Past Tense Pronunciation


tips for pronunciation

Tips for pronunciation

This English tip deals with past tense pronunciation of simple past tense verbs.  If the verb is regular, you can use the following method to pronounce verbs in the past tense correctly.

Now it is important to remember that we are working with sounds not letters. For example, let’s take the word “Fake.”  You may think that the last sound is “eh” because of the letter “E” but it is not.  The sound we must concentrate on is a “K” sound.  The letter E is silent.  Click “Fake” to hear its pronunciation.

When we convert the word “Fake” to the past tense, we simply add the letters “ED” to the end.  The pronunciation is based on the simple present sound.  So, if the sound of the letter was “K” in the simple past will sound like “T” like the T in cat.  It will be easier if you just hear the sample if you click here. In addition to the K sound, the following sounds will take on the T sound in the past tense.

P,F,S,K,ʃ(Sh),tʃ(Ch) 

Sound Present Simple Past Simple
P Help Helped
F Laugh Laughed
S(x,ce) Mix Mixed
  Entice Enticed
  Kiss Kissed
K Fake Faked
ʃ(Sh) Finish Finished
tʃ(Ch) Parch Parched

If the words end in the following sounds, the pronunciation ends in the sound “D” like in the word sad.  You do not pronounce the e because it is silent.

b,g,v,z,ʒ ,dʒ ,m,n, ŋ,l,r,ð

Sound Present Simple Past Simple
V Pave Paved
Z Please Pleased
Z Excuse Excused
ʒ Massage Massaged
d ʒ Arrange Arranged
M Consume Consumed
N Resign Resigned
ŋ Bang Banged
L Seal Sealed
R Gather Gathered
ð Bathe Bathed           

If the words end in the following sounds, the pronunciation ends in the sound “ED” or “ID” like in the word red.  The “E” is not silent.

t,d

Sound Present Simple Past Simple
T Want Wanted
D Need Needed

For some extra pronunciation practice, download this audio file on the past tense pronunciation of “asked” by  clicking here.  The idea is to break the word “asked” into its separate sounds.  Then you say the sounds slowly and in order, slowly at first, gaining speed as you become more proficient.

as – k – T       ask – T      asked

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For a download of all the words and audio listed in this post, click here and then click the download button.

About englishworkshopmexico

My name is James. I work as a teacher and marketer with English Workshop in Mexico City. We provide Business English courses to aspiring people who are looking to move up the career ladder or simply become more international. I have been with English Workshop for around two years and I very much enjoy the teaching and marketing profession.
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