How to pronounce -ED perfectly every time in English


Pronunciation Course

Today I want to help you fix a pronunciation problem that I hear in a LOT of students’ English, and that is saying things like this:

  •  I ask-ed him to help me.
  •  We pre-par-ed for our trip.

The mistake is with the verbs in the past, ending in -ED. The correct way to say them is:

  •  askt (not ask-ed)
  •  pre-pard (not pre-par-ed)

It’s a small mistake, but unfortunately it makes it obvious that someone’s not a native English speaker.

So today I’ll explain some simple rules to help you pronounce the -ED ending correctly every time, and we’ll practice together.

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We’ll go through every sound in the English language and help you speak more clearly, so that you can be confident that other people will understand you!

-ED pronounced like “id”

Let’s get started. The only time we pronounce the -ED ending like “id” with an extra syllable is after verbs ending in a T or D sound.

So want (one syllable) becomes want-ed (two syllables), and de-cide (two syllables) becomes de-cid-ed (three syllables). Listen and repeat after me.

  • started
  • ended
  • hated
  • guarded
  • attempted
  • exploded
  • acted
  • provided

-ED pronounced like “t”

After verbs ending in S, X, K, P, F, SH, and CH sounds, the -ED ending should sound like “T” with no extra syllable.

So ask (one syllable) becomes asked (also one syllable). Dis-miss (two syllables) becomes dis-missed (also two syllables). Notice how the -ED just sounds like T. Let’s practice:

  • worked
  • missed
  • fixed
  • liked
  • stopped
  • noticed
  • laughed
  • brushed
  • watched
  • developed

-ED pronounced like “d”

For all other regular verbs that end in any other sound besides the ones we’ve already mentioned, the -ED ending sounds like “D” but with NO extra syllable.

So call (one syllable) becomes called (also one syllable) – not call-ed.

Pre-pare (two syllables) becomes pre-pared (also two syllables) – not pre-par-ed with three.

Let’s try some examples:

  • cleaned
  • played
  • used
  • allowed
  • pulled
  • argued
  • compared
  • annoyed
  • analyzed
  • opened

With some words it’s a little difficult, like judge becomes judged, but we try to go directly from G to D, and not say judg-ed.

Quick review:

  1. For regular verbs ending in T or D sounds, we pronounce the -ED ending like “id”:
    want – want-ed
  2. For regular verbs ending in S, X, K, P, F, SH, and CH sounds, we pronounce the -ED ending like “T”:
    kiss – kissed (kisst)
  3. For all other regular verbs, we pronounce the -ED ending like “D” and just stick it onto the final sound without adding an extra syllable:
    clean – cleaned (like cleand, not clean-ed)

If you enjoyed this lesson, I think you’ll really like my American English Pronunciation Course, where we go into detail about these important pronunciation tips, and there’s lots and lots of listen-and-repeat practice. I hope to see you inside!

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