Pronunciation of ‘-ed’ Endings in English

Hi teachers. It’s been a long time since the last post. Thank you for returning!

In today’s post we will focus on a nice pronunciation rule for ‘ed’ endings in English. In English many words can end with ‘ed’. For example:

  1. kicked (to kick)
  2. punched (to punch)
  3. hugged (to hug)
  4. loved (to love)
  5. wanted (to want)
  6. needed (to need)
  7. played (to play)
  8. called (to call)

Most of these words in English ending with ‘ed’ are Regular Verbs. Regular Verbs are verbs you simply ‘ed’ to when changing them into the Past Simple (Verb 2) form. You can listen to them below.

However, there are some useful ‘ed’ words which look like verbs but act like adjectives. You can test this by adding these ‘ed’ adjectives to ‘I am…’ or ‘I feel…’. Some examples of ‘ed’ adjectives are below:

  1. amazed by (to be amazed by something)
  2. excited about (to be excited about something)
  3. interested in (to be interested in something)
  4. bored of (to be bored of something)

You can listen to these below:

When you listen to the pronunciation of the examples above you can hear three different pronunciations of the ‘ed’ ending. These are /t/, /d/ and /ɪd/. With /ɪd/ you can hear that it adds an extra syllable to the original word. For example:

  1. want – wanted
  2. wait – waited
  3. need – needed
  4. fade – faded

Why Different Pronunciations?

So why do some ‘-ed’ endings have a /t/, /d/ or /ɪd/ sound? The answer to this question is in the last letter/s of the word. If you have read some of our previous posts you might have come across the words ‘voiced’ and ‘voiceless’ sounds in English. To keep things simple, ‘voiceless’ sounds make the ‘-ed’ /t/ and ‘voiced’ sounds make the ‘-ed’ /d/. As for /ɪd/ this is easy. /ɪd/ occurs when the last letter/s of the word is ‘-t’, ‘-te’ or ‘-d’, ‘-de’.

The difficulty is knowing which letters in English are ‘voiceless’ and which letters in English are ‘voiced’. Don’t worry, we have made it easy and have produced a nice poster you can use in your class. This can help remind yourself and your students about the ‘ed’ pronunciation rule.

ed endings poster-1

DOWNLOAD HERE: ‘ed’ Ending Pronunciation Wall Poster

Classroom Activities with ‘ed’ Endings.

You can play a nice game with your students by drawing three pipes labelled /t/, /d/ or /ɪd/ on the board:

ed endings activity new.png

Then you can write or use word cards above the drawing and get students to decide which pipe that word should go down. If you are using word cards students can come to the board and physically move the card down one of the three pipes.

You can make it more competitive by dividing your class into teams and different students from each team can come to the board and choose which pipe the word should go down.

You can also give points to the teams which choose the correct pipe and give extra points to the team with the best pronunciation too!

Listening Activities with ‘ed’ Endings

A more effective way to help your students develop phonemic awareness (this is your students’ familiarity with the pronunciation patterns in English through listening) might be to do the above activity as a listening activity. So instead of writing or using word cards, you can say the word and students decide which ‘ed’ pronunciation it has.

For example, you say ‘cooked’ and students come to the board (or choose a), b) or c)) and choose the correct pronunciation. They can even repeat the word back to the class.

To make it more challenging you can say the word in root form (this works best with Regular Verbs) and students decide which ‘ed’ pronunciation it would have in its Verb 2 form.

For example, you say ‘cook’ and students decide if it is cooked /t/, cooked /d/ or cooked /ɪd/.

Why Is This Important?

A strong sign of ‘non-native’ like English is with the pronunciation of the ‘ed’ endings. For example, you might hear students pronounce the words below as follows:

  1. wash – washed
  2. watch – watched
  3. stop – stopped
  4. missed – missed

Can you correct the pronunciation? You can listen below to check:

Interestingly, ‘native English’ speaking children tend to overuse the /ɪd/ pronunciation, but this is usually with Irregular Verbs in Verb 2 form for example:

  1. buy – buyed, boughted
  2. go – goed, wented
  3. hurt – hurted
  4. eat – eated, ated

Don’t worry about this. Children usually over-generalise language patterns as their language develops over time. Here they are over-generalising the ‘ed’ rule and using it with Irregular Verbs. You might even hear your students doing the same!

The key here, is patience. Use a lot of listening activities to keep your students aware of the ‘ed’ pronunciation rule and they will pick it up over time as their language improves and develops.

Getting your students aware of the different ‘ed’ pronunciations will also help them understand the time references better when listening. For example:

  1. Who picked these oranges?
  2. I played badminton.
  3. They started the game at 6am.

Here, if students become used to hearing the different ‘ed’ endings they know it is referring to the past. Sometimes in English, speakers leave out adverbs such as yesterday, last week, earlier this morning, 2 minutes ago, because the past can be marked with the ‘ed’ ending on Regular Verbs.

If you ae worried your own pronunciation as a teacher, please use the wall poster as a reminder and practise the pronunciation of any target words you will use in your lesson.

Remember that with the /t/ and /d/ pronunciation of the ‘-ed’ ending DO NOT add an extra syllable. For example, listen to the words below. Notice that the number of syllables is the same:

  1. cook – cooked (might look like ‘cookt’)


  1. beg – begged (might look like ‘begd’)


However, with /ɪd/ pronunciation of the ‘-ed’ ending you add an extra syllable. Listen to the words below:

  1. start – start-ed     /stɑ:t/ – /stɑ:t.ɪd/
  1. cor-rect – cor-rect-ed     /kə.rekt/ – /kə.rekt.ɪd/
  1. nod – nod-ded     /nɒd/ – /nɒd.ɪd/
  1. re-ward – re-ward-ed     /rɪ.wɔ:d/ – /rɪ.wɔ:d.ɪd/

So keep your students busy with developing their awareness of the different ‘-ed’ ending pronunciations in English and hope you will notice improvements in process!

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Thank you for reading and catch you again soon with our next post!

To /s/ /z/ or /ɪz/: Plural ‘-s’ Endings in English

Hi Teachers and Visitors to this website. This is a re-post from an earlier entry. We felt it got lost there so here it is again. Enjoy!

Plural ‘s’ in English.

In English plural countable nouns are nouns we add an ‘s’ to express that there is more than one. For example a cup (one cup), two cups, a bag (one bag), three bags, an apple (one apple), four apples, an orange (one orange), five oranges.

English generally has three ‘s’ sounds when it comes to plural countable nouns. These are /s/ /z/ and /ɪz/.

When describing English sounds, we usually say /s/ is voiceless (a slight whistling air comes out your mouth as you make the sound) and /z/ is voiced (you feel a stronger vibrating sound in your throat). This is illustrated below:

/ɪz/ is also voiced because it has /z/ in it.

The general rule for knowing when plural ‘s’ (the last letter ‘s’ you see in plural countable nouns like cups, herbs, oranges) is that:

  • If the final letter of the word is a voiceless sound the plural ‘s’ sound is /s/. Remember voiceless  + voiceless.
  • If the final letter of the word is a voiced sound, the plural ‘s’ is /z/. Remember voiced + voiced.

You can see this with the chart below (which you can also download for free to use with the ELE Flashcard Flipbook):

Plural S Teacher's Pronunciation Key

DOWNLOAD Plural S Teacher’s Pronunciation Key

Based on the above you can see that most words in English end with a /z/ sound. That’s because all vowels in English are voiced and most of the consonant sounds are voiced too (you can read our blog about English sounds here).

Words which end with voiceless sounds are: cup /p/, hat /t/, sock /k/, cliff /f/ and moth /θ/. As a result, any word which ends with these sounds will have /s/ in their plural form.

As for /ɪz/ this is the sound for plural countable nouns ending with the following sounds:

  • /s/ which you can hear in the letters ‘c’, ‘x’. For example ‘fence, fences‘ and ‘box boxes‘.
  • /z/ which you can hear in the letters ‘s’ and ‘z’. For example ‘cheese cheeses‘ and ‘maze mazes
  • /ʃ/ which you can hear in the letters ‘sh’. For exampled ‘dish dishes‘.
  • /ʧ/ which you can hear in the letters ‘ch’ and ‘tch’. For example ‘watch watches‘.
  • /ʤ/ which you can hear in letters ‘j’ and ‘g’. For example ‘jumper’ and ‘orange oranges‘. (We will write a seperate blog on this sound because in English it can be difficult o know when ‘g’ is /g/ or /ʤ/).

Any word which ends with those sounds will usually have /ɪz/ in their plural form.

REMEMBER This rule is for COUNTABLE NOUNS. This rule also applies to VERBS. For example:

  • I cook      He cooks /s/
  • I dig         She digs /z/
  • I wash     He washes /ɪz/

Why is this important?

For many speakers this is not a big problem and generally does not effect communication. However, this is an interesting feature of English pronunciation and practising this will help speakers who struggle with ending sounds in English.

This is especially noticeable with Vietnamse and Thai speakers who tend to leave many English words open (without an ending sound). By using this interesting pronunciation feature of English teachers can help their pupils and students become more accurate with their pronunciation of plural countable nouns and also encourage their pupils and students to pronounce English words in full with the ending sounds.

Give it a try and see if your pupils and students pronunciation improves over time.

Thank you for reading this post and don’t forget to FOLLOW us by simply clicking the FOLLOW button when prompted. Also leave a COMMENT if you found this post useful and also if you found our new ELE Flashcard Flipbook practical!

Thank you again and see you soon with our next post!

When /d/ becomes /ʤ/

d becomes dz logo

In this week’s article we focus on the /d/ sound (you can hear this in words such as  ‘dog’, ‘puddle’, ‘bird’) and how this can sometimes sound more like a /ʤ/ sound (you can hear this in words such as ‘jam’, ‘gym’, ‘judge’ and ‘widget’). As with the article ‘When /t/ becomes /ʧ/’ you will find many similarities here because like /t/ becoming /ʧ/, /d/ can become /ʤ/ depending on what sound it is with.

/d/ Becomes /ʤ/ in One Word

Listen to the words below. Can you hear how /d/ can sound more like /ʤ/?

  1. drain – /ʤreɪn/ (usually transcribed as /dreɪn/)
  2. drip – /ʤrɪp/ (usually transcribed as /drɪp/)
  3. drag – /ʤræg/ (usually transcribed as /dræg/)
  4. dry – /ʤraɪ/ (usually transcribed as /draɪ/)
  5. drum – /ʤrʌm/ (usually transcribed as /drʌm/)
  6. dune – /ʤju:n/ (usually transcribed as /dju:n/)
  7. duke – /ʤju:k/ (usually transcribed as /dju:k/)
  8. due – /ʤju:/ (usually transcribed as /dju:/)
  9. dupe – /ʤju:p/ (usually transcribed as /dju:p/)

In examples 1 – 5 we find the /d/ sound with the /r/ sound/. When pronounced together /d/ sounds more like /ʤ/.

With examples 6 – 9 the /d/ sound is followed by a /u:/ sound however there is another sound you cannot see: a /j/ sound. You may remember the same happening with /t/ in words like ‘tune’, ’tuna’ and ‘tube’ where there is an invisible /j/ sound (/j/ is usually heard in words like ‘yellow’, ‘yolk’ and ‘mayo’) making it sound more like a /ʧ/ sound. The same is happening here, where the /j/ sound makes /d/ sound more like a /ʤ/.

Why does this happen?

The reason why /d/ sounds more like a /ʤ/ in examples 1 – 5 above is because it is easier to combine a /ʤ/ sound with a /r/ sound than to combine a /d/ sound with a /r/ sound. You can try doing this yourself. Whilst /d/ and /r/ is possible you may find you must add an additional vowel sound to make the /r/ sound clearer. You can listen  to this comparison below (each word is repeated three times). Which one sounds clearer and smoother?

  1. drain – / dəreɪn/
  2. drain – /dreɪn/
  3. drain – / ʤreɪn/

Have a look at the pictures below. What do you think? Which one do you think is easier to do? To move from /d/ to /r/ or to move from /ʤ/ to /r/?


As a result, you may find that /r/ sounds clearer with /ʤ/ than with /d/.

With regards to examples 6 – 9, /d/ sounds more like /ʤ/ because of the invisible /j/ sound between the letters ‘d’ and ‘u’. For some speakers (like myself) it is easier to move from /ʤ/ to /j/ than from /d/ to /j/. You can test this yourself by switching between /ʤ/ and /j/, and /d/ and /j/. You might find that /ʤ/ and /j/ are made with similar parts of your mouth whilst /d/ and /j/ are made in different parts of your mouth. You can see this quite clearly in the pictures below too:


However, despite this you may hear pronunciation with /ʤ/ /j/ and /d/ /j/ by different speakers. You can hear both pronunciations below (each word is repeated three times):

  1. dune – a) /ʤju:n/ b) /dju:n/
  2. duke – a) /ʤju:k/ b) /dju:k/
  3. due – a) /ʤju:/ b) /dju:/
  4. dupe – a) /ʤju:p/ b) /dju:p/

/d/ Becomes /ʤ/ with Two Word

Listen to the examples below. Can you hear how the letter ‘d’ at the end of the first word sounds more like a /ʤ/ sound? Can you guess why?

  1. “I need your help.” –  /aɪ ni:ʤjɔ: help/
  2. “A mid-year exam.” –  /ə mɪʤjɪə ɪgzæm/
  3. “You cannot take a mud shower!” –  /ju: kənɒt teɪk ə mʌʤʃaʊwə/
  4. “He’s a mad chap (informal for ‘person’) indeed!” –  /hi:z ə mæʤʧæp/
  5. “I think I did a bad job.” –  /aɪ θɪŋk aɪ dɪd ə bæʤʤɒb/

We can hear from the examples above that several sounds affect the /d/ sound (in final position) making it sound more like a /ʤ/ sound. In examples 1 – 2 we can see that it is the /j/ sound (in ‘your’ and ‘year’). In example 3, it is the /ʃ/ sound (in ‘shower’). In example 4, it is the /ʧ/ sound (in ‘chap’) and in example 5, it is the /ʤ/ sound (in ‘job’).

Why does this happen?

The reason why /d/ in final position changes to /ʤ/ sound depends on what sound comes after in the next word. In the examples above these sounds are /j/ /ʃ/ /ʧ/ and /ʤ/. The reason why this happens is because it is easier to move from a /ʤ/ sound to those sounds than to move from a /d/ sound. If you make these sounds you will notice that /ʤ/ uses similar parts of the mouth as /j/ /ʃ/ /ʧ/ however /d/ is made in a different part of the mouth. You can see this clearly in the pictures below.


Why might this be important for teaching?

Sounds changing are a strong feature of connected speech in English and this can cause problems for students who expect certain letters to have certain sounds. For example, students may see ‘d’ and expect it to have a /d/ sound (which it mostly does). When they listen to words and phrases in English where ‘d’ can sound more like a /ʤ/ they may get confused or it may take them longer to process the word.

As a result, it may be a good idea to draw your students attention to how ‘d’ can have a /ʤ/ sound to help with understanding words and phrases more quickly and also to help with their fluency.

So, next time you teach target vocabulary from your textbook which have the pronunciation features described above consider modelling the words with more of a /ʤ/ sound instead.

As always, these are pronunciation features of connected speech and if your students do not produce the /ʤ/ sound as intended they are not doing anything wrong!

If you found this article useful please like, comment and share and as usuall do not forget to download the poster below for your classroom!

DOWNLOAD POSTER When /d/ becomes /ʤ/

Also feel free to use the ‘Comments’ box below if you have any questions about the article.


When /t/ becomes /ʧ/


t becomes ch logo

Welcome back teachers! In this article we focus on how /t/ can sometimes sound more like /ʧ/.

In English, /t/ is usually represented by the letter ‘t’ such as in ‘ten’, ‘turtle’, ‘cat’ and ‘tent’. As for /ʧ/ this is usually represented by the letters ‘ch’ such as in ‘chips’ and ‘touch’. Sometimes /ʧ/  can be represented by the letters ‘tch’ such as in ‘match’ and ‘ratchet’.

/t/ Becomes /ʧ/ In One Word

The /t/ sound can change to a /ʧ/ sound in two ways. Let’s look at the first way by listening to the words below:

  1. train – /ʧreɪn/ (usually transcribed as /treɪn/)
  2. tram – /ʧræm/ (usually transcribed as /træm/)
  3. trip – /ʧrɪp/ (usually transcribed as /trɪp/)
  4. attribute – /æʧrəbju:t/ (usually transcribed as /ætrəbju:t/)


  1. tune – /ʧu:n/ (usually transcribed as /tju:n/)
  2. tuna – /ʧu:nə/ (usually transcribed as /tju:nə/)
  3. tube – /ʧu:b/ (usually transcribed as /tju:b/)
  4. fortune /fɔ:ʧu:n/ (usually transcribed as /fɔ:tju:n/)

From the above examples, we can see that when /t/ is together with /r/ it sounds more like a /ʧ/ sound.

With examples 5-6 you can see that the letter ‘t’ is with the letter ‘u’. However, there is a sound you cannot see between ‘t’ and ‘u’. This is the /j/ sound (usually represented by the letter ‘y’). When /t/ is with /j/ it sounds more like a  /ʧ/ sound (especially in British English). Try listening to examples 5-6 again.

Why does this happen?

In the case of /tr/ it can be very difficult to combine /t/ and /r/ whilst still keeping the /t/ sound. You can try to do this yourself and see how it sounds. You may find it very difficult to do and easier to use the /ʧ/ sound instead (you can also listen to this below with examples 1 – 4). It is also easier to move from /ʧ/ to /r/ than from /t/ to /r/. You can also listen to the examples below where the speaker attempts to say words with /tr/ whilst keeping the /t/ sound (quite difficult to do!).

/t/ Becomes /ʧ/ With Two Words

In this part, we see how /t/ changes to /ʧ/ between two words. You can see this in the examples below:

  1. “Nice to meet you.” – /naɪs tə mi:ʧju:/
  2. “I’ll greet you now.” – /aɪl gri:ʧju: naʊ/
  3. “Can I meet your parents?” – /kæn aɪ mi:ʧjɔ: peərənts/
  4. “I’ll greet your friends tomorrow.” – /aɪl gri:ʧjɔ: frendz təmɒrəʊ/
  5. “Careful! He’ll beat you up!” – /keəfəl! hi:l bi:ʧju: ʌp!/
  6. “You should heat your hands up.” – /ju: ʃʊd hi:ʧjɔ: hændz ʌp/
  7. “Careful they don’t boot you out of the shop!” – /keəfəl ðeɪ dəʊnt bu:ʧju: aʊt əv ðə ʃɒp/
  8. “Where might you go?” – /weə maɪʧju: gəʊ/
  9. “I thought you knew!” – /aɪ ðɔ:ʧju: nju:/

Why does this happen?

In the examples above, the sound affecting the /t/ sound at the end of a word (making it sound more like a /ʧ/ sound) is the /j/ sound at the beginning of the next word (represented by ‘y’ in ‘you’ and ‘your’ in the examples above etc.). This is a common feature of connected speech in English where the speaker will change the sound so that it will be easier to move to the next word.

In the case above it is easier for the speaker to move from a /ʧ/ sound to a /j/ sound than to move from a /t/ sound to a /j/ sound. You can test this out by moving from /ʧ/  to /j/ and moving from /t/ to /j/. You might find that  /ʧ/  and /j/ are produced in the same part of your mouth, whereas /t/ and /j/ are made in different parts of your mouth.

As a result, when you hear native English speakers utter the phrases in the examples above you may hear a /ʧ/ sound instead of a /t/ sound.

Why might this be important for teaching?

/ʧ/ can sound very different to /t/ so you can imagine how your students might get confused if they hear a phrase like ‘Nice to meet you!’ and they hear a /ʧ/ sound connecting ‘meet’ and ‘you’ instead of a /t/ sound based on the letters they see. If your students are aware of how /t/ can be affected it should help them understand the phrases above better as well as individual words like ‘train’ and ‘tuna’. It should also help your students produce the above phrases (and similar) much more smoothly when speaking.


The above describes a feature of connected speech in English. If your students use it great, If they don’t, it is NOT WRONG at all. Below are three ways ‘Nice to meet you’ can be said. All are correct! Can you hear which one has the /ʧ/ sound?

  1. “Nice to meet you.”
  2. “Nice to meet you.”
  3. “Nice to meet you.”

Don’t forget to download the poster for your classroom to help you and your students remember.

DOWNLOAD POSTER When /t/ becomes /ʧ/

When /st/ becomes /ʃ/


st becomes sh logo

Hi teachers. Today we focus on a different sound, the sound /st/ in final position (at the end of a word). We can find this in words such as ‘fast’, ‘must’, ‘test’, ‘past’ and ‘crust’. In English, this /st/ sound can change and sound more like a /ʃ/ sound. The /ʃ/ sound is usually represented by the letters ‘sh’ like in ‘sheep’, ‘ship’, ‘fashion’ and ‘fish’. Sometimes it can be represented by different letters such as ‘information’ and ‘moustache’. You can listen to all these sounds and words below:

When we listen to the words below, we can hear how /st/ changes to sound more like a /ʃ/ sound.

  1. “A fast ship.” – /ə fæʃɪp/
  2. “I must shop for rice.” – /aɪ mʌʃɒp fə raɪs/
  3. “The test sheets are here.” – /ðə teʃi:ts ɑ: hɪə/
  4. “Go past Sheffield Street.” – /gəʊ pæʃefɪld stri:t/
  5. “The crust should be crumbly.” – /ðə krʌʃʊd bi: krʌmbli/
  6. “You must charge the correct amount.” – / ju: mʌʃʧɑ:ʤ ðe kərekt əmaʊnt/
  7. “You must jump now!” – /ju: mʌʃʤʌmp naʊ/

From the above examples, we can see that when /st/ is followed by the sounds /ʃ/ (represented by ‘sh’) /ʧ/ (represented by ‘ch’) /ʤ/ (represented by ‘j’ and sometimes ‘g’) it sounds more like a /ʃ/ sound.

It is also interesting to note that /s/ can become /ʃ/ too (for the same reason) as can be seen with the examples below:

  1. “Miss Shaima” – /mɪʃeɪmə/
  2. “Miss Chaplin” – /mɪʃʧæplɪn/
  3. “Miss Jannah” – /mɪʃʤʌnə/

Why does this happen?

With /st/ two things are happening. First, the /t/ sound disappears (we can say the /t/ sound is dropped – this is quite common in English). The second is the /s/ sound changes into a /ʃ/ sound. Production of the /ʃ/ sound in your mouth is closer to production of the /ʧ/ /ʤ/ and of course the /ʃ/ sound. You can test this yourself. If you make these sounds you can feel that /ʃ/ /ʧ/ and /ʤ/ are made in the same part of the mouth.

When you have words together (like in the examples above) it is easier to move from /ʃ/ to those next sounds than it is to move from /s/, /t/ and /st/ because these sounds are produced in a different part of your mouth. Again, you can test this. Move from /s/, /t/ and /st/ to /ʃ/ /ʧ/ and /ʤ/ you can feel that your tongue has to move to a different position. When speaking this can affect fluency. The pictures below illustrate this:

Why might this important for teaching?

This can help your students to connect words more fluently when speaking. It should also help with their listening and the ability to recognise words more effectively if they know how /st/ can be affected in connected speech.

So, if you see similar words ending with /st/ in your textbook and the next word begins with a /ʃ/ /ʧ/ or /ʤ/ sound try modelling with the /ʃ/ sound to link the two words together.

As usual, if you found this article useful, please ‘Follow’, Like, Comment and Share!

Thank you, teachers and don’t forget to download the poster below for your classroom.
DOWNLOAD POSTER When /st/ becomes /ʃ/