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Pronounce Words Ending in ED

If you've ever had trouble figuring out how to pronounce words ending in ED, you're not alone. In fact, since I started teaching English, it's one of the most common pronunciation problems I've identified in my students and other ESL speakers. That's because there are 3 ways to pronounce ed endings. The question is, are you ready to learn and fix your pronunciation? Once you know how, it's not that difficult, it just takes practice and time.


The three sounds created by the ed ending are /id/ /t/ and /d/. /id/ is a voiced sound while /t/ and /d/ are unvoiced sounds.


If you read our articles, you know that there are 2 kinds of sounds - voiced and unvoiced. Voiced sounds come from your mouth and your voice box (throat). Unvoiced sounds come from your mouth, but you can't feel them in your voice box (throat). Read How to Make Consonant Sounds. Listen to the samples! Also, watch the video at the bottom of this page!


The /id/ Sound 


You pronounce the /id/ sound when the last letter in a word is a T or D. You add a syllable because you make a voiced sound. The /id/ sound rhymes with bid, kid and mid.

  • started
  • wanted
  • dusted
  • hated
  • ended


The /t/ Sound 


You pronounce the /t/ sound when the final letter of a word is unvoiced. While you need to add a syllable with the /id/ sound, you must not with the /t/ sound. 

  • stopped
  • relaxed
  • helped
  • stressed
  • embarassed


The /d/ Sound 


You pronounce the /d/ sound if the final letter of a word is voiced. You must not add a syllable.

  • failed
  • mailed
  • trailed
  • opened
  • buttoned


Make sure you read How to Make Consonant Sounds so that you can hear the voice samples and see which letters are voiced and which are unvoiced!

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