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How to pronounce words with ‘-ed’ past suffix

Even though it seems like English is completely inconsistent and there are no logical pronunciation rules, the pronunciation of the -ed suffix is pretty consistent and clear…if you know the rules.
In this lesson you’ll learn:
– What’s the 3 different pronunciations of the -ed simple past suffix
– when you should use each
– what’s the thumb rule to follow so you don’t have to analyze every word before saying it.


Hey guys, it’s Hadar and this is the Accent’s Way.

Today we are going to talk about something that many of you have asked me to explain before and that is

how to pronounce the -ed suffix or shall we call it the ‘t’ suffix or just the ‘d’ suffix.

Now the -ed suffix can be pronounced three different ways the first one is just ‘d’

as in ‘played’



The second option is a ‘t’ sound as in ‘worked’, or ‘crossed’.

Now the third option is ‘id’ a relaxed ‘i’ sound and a ‘d’.


As in ‘did’, and you can find it in words like ‘invented’ or ‘executed’.

Now like we don’t have enough confusing things in English, this -ed suffix

sounds like three different sounds, when do we know when to use what?

So, I’ll first lay out the rule, right the phonological rule, and then I’ll give you

my rule, which is the shortcut actually.

Now when the past suffix appears after a vowel then it’s pronounced as a ‘d’ as in

‘played’, ‘fried’ and ‘stayed’

Do you hear that? It’s a ‘d’ sound.





Now when the -ed suffix appears after a voiced consonant as in





Okay, all of these are voiced consonants because the vocal cords are vibrating, for example


The ‘v’ is a voiced consonant so the -ed is pronounced as a ‘d’


There is no vowel here, okay, it’s not ‘sei-ved’. The only time we add a vowel

before the ‘d’ is in the third option, and we’re gonna talk about that in a second, okay.

So in the word ‘save’ there is no ‘e’ sound it’s just a ‘d’ right after the consonant


And if it’s difficult for you then practice stretching out, holding out the sound before.

‘seiv…’ and as you’re pronouncing it lift the tongue up for the ‘d’

‘seiv…d’, and that’s it ‘saved’.



It’s not ‘de-T’R-mi-nEd’.

Okay, there is no vowel there. Why?

Because there is a consonant, a voiced consonant at the end, that’s an ‘n’ sound.


How do I know? I can feel my vocal cords vibrating as I’m pronouncing the ‘n’




‘z’ is a voiced consonant


I’m closing it with the ‘d’

Not ‘organized’


Okay, so a ‘d’ after a vowel, that’s easy, a ‘d’ after a voiced consonant.

That’s a little more challenging, so you want to make sure there is no vowel there.

Now when the -ed suffix appears after a voiceless consonant.

So think about it. Let’s try to say the word ‘work’ and add to it the ‘d’ sound.





Doesn’t come out as a ‘d’. Let’s think of the word ‘cross’.



No, there is no vowel in between, okay?

So we have to connect the consonant, let’s try


It’s almost impossible. It doesn’t sound good and it takes up too much energy.

Why? Because when the ‘d’ appears after a voiceless consonant, for example





Then the ‘d’ turns into a ‘t’. It’s like the ‘d’ which is a voiced consonant, takes the feature

the voicing feature of whatever comes before, so if it’s a voiced consonant

then it remains a voiced ‘d’.

If it’s a voiceless consonant, then it loses its voicing quality, and it turns into a ‘t’.

So the ‘d’ turns into a ‘t’, if it appears after a voiceless consonant.

For example


‘sh’ ‘sh’ ‘sh’, voiceless


That’s a ‘t’.







Right, so, it’s not ‘mixd’.

It’s not ‘mix-ed’.

It’s ‘mikst’.

And I think this is the most important thing you need to remember.

So when the -ed suffix appears after a voiceless consonant, then it turns into a ‘t.’

Only when the -ed suffix appears after a verb that ends with a ‘t’ or a ‘d’, then we add the ‘i’ as in ‘sit’ right before.

Why? Because try to say just one consonant, just the ‘d’ sound after ’embed’


or ‘invite’


Right, I can’t suggest that there is an -ed suffix because they connect, the two ‘d’s or the two ‘t’s.

So we have to add a little vowel, an ‘i’ sound, it can also drop to a schwa.

And then add the ‘d’ that indicates that this is the past form




‘invited’ or ‘invi(d)ed’

Right, because the ‘t’ turns into a ‘d’ between two vowels




So when the -ed suffix appears after a ‘t’ or a ‘d’ that’s the only time we add a vowel

and that’s the ‘e’ sound or just a schwa, if you speak really fast



Okay, now here’s my tip when it comes to how do you know if you should pronounce it as a ‘d’, or a ‘t’.

Always try to add a ‘d’ with no vowel right after the verb.

So ‘played’

That’s okay!

But then when you want to say a word like ‘wash’ and add the ‘d’ sound, because that’s the thumb rule


It’s almost impossible to say, it’s going to come out as a ‘t’ anyway because English doesn’t like it

when you have a voiceless consonant, and then a voiced consonant right after


So as long as you don’t turn it in to ‘wash-ed’ to make it easy on you

just let it come out as it should and it’s going to come out as a ‘t’



Okay, so sometimes non-native speakers try to simplify it and then add the schwa sound, right.

‘washəd’ or an ‘e’ sound


So the ‘d’ actually comes out. Don’t worry the ‘d’ shouldn’t come out if it’s impossible to pronounce it, right.




I’m spitting all over the place here, but that’s okay you should too.

I know it might still be a little bit confusing, and this is why you can come on over to my website and see all

the rules written out, so you can write it to yourself and practice it and just think about it.

Okay guys! The most important thing is don’t be afraid to make mistakes

because that’s the only way you learn, so speak up and don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel and

have a wonderful week, and I will see you next week in the next video.


Here are the rules again:
the -ed simple past suffix is pronounced as:

a D sound (no vowel before)
1. After a voiced consonant, as in: subscribed, signed, begged, saved.
2. After a vowel, as in: played, fried, paid.

a T sound (no vowel before)
After a voiceless consonant, as in: worked, crossed, washed, fixed.

-id (a lax /I/ sound or a Schwa before the d)
After a verb ending with a T or D sound, as in: graded, heated, succeeded, invited.

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