ED ENDINGS (1/3) American English Accent Training: PERFECT PRONUNCIATION


I made a mistake. Years ago, I made a video  about ED ending verbs, an accent training video,  

I went over the rules. But not how Americans  actually say these words in sentences. Don't  

make the same mistake I made. There are rules but  when it comes to accent training, you need to know  

how Americans actually pronounce these ED endings  in various situations, in various sentences.  

Sometimes the ED ending is completely dropped. So  there's a good chance you're over pronouncing the  

ends of these words. With this fix, you'll sound  more natural and understand Americans better. And  

you'll have an easier time speaking englishWe're going to go to youglish and look through  

tons of examples together, so you know you're  getting what native speakers actually do.  

As always, if you like this videoor you learned something new,  

please give it a thumbs up and subscribe with  notifications, it helps a lot. Thank you so much.

There are very few rules in American English  pronunciation that don't have a lot of exceptions.  

But there are actually some useful rules when  it comes to ED endings. We'll go over these,  

but first, I just want to point out thatlot of the most common verbs are irregular,  

which means the past tense doesn't add an ED. I  do becomes I did, I go becomes I went, and so on.

If you're at this level of english, you already  know a lot of these. And you probably learned  

something wrong about the regular past  tense, the pronunciation of ED endings.

There are three rules. The first one is: if the  sound before the ED ending is unvoiced, then the  

EDending becomes a T. Worked, for example. The  K sound is unvoiced. Kk-- that means only air  

makes the sound, not a vibration of the vocal  cords, kk--. So for an unvoicED ending the ED is  

also unvoiced, tt-- tt-- the T sound is unvoicedWorked. Worked. You probably learned that. Worked.  

And you learned that pronunciation with that true  T. Okay, let's go to Youglish where we can hear  

some Americans saying this word, worked, with that  tt-- T sound following the rules of pronunciation

We're going to do a search on the phrase  'worked for', worked for, in American English.

So then one of the two adults  who worked for the program said-- 

Worked for the program. Wait, I didn't hear  that. Did you? I didn't hear worked for the  

program. I didn't hear that T: ttt--- I heard  work for the program. Let's listen again

Let's try it in slow motion. If we  slow it down here, do we hear the T? 

Two adults who work for the program said-- Work for the, work for the, work for the.

There's no T, it sounds like the present tense  work for. I work for them. But it's past tense,  

and we know that because she's telling a story  about something that happened to her in the past.

All right, well, let's listen to another  one. Are we hearing the T in worked?

My dad worked.

Okay, there he said: worked. Let's  listen to that in a full sentence.

You know, he worked for Chrysler--

Oh no! When he put the word in the  sentence, he dropped the T again.  

What's going on? Well, in American  English, it's pretty common to drop a T  

when it comes between two consonants. This  happens for example in the word exactly.  

Most Americans won't say that T. ExactlyThey'll say: exactly, dropping the T sound.

Or on the phrase: just because, most Americans  will drop that T because it comes between two  

consonants. And we'll say: just because--  jus be-- right from the S to the B with no T.

So this can happen with these  ED endings. As we go through  

all the rules for ED endings in this videowe're going to look at not just the rules,  

but what actually happens when Americans speakSo you're getting effective accent training.

So rule one was: unvoiced endingED is pronounced like a t. Tt--

Rule two: if the ending of the  word in the infinitive is voiced,  

the ED ending will also be voiced, which is a D.

Let's go to Youglish to find some examplesWe'll look at the phrase: opened the--

Oh no, it happened again. Opened the door--  became open the door, with no D sound,  

even though it was in the past  tense, even though in english,  

it would absolutely be written with that  ED ending. Let's listen in slow motion.

Nope. No d. We'll talk more about this  D later but, for now, let's go and look  

at the third rule for ED endings. If the  final sound is D or T, the ED ending adds  

not just an extra sound like ttt or ddd, but an  extra syllable. You can think of this as being IH  

as in sit or schwa plus D. And it's  said very quickly, it's unstressed.

So need becomes needed. That last syllable,  

always unstressed, said quicklyNeeded, ded ded ded. Needed.

So we're learning these three rules. Workedopened, and needed. And we're also learning  

how these endings might change when part ofsentence. Let's go into more detail about rule  

one. ED is T after an unvoiced sound. These are  all of the unvoiced sounds in American English.  

But we've already said that T goes with rule  three. Also there are no words that end in the H  

sound. Plenty of words that end in the letter  but none that end in the sound that I know of,  

so for our ending sound for rule one, we  have: ch-- ff-- kk-- pp-- ss-- sh-- and th--

For all of the words in this category, if the  ED word is at the end of the sentence, you will  

pronounce that T. How did you get there? I walkedWalked. With a light release of the T sound. For  

all of the words in this category, if the ED word  is linking into a word that begins with a vowel  

or diphthong, you will lightly release the T into  that word, connecting the two words, for example,  

walked a lot, walked a lot, walked a--  tuh tuh tuh. The T linking into the schwa.

But if the next begins with a consonantmany times, a native speaker will drop  

the T sound. Let's look at each of the  possibilities. We'll start with the CH  

like in the word watched, in the phraseI watched the best movie last night.  

I watched the best-- watch the best--  I watched the best movie last night.

Now let's play me saying that phrase in slow  motion, you won't hear a T: I watched the best  

movie last night. To fully pronounce the  T, it would sound like this: watched the,  

watched the. I watched the best movie last  night. I watched the best movie last night.  

And that's just not as natural as: I watched  the best movie last night. Dropping the T.

Now, do you have to drop the T? Will every  American always drop the T between two consonants?  

No. I'm sorry. This is one of the things  where sometimes Americans will do it,  

and sometimes they won't, but just  knowing about it is going to help you  

understand what's happening in  American English conversation.

And you're going to hear a lot of examples  in this video that will help you feel more  

comfortable dropping the T in these ED ending  words so that you can sound more natural too.

We're going to go to youglish and we're going  to listen to two people saying the phrase:  

watch the-- the, the first time, you'll  hear a T dropped, no T at all, and then not.

Watched the original-- I didn't hear a  T there. Let's listen in slow motion.

Okay, no T. Here's an example though where  there's a clear T in the phrase 'watched the'.

Watched the-- so this one can go either  way. The thing you don't want to do is  

drop the T but then not connect it to the  next word, you do want to connect them.   

You can only get by with dropping that T if you  connect. But even when we say this T, remember,  

it's not tt-- watched. It's got less energy than  that. Watched ttt--- watched the-- a very light T.

Next, the unvoiced sound f. Let's link it into  a vowel. Stuffed a-- stuffed a-- stuffed a-- 

Light true T connecting. Let's look at stuffed  the-- where the next sound is a consonant. I  

stuffed the blanket into the bag. Stuffed the-- I  went to Youglish and I heard both pronunciations,  

with the light T release and then also droppedLet's listen to some. Here, it's dropped.

And here it is lightly pronounced.

I'm not sure uh if you guys stuffed  the box. Stuffed the-- stuffed the--

The k sound, like in kicked, I  kicked it, linking into a vowel,  

we do a light T release. Kicked it-- ttt--- when  the next sound is a consonant like kicked the--  

I kicked the ball. This can go either  way. Here's an example where it's dropped.

And here's one where it's not dropped.

But I want to say I listened to about 50 samples  on Youglish of 'kicked the' and I only found one  

or two where the T was pronounced. Also in these  samples, I found a lot of them were in the phrase:  

kick the can down the road. This is an  idiom that means to deal with a problem, or  

make a decision later. For example, let's say my  car broke down, it's an old car and I probably  

need to buy a new one, but I don't know what  to get, and I don't have a lot of money, so  

I kicked a can down the road and just got  this one fixed. I know eventually, I'll have  

to face the problem and replace the car but for  now, I'm going to kick the can down the road.

Next, P, like in the word hoped, hoped, I  hoped it would get better. Hoped it-- ttt--  

light release of the T, linking intovowel. Let's look at 'hoped that'. Now the T  

is between two consonants, and that sound  might get dropped in spoken english. I found  

quite a few examples of both dropped and  pronounced. Here's one where it's dropped.

And here's one where it's not dropped.

Sometimes, I sense my students panic  when there are two ways to do something.  

Are there cases where it's right and cases  where it's wrong? Not really. Both dropped  

and pronounced T will work. But my students  don't have to want to make a decision in  

the moment. Sometimes, that's stressful, so  just pick. In general, you'll pronounce it  

lightly or you won't. I think for a lot of my  students, dropping it makes it a little easier,  

makes linking easier. You'll hear native speakers  do both but you find the one that's right for you.

You know, as I think of it there is one more  point we need to discuss for all of these rule  

1 ED endings. When a word ends in a T sound, which  all of these do, and it's followed by you or your,  

that T can be turned into a ch. For  example, helped you can become helped you,  

helped you. Does that sound familiar? Helped  you. Helped you. Let's listen to an example.

Helped you? Helped you? Ch---  

So you can hear this ch for any of these wordsFor example, missed, which you'll study next,  

'missed your' can become: missed your--  missed your-- let's listen to an example.

Missed your-- okay, let's look at thesound like in the word missed. If the next  

sound is a vowel or diphthong, you'll hear the T,  linking in like in the phrase 'missed it' ttt--

Or if it's at the end of the sentenceyou'll hear the T. You'll be missed,  

missed. But followed by a consonant. Let's  look at the example: missed the-- missed the--

Now when I just said those two words togetherit was really natural for me to drop that T.  

Missed the-- that's what I want  to do. Missed the-- miss that--

When I search for 'missed the' on Youglish, almost  all had the dropped T. So it actually just sounds  

like the present tense 'missed the'. Let's go  to Younglish, you tell me if you hear the T.

Did you hear the T for the  past tense? Listen again.

No it's not there. Dropped T here is so naturalNow here's one where we will hear the t.

In both of these cases, we heard the idiom to  miss the boat. It means to miss your chance to do  

something, to miss an opportunity. For example, my  mom invited me on a trip, but I took too long to  

decide if I wanted to go, and she invited someone  else. I missed the boat. I decided I really wanted  

to go, so I was bummed about it. Sh. Let's use  the word push, followed by a vowel or diphthong,  

you will hear the T linking in: pushed a--  pushed a-- tt--he pushed a kid at school.

But followed by a consonant, like in 'pushed  the'. If I say that fast in a sentence,  

he pushed the wrong button, I will probably  drop that T. I just listened to Youglish  

and almost everyone there dropped the T in  'pushed the'. Maybe 90%. Here's an example.

And here's one where he  does say the t. Pushed the.

Let's look at the unvoiced TH like in the word  unearthed. If followed by a vowel or diphthong,  

you'll hear a light T: we unearthed  another clue. Unearthed another, ttt--

To unearth means to dig something out of the  earth, but it also means to discover something,  

something that had been hiddenlost or kept secret. For example:  

I unearthed a secret from my father's  past. If followed by a consonant,  

it can be dropped. I listened to a lot of examples  and most of the time it was dropped. Here's one.

And here's one where it wasn't dropped.

So my conclusion with ED endings rule one is this:  

when it links into a word that begins with  another consonant, it's most common to drop the T,  

which then sounds just like the present tenseBut don't worry about that. Everyone will know  

what you mean because of the context. Because  you're speaking about something that happened  

in the past. Now, let's have you train with  some of these rule one cases with a dropped T  

to make that feel more comfortable. Firstyou'll hear a phrase. Then you'll hear just  

the two word link. Miss my-- miss my-- in slow  motion, two times, repeat the second time

It's important not to just learn something but to  actually train it, speak out loud, get used to it.

I watched the best movie last night.

You know, we went through all the rules for the  ED endings, but we really only got to talk about  

rule one in depth. We'll come back at you in  a few weeks with another video on rule two,  

and then later with a video on  rule three. We'll go into detail.  

You'll know exactly how these past  tense verbs should be pronounced,  

when a sound is dropped. While you wait for those  videos, be sure to check out this video next.  

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 to watch more.  

I love being your English teacher. That's it  and thanks so much for using Rachel's English.