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Tell me if this sounds like natural English. I watched my mom as she dragged the trash can to the curb. I wanted to help her. I exclaimed to her “you should have asked me. I would have helped you.” not quite. It’s not quite natural English and that’s because I followed all the rules for ED endings. Wait. If I followed all the rules, why didn’t I sound natural? Because Americans do all sorts of crazy things with the T and D sounds.
This is video two in our series on ED endings, regular past tense verbs. If you didn’t see video one, don’t worry, you’re going to be okay. We’re going to not just learn the pronunciation rules, but the pronunciation habits of Americans. So you can sound totally natural speaking in the past tense in American English. And remember, if you like this video, or you learned something new, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe with notifications. It helps a lot.
This is the second video and we’re gonna dive deep into rule two. I’ll do a ten second recap of the rules. Rule one, if the sound at the end of the infinitive is unvoiced, ED is pronounced tt– walked. Rule two, if it’s voiced, the ED is pronounced dd– agreed. Seemed. Rule three, if that last sound is T or D, the ED ending is –ihd: needed, painted. Was that ten seconds or was it longer?
So rule two. The last sound in the infinitive is a voiced sound. What is a voiced sound? All vowels and diphthongs are voiced, and some consonants. First, we’ll talk about vowels and diphthongs. For example, the word agree ends in the ee vowel, agree, past tense would be agreed, with the D sound. Agreed. Now, you probably learned that D is pronounced dd– a stop of air, voicing the vocal chords, ddd— dd– dd– and then a release. Agreed. But we actually have a couple of different pronunciations that we’ll use for these rule 2 ED endings. Let’s look at the phrase I agreed it would be a good idea. Agreed it, agreed it, agreed di di di dih– agreed itThat’s a flap of the tongue, it’s not a stop of air, it’s actually just like the flap T, if you’re familiar with that sound, the D between vowel or diphthong sounds is a quick single flap of the tongue against the roof of the mouth. Agreed it, agreed it, dadadadaa– agreed it.
So anytime with these ED endings that you have the sounds of a vowel or diphthong, D, and then a vowel or diphthong, it’s a flap. Agreed it. Lied about. Lied ah– lied about, lied about, lied about.
What if the next word doesn’t begin with a vowel or diphthong, but rather a consonant? Let’s take a look at the example agreed with– I agreed with you. I agreed with you. It’s not a fully pronounced D because there’s no release. That would be this: I agreed with you. I agreed with you. Agreed with. Agreed with. We don’t do that. We don’t do that release when the next word begins with a consonant. We make the noise in the vocal cords, but we don’t release it. We go right into the next sound, in this case, w. Agreed with, agreed with, agreedIt’s the sound but there’s not a stop and release. We just carry that voiced D right into the w. Agreed with. Agreed with. We like to make English really smooth and that’s why in these cases, stop consonants are not fully pronounced. Let’s look at a few more examples where we have a vowel or diphthong, then the D, and then the next word begins with a consonant.
He sued the company.
Sued the, sued the. Do you hear that D in the vocal cords? He sued the company. Plowed through. Plowed. Plowed through. Weighed my options. Weighed my, weighed my, weighed my options.
Now let’s look at a few more examples, you tell me how the ED ending should be pronounced: flapped or unreleased? The next word begins with a consonant sound so this D is unreleased. Toyed with. Toyed with. Toyed with.
Let’s go to youglish for an example.
Toyed with– can you say that now really easily with that unreleased D sound? Toyed with– toyed with– what about this one? Is the D flapped or unreleased? Reviewed a– reviewed a– that’s usually going to be a flap because the D comes between two vowel or diphthong sounds. Reviewed a– reviewed a– let’s go to youglish for an example.
One more. What about this one? Booed by– the next word begins with a consonant, so that will be an unreleased D. Booed by– vibrating the vocal chords, making the D sound but not releasing. Booed by– let’s look at an example.
So for rule two, we looked at vowel and diphthongs, plus ed. What about all the consonants that are voiced? That’s still rule two. And things start to get a little more complicated. We’ll look at each of these voiced consonant endings. Let’s start with R like in the word fired. He was fired last week. Fired last, fired last, not dd– a release, that would be fired last, fired last, but it’s: fired last, that unreleased D sound in the vocal cords before the next consonant.
If the next word begins with a vowel or diphthong, the D will be flapped, but only because of the R, the rule for flapping is a D or T will be flapped between two sounds that are vowels and diphthongs, or if the first sound, the sound before is an R and the sound after is a vowel or diphthong, like in the word party, or hardy. Those are both flaps because of the R, DT, vowel or diphthong pattern. Party. Hardy. So when we have an ending R infinitive, plus the D sound, plus the word that begins with the vowel or diphthong, that D will be flapped. It’s not like this for any of these other voiced consonants. It’s just because of the R. He was fired on monday. Fired on– rarara– single flap of the tongue. Fired on. And I should say for any of these rule two words, if the next word is you or your, a native speaker might turn that D into a J sound. We do this with any word that ends in a D when the next word begins with you or your, like in the phrase: would you– would jjjj– J sound. Would you. Would you do that for me?
Jj– jj– so all of these words in rule 2 do end in a D sound therefore, you might hear this happen. Let’s take: fired you, fired you, as an example, fired you.
Fired you, fired you, jj– with that J sound. How about g? Another voiced consonant like in the word beg, begged. She begged all the time. When the next word begins with a vowel or diphthong, you will release that D into the next word: begged all the time, dall– dall– dall– begged all– begged all the time. But when the next sound is a consonant, it gets more complicated. Honestly, there are three ways you might hear it: first, dropped. I begged for a dog when I was a little kid. Begged for, begged for. I dropped it there. Or you might hear that unreleased D sound in the vocal cords. I begged for a dog. Begged for a dog. Begged for a dog. Or you might even hear a light release. I begged for a dog. Begged ddd– light release. I begged for a dog. Let me show you what I mean. We’ll go to youglish. Now in this one, I hear the D in the vocal cords, but not released. Begged for, begged for.
In this next one, I don’t really hear any D. I think it’s dropped.
And now an example where the D is lightly released.
Like I said in my rule one video, try not to get stressed out about there being more than one option if it’s easier for you to always lightly release your D, that’s okay. As you get more used to English, and you’re around a lot of native speakers, or if you’re doing a lot of imitating, you may find that you start dropping the D sound more naturally. What we’re doing here is looking at all the different possibilities and pronunciations of what you’ll hear when speaking with American. When a word ends in the J sound, like in change, I just listened to a bunch of examples of changed. Let’s listen to a few.
So all those had the released D. Changed. But it can definitely be dropped too. Let’s look at a common phrase: changed my mind. Changed my, it’s fairly common to draw for the ED ending there. The more common a phrase is, the more likely we’ll do some sort of reduction there. And that’s what I found often happens here. I changed my mind, becomes: I change my mind. I listened to a lot of phrases and the D was almost always dropped. So it just sounds like the present tense. Change my mind. Even though it’s past tense. Here are some examples.
Changed my mind. When I listened in slow motion, I don’t hear any kind of D.
Here are a few more with that dropped D.
What about a word where the last sound in the infinitive is the L like in the word drill? When it’s followed by a word that begins with a vowel or diphthong, release the D into that word to link it. Drilled into, drilled into. Let’s look at some examples where the next word begins with a consonant.
Drilled to– the D made in the vocal cords, drilled to–, it’s not released we just go right into the T sound. If I released it it would be: drilled to, drilled to, but it’s drilled to, drilled to. Listen again.
Drilled but, drilled but. I did hear the D released lightly. Drilled but. This next one was tricky for me. I had to really slow it down to hear if there is an unreleased D or not, I think there is.
The most common pronunciation I was hearing in various situations was an unreleased D. Now we’ll cover our three nasal consonants: m, n, and NG. For M we’ll look at the word bummed. That means disappointed. We often use it without. I’m so bummed out. Now in that case, because the next word begins with the diphthong, we link with the D –dout, –dout, bummed out– bummed out– i’m so bummed out. Let’s listen to an example of that one.
–dout, –dout, bummed out–
Now we’ll hear two examples where bummed is followed by a consonant. First, it’s dropped, and that’s more common, and then you’ll hear it where it’s released.
Bummed that– I didn’t hear that D at all. That D was dropped. Here it’s released.
Bummed for, bummed for, ddd– a light release of the D. You know, I haven’t been talking about much when these ED ending words are at the end of a thought group. There, it will usually be a light release. Let’s look at an example.
Bummed. Light release. That’s a fun word, isn’t it? I’m feeling bummed. I’m kind of bummed out. Or you can use it as a noun. It’s a bummer. Oh, shoot! My favorite restaurant is closed today. I wanted to eat there. That’s a bummer.
N. N is kind of special. N can make a T silent. Do you know this rule when T comes after an n, it’s not uncommon to drop that T like in the word internet or interview. When D comes after an N and before another consonant, it’s pretty common to drop like in grand piano so it’s really common to drop the D sound in these ED endings when the sound in the infinitive, the final sound, was N and the next word begins with a consonant. Let’s look at several examples. These are all with the word signed.
All with a dropped D. Now we’ll look at drained. Also all dropped d’s here.
Drained deep– and as always, when the next word begins with the vowel or diphthong, we’ll use the released D to link in, like in this example:
Signed into– into dadadadada– with that D sound linking. At the end of a sentence, we’ll probably release that D. What about NG? Well we don’t have many words here. A lot of those NG ending verbs are not regular like: ring, rang, sing, sang, but we do have the word long, longed. The noun is longing and this means to yearn for, to have a strong desire for. I longed for my mother’s attention. Or I longed for my newborn baby when I was at work. Or I longed to be taken seriously. This is often followed by for, which of course begins with a consonant. The ED ending can be dropped, but also this is an emotional word and it will sometimes be more stressed. I longed for acceptance. And in these cases, the D will probably be lightly released. We’ll hear two examples. First, where it’s dropped and then when it’s not.
Let’s move on to the voiced th. This is another sound that’s not very common in ED ending words we have: smoothed, bathed. These words will most often be followed by a word that begins with a vowel like ‘smoothed out’ or ‘smoothed over’ or ‘bathed in’. We’ll lightly release the D into that next sound. But when the next sound is a consonant, it’s much easier to drop the ED ending to connect. Here are three examples dropping the ED ending with the word smoothed.
The v sound like in: moved his car, moved his, moved his, there I dropped the h in his, that’s a common reduction, and so the D linked into the ih sound because that’s a vowel. Moved his dis dis, I moved his car. At the end of a sentence, we’ll probably release that D. He moved. He moved. But when the next sound is a consonant, you’ll hear both dropped and lightly released. Here are two examples. In the first, the D is released. Moved me. In the second example, it’s dropped.
Words were the infinitive, ends in z like buzzed, the rules are the same. Release D into a vowel or diphthong like in: buzzed about.
‘Buzzed about’ means really talked about, there’s a lot of interest about something. At the end of a thought group, it will likely be released like here.
And when the next word begins with a consonant, you’ll have either dropped or lightly released ending, here’s an example where it’s released.
And where the ED ending is completely dropped.
We have one more sound here for rule two, and it’s the ZH sound it’s not at all common to have a verb that ends with ZH plus ED but we do have barraged. Barraged means to bombard. Aggressively throw something at someone. And it might not mean physically throw, you can barrage someone with words, or someone can feel barraged with emails, they just keep getting too many emails, they can’t keep up. This word is usually followed by with or by, but you might hear ‘barraged us’ followed by a vowel so you’ll link with the D. They barraged us with phone calls. Dus dus dus, barraged us, barraged us. At the end of a sentence, I’ll lightly release it I was completely barraged. But followed by a consonant, it will likely be dropped.
Or lightly released.
Whew! That is a lot for rule 2, isn’t it? The pronunciations of the ED ending depend on the sounds before and after. And the more you study and watch examples on Youglish or ted talks, the more you’ll get used to how Americans pronounce the ED endings, and you’ll be able to smooth out your own speech and sound natural. Now let’s have you train with some of these rule two cases with a dropped D to make that feel more comfortable for you. First, you’ll hear a phrase then you’ll hear just the two-word link in slow motion twice, three time, repeat the third time, it’s important to not just learn something but to actually train it, to speak out loud, to get used to it.
I did not expect rule 2 to take this long. We’re going to save rule 3 for another video coming out in a few weeks. While you wait for that next video, be sure to check out this video. Also check out my online courses at Rachel’s English academy. You’ll become a more confident English speaker. I make new videos every tuesday. Be sure to come back next week to watch more. I love being your English teacher. That’s it and thanks so much for using Rachel’s English.