How To Pronounce Regular Verbs in English



How to correctly pronounce regular verbs in their past tense form? Well, in this episode, I share some tips on helping you pronounce regular verbs correctly. Hope you learn something new and as always enjoy :)


You are listening to English Made Simple. This is Episode 46. Hola Amigos How are ya? This is Milena from How are you guys? Hope you guys are doing well. You know what I just realized? English Made simple has been featured on ITunes right next to BBC and Tony Robbins. Wow. Who would have thought that? Wow. And where is my applause. Great. Thank you very much. Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you. Well, we are approaching 30,000 downloads. Wow. I guess it makes sense now that English made simple is still ranked high in ITunes and that’s thanks to you guys, my awesome listener who put up with my silly jokes all the time …oh and welcome to the new listener. Thanks for joining the English Made Simple gang. We are now up to Episode 46 so I suggest you to also listen to all the previous one as well. That should be well over 6 hours worth of information available right there for you guys. Excellent.

I think this is enough of silliness on my part. Should we continue now? Yes.

And before we get onto this show. Let me send a special hello to Ahmed Said from Egypt. Yes, Egypt!. Or Egipto in Spanish or Egipat in Serbian. Yes, you heard it right. Ahmed Said is from Egypt and he is another raving fan of English Made Simple podcast. Thanks for your kind comments buddy and keep listening. We got more countries tuning in to this show. The lists keep growing every month. Awesome. It’s amazing! So guys, in the last episode, we touched on the phrase ‘used to’. Hope that was useful to you and I think it’s is a good segué into the past. Now let’s talk about the past. The past tense I mean not my past. The tense, the English past tense.

When we talk about the past, we think about an action in the past right? It is always about the action. Was the action ongoing, you know continuous in the past or has the action stop sometime in the past indefinitely. To talk about the past, we used the tenses such as simple past tense, the present perfect tense, the past perfect tense, the past continuous tense. And you know what guys, most of you already know this, most of you would already know basic definition of this tenses. But what some of my students struggle with is the pronunciations of the regular verbs in the past tense. Let’s not even get into the irregular verbs that is a whole different beast. Irregular verbs, don’t you love them. Irregular verbs are very special. We can look at them another time but let’s keep this simple for now. Let’s focus on the regular verbs. I want to focus on the pronunciation of the regular verbs in the past.

What some most of my students often get confused when they try to pronounce regular verbs in the past tense. They can write them down on the paper, it looks all correct but when they say it loud, when you pronounce them, that is where the issues occur. In this episode, I will share a tip on how to pronounce the regular verbs. This will be very easy to remember guys, I assure you. In English, it all about the sound. When you listen to the British English, you can almost hear them sing right, especially for the longer sounding vowels. For example,… you simply can’t do that. Can’t do that? It’s almost like a singing. What I am trying to say by this is that English language is always about the sound and this is important when we talk about the past tense and when we try to pronounce the regular verbs in the past tense.

There are 3 different sounds we need to be aware of when we pronounce the verb in the past tense. There is a ‘t’. There is a ‘d’ and there is the ‘id’ sound. I will come back to this again. But for now, let’s consider these 4 verbs in their present form; ‘talk’, ’manage’, ’complete’, and ‘decide’. Four verbs! Let’s look at the first verb ‘talk’. If the last syllable sounds softer or technically speaking, these are called voiceless sounds. ‘Talk’ for example has the ‘k’ sound and that is a very soft sound. If there is a softer sound in the last syllable like ‘talk’. ‘kiss’, ‘laugh’, ‘finish’ for example. The past tense of those will sound like ‘t’. So ‘talked’, ‘kissed’, ’laughed’, and ‘finished’. Okay, it is a very soft ‘t’ sound. When we pronounce these verbs in the past tense. So these voiceless sounds, they are ‘p’ ‘k’, ‘s’, v’ and ‘sh’. In some grammar books, they call them voiced and un-voiced sounds but I call them hard and soft sound. Harder sounding last syllable would be for example ‘manage’, ‘change’, ‘stay’, ‘plan’, ‘expel’. So to me, they sound harder. There are not so soft like ‘talk’, ‘kiss’, ‘laugh’ and ‘finish’. These are in present tense. In the past tense, it would be ‘managed’, ‘changed’, ‘stayed’, ‘planned’ and ‘expelled’. Right? So it is not the ‘t’ sound, it is a ‘d’ sound. If you feel comfortable saying it with a ‘t’, that is fine because it is still in the past tense. ‘Managed’; it is kind of hard to say with a ‘t’. ‘Stayed’; you know, you kind of want to say it with a harder ‘d’. ‘d’ sound. ‘d’ for dog. ‘Planned’, ‘Expelled’. Cool. Are you with me so far guys? Awesome.

I will give you an example of in the past tense. A sentence in the past tense. In the last episode, I talked about the phrase ‘used to’. That is my example using the word ‘talked’ in the past tense. I talked about the phrase ‘used to’. In the Spanish telenovele Grand Hotel it’s called Grand Hotel. Julio and Alicia kissed. That is in the past tense. Yesterday I went out with my friends and we had fun and we laughed together. So it sounds like a ‘t’. ‘Laughed’. I finished my homework yesterday. Great We don’t say ‘talk-ed’, ‘kiss-ed’, ‘laugh-ed’ or ‘finish-ed’. We say ‘talked’, ‘kissed’, ‘laughed’ or ‘finished’.

Great. Now, here is a tip for you guys.

So, remember how I mentioned just earlier I said there are 3 different sounds we need to be aware of when we pronounce the verb in the past tense. There is a ‘t’ sound, a ‘d’ sound and a ‘id’ sound. So I mentioned this a little earlier but I want to now give an example of ‘id’ sound and this is a very simple one. I want you to remember this one. I will give you a tip. For any regular verb that has the last syllable that ends with the sound the sound ‘t’ or ‘d’. For example, ‘complete’ or ‘decide’. These are 2 verbs. We have to pronounce them as ‘id’. Okay? In the past tense, we would have to pronounce them as ‘id’. So for example, ‘completed’, ‘decided’. We have to make it ‘id’. We have to make that last syllable ‘id’. ‘Completed’, ‘Decided’. So why do we have to change the sound at the end. Well, the way I remember this is that if we just say ‘complete’ and if we don’t say ‘completed’. This is actually the present tense. ‘Complete’ is the present tense. And if we are talking about the past, we must enunciate the last bit to sound as ‘completed’. So that’s how we know it is in the past tense. More examples of these type of regular verbs that gives us the ‘id’ sound at the end are ‘waited’, ‘divided’, ‘investigated’, ‘updated’, ‘hated’, ‘accepted’, and ‘added’. Okay.

There are many of those regular verbs. But I notice that some of my students would just say ‘complete’ or ‘divide’. They would not pronounce the ‘completed’, or ‘divided’ sound. So that’s just the tip. So if the regular verb end with a ‘t’ or a ‘d’ sound. ‘Complete’ ends with a ‘t’, ‘divide’ ends with a ‘d’ sound. We must to add the ‘id’ at the end. ‘Completed’, ‘Divided’. And that is how we know that the verb is actually in the past tense.

Cool. I hope you are following me so far guys. I hope that was helpful. I will give you a test now. Just to …you know make you that you were listening to me! I will give you a list of regular verbs and I want you to pronounce them in their past tense. If it helps you, you can write them down and then try to pronounce them if that helps you. I want you to practise at home, ok?

Here is a list of 10 or 15….let’s say 10 verbs. Here is a list of 10 regular verbs, I want you to practise at home in their past tense.

To want, to use, to work, to call, to try, to need, to move, to happen, to include, to change, to watch, is anybody counting, I think that’s 10… I am not sure, I will give you two more. To follow, to stop. Excellent. Right!

That’s a long list for you guys. So try and practise those at home. If you have to listen to this episode again.

And now we have finished with today’s episode. Just before we wrap up, I want to mention that you’ve probably received an email from me About the Short and Sweet ideas. Because my number one priority is for you to learn… A few of you have received my email twice, oopsy daisy as Donald Trump says I apple-gise, he means to say ”I apologise” yes I apologise we had a technical glitch, which is all sorted now.
I’ll collect some ideas and share them with you on Wednesday.

All transcriptions are available on my site.
Until then! Hasta la proxima!

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