Past-Tense Regular Verb Pronunciation

Adults students learning English as a second language
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A language that's always changing and adding new words, English is a challenging one to learn, as it is full of quirks and exceptions. The construction of regular past-tense verbs, at least, is pretty straightforward. It is generally done by adding -d or -ed to the verb, and it doesn't change form based on the subject of the verb: I asked, he agreed, you accepted—the verbs in these instances all look alike, ending in "-ed." What does differ between them, though, is the pronunciation of the ending.

For some verbs, it's a voiceless sound like "T," as in asked; in some, it's a voiced sound of "D," as in agreed; and in some, it's pronounced like "ID," as in accepted. The lists that follow are three groupings of regular past-tense verbs, based on their pronunciation of the ending. 

Note: When you are looking at sentences to find the verbs to change to past tense, be certain you have found the verbs. 

Regular Past-Tense English Verbs

Group A: Voiceless Sound: Last Sound of the Verb in the Infinitive

If the infinitive of the verb has a voiceless sound at the end of it, such as p, k, s, ch, sh, f, x, or h, you pronounce the "ed" ending as a "T." (Note the pronunciation in parentheses. It's the sound that determines the group that a word belongs to, not always the written letter.)

Example: Ask, asked = ask(T)

"Ed" as “T”

  • asked
  • baked
  • brushed
  • cooked
  • cracked
  • crashed
  • danced (da:ns) + t
  • dressed
  • dropped
  • escaped
  • finished
  • fixed
  • guessed
  • helped
  • hiked
  • hoped
  • joked
  • jumped
  • kissed
  • knocked
  • laughed (læf) + t
  • locked
  • looked
  • missed
  • mixed
  • packed
  • passed
  • picked
  • pressed
  • pronounced
  • pushed
  • relaxed
  • shopped
  • slipped
  • smoked
  • stopped
  • talked
  • typed
  • walked
  • washed
  • watched
  • worked

Group B: Voiced Sound: Last Sound of the Verb in Infinitive

If the last sound in the verb is a voiced one, such as in l, v, n, m, r, b, v, g, w, y, z, and vowel sounds, or diphthongs, then pronounce the "-ed" ending as "D."

Example: Allow, allowed = allow(D)

Ed as “D”

  • advised (ad’vaiz) + d
  • agreed
  • allowed
  • answered
  • appeared
  • arrived
  • believed
  • belonged
  • burned
  • called
  • carried
  • changed
  • cleaned
  • closed
  • covered
  • cried
  • damaged
  • described
  • died
  • dried
  • earned
  • encouraged
  • enjoyed
  • entered
  • explained
  • explored
  • filled
  • followed
  • happened
  • imagined
  • interviewed
  • jailed
  • killed
  • listened
  • lived
  • loved
  • measured
  • moved
  • opened
  • planned
  • played
  • performed
  • pulled
  • rained
  • realized
  • remembered
  • repaired
  • saved
  • shared
  • shaved
  • showed
  • signed
  • slammed
  • stayed
  • snowed
  • studied
  • traveled
  • tried
  • turned
  • used
  • welcomed
  • whispered
  • worried
  • yawned

Group C: T or D: Last Sound of the Verb in Infinitive

If the last sound in the infinitive verb is a t or d, pronounce the "-ed" ending as “ID.”

Example: Need, needed = need(id)

Ed as “ID”

  • accepted
  • afforded
  • arrested
  • attended
  • collected
  • contacted
  • counted
  • decided
  • defended
  • demanded
  • divided
  • ended
  • expanded
  • expected
  • exported
  • flooded
  • graduated
  • hated
  • hunted
  • included
  • invented
  • invited
  • landed
  • needed
  • painted
  • planted
  • presented
  • pretended
  • printed
  • protected
  • provided
  • rented
  • repeated
  • reported
  • respected
  • rested
  • scolded
  • shouted
  • skated
  • started
  • treated
  • visited
  • waited
  • wanted
  • wasted

The past simple form is often confused with the present perfect. Review present perfect versus past simple to help you test your understanding of when to use the present perfect or past simple tense.