced sound, then the -ed ending sounds like "d". The "d" is blended together with the previous consonant and not produced as an extra syllable.
A voiced sound means that your vocal cords vibrate. Voiced consonant sounds: b, v, g, z, j, th, l, m, n, r, all vowel sounds
Examples of past tense verbs where the -ed ending sounds like "d":
moved, returned, stayed, studied, married, widowed, raised, engaged, travelled
If the verb base ends in a "t" or a "d" sound already, then the -ed ending sounds like "id" or "ud". It is pronounced as an extra syllable.
Examples of past tense verbs where the -ed ending sounds like "ed":
started, graduated, visited, separated, dated, attended
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Videos Explaining Pronunciation and Other Challenges for English Language Learners
Some pronunciation issues can only be explained orally. Here are some videos you may find helpful.
Practicing speaking on your own can be challenging. There are many interactive language acquisition websites, apps, and softwares out there. Personally, I like Duolingo.com. It won't help you with complex grammar, but it does help you work on your accent, your speed, and basic vocabulary - plus, it's free!
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