Pronouncing -ed Endings
There is a simple rule to explain how the ‘-ed’ endings of simple past verbs are pronounced. When your students use the following exercise, they will discover this rule for themselves. To prepare, write the following 30 example verbs on flash cards and shuffle them. Also, give your student three category label cards for the sounds “t,” “d” and “id.”
|“t” sound||“d” sound||“id” sound|
How to do it:
- Students lay out all the verb cards on a flat surface.
- For each verb, students pronounce its past form.
- Students then decide in which category to place the verb card (i.e., play in the past tense would be under the “d” card category).
- When students have finished their first pass, ask them to pronounce all the past forms again to double check.
- After they have double checked, inform the students that they should find exactly 10 in each category. This should cause some rethinking.
- When students have assigned 10 verbs to each sound category, you can then scan their card groupings for accuracy.
- Inform them if an error exists.
- When all 30 verbs have been labeled properly, ask the students to formulate reasons for each category (Note: if they can’t get it after a time and are becoming frustrated, direct their attention to the final sound of each verb-this should help them get it.)
- Once the students can define the rules behind the pronunciation differences, be sure they are prepared to explain it to others if needed.
Why it works
Students enjoy this activity because it gives them a chance to solve a grammar puzzle by themselves. When they are finished, they have learned a rule they can apply every day.
Teaching Notes: wished-signed-visited
- The past -ed sounds like “t’ when the base verb ends in a voiceless sound (like wish).
- When the verb ends in a voiced sound (like sign) the -ed ending sounds like “d.”
- When the verb ends in a “t” or “d” sound (like visit), the -ed ending sounds like “id.” This adds an additional syllable to the word.
Let your students find this rule for themselves as they work on putting the verbs into the right categories.
Adapted from Hands-on English, Volume 13, Number 6