Pronunciation of -ed ending of regular verbs

To form the past simple and past participle of regular verbs we add ed:

play ➞ played
work ➞ worked
start ➞ started

There are three different ways to pronounce the –ed ending:

sound example pronunciation
/t/ worked ‘t’ sound
/d/ played ‘d’ sound
/id/ started ‘id’ sound


Some regular verbs with the –ed ending pronounced /t/

verb past tense pronunciation
work worked worked
cook cooked cooked
walk walked walked
kiss kissed kissed
like liked liked
stop stopped stopped
look looked looked
drop dropped dropped

Some regular verbs with the –ed ending pronounced /d/

verb past tense pronunciation
play played played
show showed showed
close closed closed
open opened opened
enjoy enjoyed enjoyed
love loved loved
try tried tried
rain rained rained
learn learned learned
clean cleaned cleaned


Some regular verbs with the –ed ending pronounced /id/

verb past tense pronunciation
wait waited waited
want wanted wanted
need needed needed
decide decided decided
hate hated hated
taste tasted tasted
end ended ended


  1. Marcia_Moghetti_Picorallo - August 28, 2015, 2:53 pm Reply

    I think this list may be useful but not totally effective. Many EFL learners may memorize it but still not understand why there are three different -ed sounds. My suggestion is that you include the reason why, so they won’t have to rely on a list, but rather be able to speak correctly any -ed sounds.

    Touch your throat as you say a verb. Isolate the last sound before -ed (otherwise, there will Always be vibration)

    1. when the last sound before -ed is voiced (which means you will feel your vocal cords vibrate), the
    -ed sound is /d/. Examples in the second column above.

    2. when the last sound before -ed is voiceless (which means you won’t feel your vocal cords vibrate), the -ed sound is /t/. Examples in the first column above.

    3. when the last sound before -ed is /t/ or /d/ the -ed sound is /id/. Examples in the third column above.

    This is how I learned and how I teach my students. I hope it will help others too.

    • Anonymous - April 18, 2016, 10:39 pm Reply

      I think Marcia is right. I am thankful for her explication because it has permitted me to find any rule. For that, I can identify the difference I need to pronounced T, D or ID. For example I will pronounced TED and DED as ID.

    • Samuel B. - February 13, 2017, 2:15 pm Reply

      Excellent explanation about the WHY. I had read about voiced and invoiced sounds but didn’t understand it until now.

    • Anonymous - November 27, 2017, 3:05 am Reply

      First, you have to know the rules of the regulars past verbs in writing ,then classify in pronounciation

  2. Babanna - November 6, 2015, 9:34 am Reply

    I like this lesson of /ed/ pronunciation it has been very benificial.

    • Kousic - December 12, 2015, 11:55 am Reply

      Great tips. Appreciate you

  3. Ifeoluwa olowoye - September 21, 2016, 11:37 am Reply

    Quite helpful rule to teaching the pronunciation technique for regular verbs past tenses.

    thank you.

  4. Jorge Escobar Villero - April 15, 2017, 6:04 am Reply

    For me, I have followed these three simple rules to have a correct pronunciation of the past tense of the regular verbs like I describe it below:
    a) -ED Pronounced Like T
    Verbs finished in “K”, “P”, “S”, “C”, “Sh”, “CH”, and after English verbs ending with an F / X sound.
    If you pay attention, you only have to memorize the verbs finished in K, P and the “S” sounds like (S, C, SH, CH) and the last one for example: laughed, fixed and relaxed.
    b) -ED Pronounced Like ED (id)
    The regular verbs pronounced like “id” are the all regular verbs finished in “T” and “D”.
    c) -ED Pronounced Like D
    In this category are ALL other English verbs that don’t fit into the first two categories

    • Anonymous - November 23, 2017, 4:52 pm Reply

      Excellent Jorge – that makes more sense.
      Many thanks!

  5. Marta A - March 3, 2018, 12:23 pm Reply

    I don’t understand why /t/ sound would ever be tonight when teaching the sound of a D. It is a d always. What makes the sound different is the letters around it and that’s what makes it different. “Liked it” for example sound wrong and doesn’t flow when you teach the /t/ sound is is still very much a /d/.

    • Anonymous - June 27, 2018, 8:08 am Reply

      um, no. In English, the letters that are written do not always correspond to the sound. A /t/ sound is a /t/ sound regardless of how a word is spelled. You have the situation reversed.

  6. sacre pangu - March 24, 2018, 12:48 pm Reply

    wow!! it’s so impontant,because most of time some english speakers got a scatter brain about this grammar structure,which is more useful in spoken english.likewise it was also a big difficulty that i had during my speech.anyway your explaining gave me good skill now.thanks a million.

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