The letters ED are often added to regular verbs to create the past tense form of a verb. [See also: Tense: Past simple]

They can also be found at the end of some adjectives, however these pronunciation rules here do not always apply to them.  

There are three ways to pronounce ED: /ɪd/, /d/, and /t/.

Overview
Verb ends withED pronunciationExtra syllable?
/d/ and /t/. /ɪd/YES
vowels/d/NO
voice consonants/d/NO
unvoiced consonants/t/NO

Pronunciation

1.   ED = /ɪd/

​This occurs after words that end with /d/ and /t/

​This is also pronounced as an extra syllable because it contains a vowel sound. So if the base form of a verb has one syllable, adding “ED” should result in two syllables. ​

  • End /end/ ➡ Ended /ˈendɪd/
  • Start /stɑːt/ ➡ Started /ˈstɑːtɪd/

There are words that end with a silent “e” and a “d” is just added instead. This rule still applies if the pronunciation ends with a /d/ or /t/ sound.

  • Decide /dɪˈsaɪd/ ➡ Decided /dɪˈsaɪdɪd/
  • Waste /weɪst/ Wasted /ˈweɪstɪd/

Mistakes are very obvious when learners add an extra syllable when it is not required.

  • Affirm /əˈfɜːm/ ➡ Affirmed /əˈfɜːmd/
    Not – /əˈfɜːmɪd/
  • Pick /pɪk/ ➡ Picked /pikd/
    Not – /pikɪd/

* Tip: Remember to add an extra syllable after /d/ and /t/.

2.   “ED” = /d/

This occurs after words that end with vowel sounds and voiced consonants. “Voiced” means that you use your vocal cords to make the sound.

Here, no extra syllable is added and /d/ is kind of squashed onto the last syllable of the verb. The number of syllables should not change before and after adding “ED”.

a. Words with that end with vowel sounds

They often end with vowels:

  • ee: Agree /əˈɡriː/ ➡ Agreed /əˈɡriːd/​
  • i: Ski /skiː/ ➡ Skied /skiːd/
  • o: Radio /ˈreɪdɪəʊ/ ➡ Radioed /ˈreɪdɪəʊd/
  • u: Plateau /ˈplætəʊ/ ➡ Plateaued /ˈplætəʊd/

But they can also end with consonants that may produce vowel sounds:

  • y: Annoy /əˈnɔɪ/ ➡ Annoyed /əˈnɔɪd/
  • w: Allow /əˈlaʊ/ ➡ Allowed /əˈlaʊd/
  • gh: Sigh /saɪ/ ➡ Sighed /saɪd/
b. Words that end with voiced consonants

Some words end with “e” which are either silent or is part of the consonant sound.

  • /m/: Inform /ɪnˈfɔːm/ ➡ Informed /ɪnˈfɔːmd/
  • /n/: Concern /kənˈsɜːn/ ➡ Concerned /kənˈsɜːnd/
  • /ŋ/: Bang /bæŋ/ ➡ Banged /bæŋd/
  • /l/: Smile /smaɪl/ ➡ Smiled /smaɪld/
  • /g/: Lag /læɡ/ ➡ Lagged /laɡd/
  • /dʒ/: Acknowledge /əkˈnɒlɪdʒ/ ➡ Acknowledged /əkˈnɒlɪdʒd/
  • /z/: Analyse /ˈæn(ə)læɪz/ ➡ Analysed /ˈænəlæɪzd/
  • /b/: Absorb /əbˈzɔːb/ ➡ Absorbed /əbˈzɔːbd/
  • /v/: Prove /pruːv/ ➡ Proved /pruːvd/

* Tip: ​/d/ follows words that end with voiced consonants and vowels.

3.   “ED” = /t/

This occurs after words that end with voiceless consonants. “Voiceless” means the vocal cords are not used and the sound is produced by air flow instead.

Again, no extra syllable is added and /t/ is also kind of squashed onto the last syllable of the verb. The number of syllables should not change before and after adding “ED”.

a. Words with that end with voiceless consonants
  • /k/: Mock /mɒk/ ➡ Mocked /mɒkt/ 
  • /p/: Hop /hɒp/ ➡ Hopped /hɒpt/
  • /f/: Laugh /lɑːf/ ➡ Laughed /lɑːft/
  • /s/: Cross /krɒs/ ➡ Crossed /krɒst/
  • /ʃ/: Push /pʊʃ/ ➡ Pushed /pʊʃt/
  • /tʃ/: Watch /wɒtʃ/ ➡ Watched /wɒtʃt/

​​* Tip: /t/ follows words that end with voiceless consonants.

4.   Exceptions – Adjectives that end with “ED”

Some adjectives that end with “ED” do not follow the same pronunciation rules, and an extra syllable (/ɪd/) is pronounced.

This can create some confusion, however just remember that the normal rules apply with verbs and not all of these adjectives have a “verb form.”

  • Adjective: “I spent my vacation in blessed (/ˈblesɪd/) freedom.”
  • Verb: “I was blessed (/blesd/) by their help.”
More examples of adjectives with “ed”:​
  • Aged /ˈeɪ.dʒɪd/
  • Beloved /bɪˈlʌvɪd/
  • Crooked /ˈkrʊkɪd/
  • Cursed /ˈkɜːsɪd/
  • Dogged /ˈdɒɡɪd/
  • Learned /ˈlɜːnɪd/
  • Naked /ˈneɪkɪd/
  • One-legged /ˈlegɪd/
  • Ragged /ˈræɡɪd/
  • Rugged /ˈrʌɡɪd/
  • Sacred /ˈseɪkrɪd/
  • Supposed /səˈpəʊzɪd/
  • Wicked /ˈwɪkɪd/
  • Wretched /ˈretʃɪd/

Original posts: 10 December 2020

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