The suffix -ed can be used to end a regular verb in its past simple or past participle form (climbed, watched, started), or to end an adjective (bored, interested). That makes it a very important suffix to learn how to pronounce! This blog lesson will look at the three different ways we can pronounce -ed and is aimed at Intermediate (B1+) level or above.
First, we look at the last sound in the word. If the sound is a /t/ or /d/ sound, -ed is pronounced /ɪd/. Let us take the word start. It is a single-syllable word, and is pronounced /stɑːt/. The last sound is /t/. Therefore, started is pronounced /stɑːtɪd/. Now consider the two-syllable word decide. Its final letter is e. However, when we transcribe it as /dɪˈsʌɪd/, we see that the final sound is /d/. So, decided is pronounced /dɪˈsʌɪdɪd/.
Let us now look at the verbs laugh /lɑːf/ and love /lʌv/. Neither of these verbs end in /t/ or /d/. So we must now find the pronunciation of the -ed ending by identifying whether the last sound, /f/ and /v/, of either verb is voiced or unvoiced. Put your fingers against your throat, such that your thumb is resting on the right side of your voice-box (also called your Adam’s apple) and your index finger is resting on the left side. Check the video for exact instructions! Pronounce /f/ and /v/. You should notice a significant vibration through your voice-box when pronounce /v/, but nothing when you pronounce /f/. This means that /v/ is a voiced sound, while /f/ is unvoiced. If the last sound of your word is unvoiced, the -ed ending is pronounced /t/, whilst if it is voiced it will be pronounced as /d/. In conclusion, laughed is pronounced /lɑːft/ and loved as /lʌvd/.
Now that you have a better understanding of -ed endings and their pronunciation, if you have any comments, tips or tricks, please feel free to leave a comment below. Make sure to check out our videos for a fuller explanation, given by our CELTA-qualified teachers.