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There are three different ways to pronounce the 'ed' ending of regular verbs in the simple past
tense: /ɪd/, /t/ or /d/. The pronunciation depends on the sound at the end of the infinitive of
the verb.

/ɪd/ /t/ /d/

This is the least common -ed -Words that end in /p/, /k/, This is the most common -ed
sound /f/, /s/, /sh/, /ch/ sound: sound

-Words that end in /t/ or /d/ Kissed /kɪst/ -Words that end in any other
sound: sound:
Laughed /lɑːft/
Wanted /ˈwɒn.tɪd/ Closed /kləʊzd/
Asked /ɑːskt/
Needed /ˈniː.dɪd/ Saved /seɪvd/
Stopped /stɒpt/
Started /stɑːrtɪd/ Travelled /ˈtræv.əld/
Watched /wɒtʃt/
Decided /dɪˈsaɪ.dɪd/ Opened /ˈəʊ.pənd/
Washed /wɒʃt/
Climbed /klaɪmd/
Changed /tʃeɪndʒd/
Grabbed /ɡræbd/
Ordered /ˈɔː.dərd/

-Words that end in a vowel

Played /pleɪd/
Agreed /əˈɡriːd/

You should not have much trouble understanding how the –ed ending works in English if you
study carefully the chart above and listen to some examples about a hundred times ; ).
However, it takes quite a lot of practice to come out naturally when speaking.

Let’s review the rules:

1. First things first: stop pronouncing all the –ed endings like you have done until now! As
you can see in the chart above the /Id/ sound is the least common, so do it only with
the verbs that finish in the sounds /t/ or /d/.
2. Now, look at the column in the middle. Any verb that ends with one of these six sounds
will get a /t/ sound at the end. Yes, adding a /t/ at the end sounds quite strange at the
beginning, but it is very important that you make sure that the final /t/ sound is clear
and strong.
3. And now have a look at the column on the right. Good news! You do not need to learn all
these final sounds if you remember rules 1 & 2.

Alberto Castilla

Letter “s”: /s/ or /z/ sound? (Spanish speakers, pay attention!)

Alright, now have a look at the first word in the middle and right columns: kissed /kɪst/ and
closed /kləʊzd/. Why are they in different columns if they both have an “s” inside?

In English the letter “s” can be pronounced in different ways. In “kiss” the letter “s” sounds like
a snake, and Spanish speakers have no problem hearing and producing this sound because it is
in our language (beso, casa, siesta…). However, in “closed” the letter “s” sounds like a bee
(zzzzzzzz) and it is more difficult for Spanish speakers to “hear” it. This is the /z/ sound.
Unfortunately, we tend to hear a /s/ sound because this sound is much more common in our

Then, how can we learn to hear the /z/ sound?

The /z/ sound

The phonetic rule is this: if “s” follows a vowel or a voiced consonant (right column), it sounds
like /z/. Examples: please, does, is, because, waves, saves, opens…

However, there are exceptions so I recommend that you try to listen for it and check in the
dictionary if you are not sure. A good way to start is to begin to use it in some of these common

is please eyes confuse easy says (/sez/)

was goes realize ties these reason days

his lose because flies those movies shoes

has use flows because visit busy

If you start to use it in a few common words, your ear will pick up on the sound when other
people use it in other words.

Now it is time to practice! Download 2 activities with audios taken from the bbc learning
English website and start practicing now!

Alberto Castilla