The Spelling is the Same, Why Do We Pronounce “-ed” Verbs Differently?

Regular verbs all end with -ed.

Why does the pronunciation sometimes sound like /t/, sometimes like /d/, and sometimes like a new syllable /ɪd/?
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To help you answer the question, find the sound that comes in front of the -ed ending.

For example, in the verb helped, /p/ is the sound right before the -ed.  Put your fingertips on your throat and say /p/.  There is no vibration.  /p/ is a voiceless sound.  If the sound before -ed is voiceless, -ed sounds like a /t/.

Some other examples of voiceless sounds are /k/ /sh/ /f/

The -ed ending would sound like a /t/ when we say the verbs: asked, hiked, washed, fished, laughed, stuffed.

In contrast, look at the verb owed.  The /ow/ sound like the vowel sound /o/.  Put your fingers against your throat.  Your throat vibrates.  The sound is voiced.  If the sound before -ed is voiced, the -ed sound like a /d/.

Some other examples of voiced sounds are /m/, /n/, all vowels, /g/, and /z/.

The -ed ending would sound like a /d/ when we say the verbs: hummed, named, planned, banned, payed, sighed, hugged, gagged, buzzed, and raised.

The final sound, the extra syllable /ɪd/, happens when the sound right before the -ed ending is /t/ or /d/.

We add a syllable when we say added, started, bonded, patted, boated, seated, needed.

Read the paragraph below.  Find all of the -ed verbs.  Find the sound right before the -ed ending.  Do you need to pronounce it as /t/, /d/, or /Id/?


Yesterday, it started to rain.  I opened my umbrella and looked for shelter.  I wanted to stay dry.  I needed to look good for work.  I entered a building and watched the rain come down.  It poured for a long time.  People looked very wet.  They splashed through the puddles.  They seemed grumpy about the weather.  They frowned.  I waited until it stopped raining.  I used my phone while I waited.  I texted my friends.  I practiced pronunciation.  I watched videos on YouTube.

(The answers are below)


looked, watched, splashed, practiced


opened, entered, poured, seemed, frowned, used


started, wanted, needed, waited, texted