Frequent Pronunciation Mistake Corrected

Hi, this is Scott.

The most frequent pronunciation mistake I hear is with words ending in the letters “-ed”. And it is particularly important that you pronounce these words correctly, because if not, you can sound confusing and/or uneducated.

Here’s what you need to know and practice to reduce these mistakes.

All words ending in “-ed” have only three possible pronunciations: the “t”, “d”, or “id” sounds.

Let’s talk about the “t” first. And I need you to do something a little strange. Please put two fingers on your Adam’s apple, and say the word “work”. Pay attention to the last sound (“k”). Work. It should not make your Adam’s apple vibrate.

Please repeat: look, talk, help. Now in the present tense, none of these words should make your Adam’s apple vibrate on that last sound, so we want to maintain that also in the past tense by using the sound of the “t”. So: worked, looked, talked, helped.

OK, let’s talk about the second possibility, the “d” sound. Please say the word “open”, and pay attention sound of the word “n”. Open. Your Adam’s apple should vibrate in the present tense. Please repeat: close, call, clean.

These are all voiced in the present; they should make your Adam’s apple vibrate. We want to maintain in the past by using the sound of “d”. So: opened, closed, called, cleaned.

OK, so the only problem then is what do we do with verbs that already end in the sounds “t” or “d” in the present tense. For example: want, wait, decide, recommend. In the present tense, these verbs already end in the sound “t” or “d”. In those cases, you need to use number three, “id”, and they become: wanted, waited, decided, recommended.

So any words in the present that end in the sounds “t” or “d”, we use number three.

Ok, so there you have it. Three possibilities: “t”, “d” or “id”.

This is a question of practice. My students who practice this do reduce these types of mistakes, sound better, and feel more confident.

OK, please feel free to leave any comments below, and I’ll look forward to seeing you next time. Thank you.