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Past-Tense Endings: Are you saying them right?


Hi! welcome to a quick English pronunciation tip. In this video, we’re going to be talking about the problems you might be having with the English past tense -ed ending. I’m Karen Fowler with PronouncedSuccess.com and I help you speak confident, easy to understand English so that people will focus on your great ideas and not on how you speak. What problems might you be having with that past tense ending? Let’s start with an example, let’s use this sentence, “I moved in last week.” Sometimes, what I hear people do is they will just drop that -ed ending all together. In which case, their sentence would sound like “I move in last week.” Because they got rid of the -ed ending the sentence doesn’t sound grammatically correct. Or what I’ll hear people do is they will over-pronounce the -ed ending when it’s not necessary, in which case their sentence would sound like, “I moo-ved in last week.” Now sometimes you have to say it as an extra syllable and sometimes you don’t. Trust me, it’s not that confusing once you understand the rules. There are three different ways we pronounce the -ed ending in English. Number one as a ‘t’ sound, as in the word “walked” or a ‘d’ sound as in the word “planned” or as an extra syllable as in the word “added”. Now, how do you know when to say which is which? Well, first you have to understand the concept of a voiced versus an unvoiced consonant. Now I discussed this in my previous video for plural s endings and the same concept applies here. So, a little hint would be in order to speak English more clearly you have to understand the concept between voiced and unvoiced consonants. What does that mean? Go ahead and do this with me – put your hand on your throat and just begin talking and as you’re doing this you’re going to feel a vibration behind your hand because your voice is turned ‘on.’ In English, most of our consonants and our vowel sounds our voice is turned ‘on’, meaning you’ll feel a vibration behind your hand when you’re speaking. There are a small number of consonants in English where our voice is turned ‘off’. So let’s do an example – go ahead and say the ‘d’ sound with me — duh duh duh — as you do that you’re going to feel a vibration behind your hand because your voice is turned ‘on’. Now let’s make the ‘t’ sound – tuh tuh tuh. No vibration, your voice is turned ‘off’. In English, for past tense endings there are only seven consonant sounds where your voice is turned off and those sounds are the P sound the K sound the S sound the F sound the SH sound the CH sound and the TH sound. If a word ends in one of those unvoiced consonants when you add an -ed ending it is going to sound like ‘t’. So, you’ll have words like ‘hoped’, ” I hoped we would have finished the project by now.” or ‘parked’, “I parked down the street” or ‘wished’, “I wished him a happy birthday.” For all the other consonant sounds in English, and the vowel sounds, an -ed ending on a word is going to sound like the letter D so that means you’ll get words like ‘buzzed’, “I buzzed them into the building.” or ‘called’, “I called them up on the phone.” or ‘tagged’, “I tagged them in the photo.” There is an exception – if a word already ends in a t sound or a d sound that’s when you make your -ed ending an extra syllable, because that’s how you can differentiate it from the ending. So you’ll get words like ‘added’, “I added him to my contact list.” or ‘voted’. “I voted in the last election.” So there you have it – a t sound a d sound and an -ed sound. Now you might be asking yourself, “How can I keep this straight, Karen?” Well, I have you covered. If you click the link below you will see a link to my blog post that has a downloadable PDF with these rules that you can print out and keep with you for a handy reference if you want more quick English pronunciation tips check out the other videos I have on my channel and until next time, thanks for watching!

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

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