Reading Writing English Words Ending In D

The different sounds that the​ letter"d" takes at​ the​ end of​ a​ verb in​ the​ past tense

An extract from the​ book: Word Power by the​ author of​ this article.

The English language indicates that the​ action of​ the​ verb is​ in​ the​ past by having some form of​ the​ "d" or​ "t" sound end the​ word. we​ say some kind of​ "d" or​ "t" sound although the​ word is​ almost always written with a​ "d".

Many people who learn English are so confused by the​ irregular forms of​ the​ verbs that they give up and invent their own ways of​ referring to​ the​ past. Some say: "Yesterday I walk to​ work" or​ other ways to​ avoid using the​ past tense that they have never learned.

Sure,​ there are irregular words in​ English. the​ past of​ teach is​ taught; the​ past of​ buy is​ bought; the​ past of​ think is​ thought. But even these irregular words end in​ some kind of​ a​ "t" sound to​ indicate that the​ verb refers to​ the​ past. Luckily,​ there aren't too many of​ these irregular verbs. You just have to​ learn them. the​ good thing is​ that they behave more or​ less the​ same way.

But let's look at​ the​ regular verbs. Most English verbs are regular. to​ indicate the​ past,​ they put some kind of​ a​ sound made with the​ tongue touching the​ back of​ the​ upper teeth. Almost always it​ is​ the​ sound of​ a​ "d" or​ of​ a​ "t".

The ending of​ the​ verb “love” in​ the​ past: “I loved the​ movie” is​ very different from the​ ending of​ the​ verb “walk”: "I walked to​ work.” When it​ sounds like the​ letter “d”,​ it​ is​ a​ voiced sound,​ that is​ the​ vocal cords vibrate. When it​ sounds like a​ “t”,​ it​ is​ a​ voiceless or​ an​ unvoiced sound.

But how do you know when it​ should end with a​ voiced "d" sound and when with a​ voiceless "t" sound? Although you may not believe it,​ there is​ a​ "rule" that will help you to​ form the​ past of​ most English verbs. You may still make some mistakes but little by little you will feel the​ mistakes and will correct them. the​ structure of​ your mouth will force you to​ make the​ right sound.

The "rule" for the​ formation of​ the​ past is​ similar to​ the​ "rule" for the​ "s" at​ the​ end of​ plural nouns and verbs in​ the​ third person singlular of​ the​ present tense.

The rule of​ the​ "d" in​ three parts:

There is​ a​ one simple "rule" that covers the​ pronunciation of​ the​ "d" and "t" sounds.

The sound that indicates the​ past of​ the​ verb is​ the​ voiceless "t" sound when the​ verb ends in​ a​ voiceless consonant. On the​ other hand,​ the​ indication of​ the​ past is​ the​ voiced "d" sound when the​ verb ends in​ a​ voiced consonant.

The three parts of​ the​ rule are:

1. the​ voiceless "t" sound,​
2. the​ voiced "d" sound,​
3. the​ added syllable.

1. the​ voiceless (unvoiced) "t":

The "rule" tells us when the​ last sound of​ a​ verb is​ is​ like that of​ the​ words talk,​ cap,​ mess,​ etc (that is,​ a​ voiceless sound),​ the​ past of​ the​ verb ends with a​ voiceless (or unvoiced) sound like that of​ the​ word walked. the​ past of​ these verbs is​ talked,​ capped,​ messed and the​ "d" is​ unvoiced.

For example the​ letter "d" that represents the​ past in​ the​ written word is​ pronounced like the​ "t" of​ Tom (a voiceless sound) when the​ verb ends in​ a​ voiceless sound. So when the​ verb ends in​ voiceless sounds such as​ the​ letters k in​ the​ word looked,​ p in​ the​ word stopped,​ f in​ the​ word cuffed (or gh in​ the​ word laughed) the​ past is​ indicated by the​ voiceless "t" sound. This always happens so don't be fooled by the​ written letter "d".

The past tense of​ the​ verb is​ also indicated by a​ voiceless sound when the​ verb ends in​ any "hissing" sound such as​ the​ words: face,​ wash,​ crunch. All these sounds are voiceless so the​ verbs that end with them will always have the​ "d" of​ their past form sounded voicelessly and therefore become the​ forms faced,​ washed,​ crunched.

It is​ important to​ note that although the​ voiceless "d" is​ written "ed",​ you do NOT add a​ syllable to​ the​ original word.

2. the​ voiced "d":

The "d" is​ voiced in​ two situations:

a. when the​ word ends in​ a​ vowel sound such as,​ played,​ teed,​ owed,​ cued.

The "strange" vowels are also followed by a​ voiced "d" such as​ in​ the​ words: furred,​ papered,​ pawed. the​ past of​ verbs ending in​ a​ diphthong sound also end in​ a​ voiced "d" sound,​ for example in​ the​ words: plowed,​ paid,​ toyed .

b. when the​ word ends in​ a​ voiced consonant.

Some examples of​ the​ second case are: b as​ in​ the​ word robbed,​ n in​ the​ word drowned,​ l in​ the​ word mailed,​ g in​ the​ word logged,​ v in​ the​ word heaved,​ m n the​ word farmed,​ n as​ in​ the​ word panned,​ thesoundof the​ letters ng as​ in​ the​ word ring,​ r as​ in​ the​ word cars,​ v as​ in​ the​ word stoves,​ and thin the​ word bathed.

Remember that that the​ voiced "d" sound forms the​ past of​ verbs that end in​ a​ voiced consonant,​ for example,​ burned is​ the​ past of​ the​ verb burn and lovedis the​ past of​ love.

It is​ important to​ note that although the​ voiced "d" in​ these words is​ written with "ed",​ you do NOT add an​ extra syllable.

3. the​ added syllable

In both cases,​ when the​ verb ends in​ either the​ sound of​ the​ voiced "d" or​ the​ sound of​ the​ voiceless "t",​ the​ English language adds a​ syllable to​ the​ verb.

For example,​ the​ verbs in​ the​ present tense visit,​ vote,​ side,​ need,​ plant,​ adopt,​ add "ed" to​ make the​ past tense and become visited,​ voted,​ sided,​ needed,​ planted,​ adopted.

The "ed" is​ pronounced with a​ special vowel followed by a​ voiced "d". the​ special vowel is​ the​ "short i" which has the​ IPA symbol of​ the​ small capital “i”. we​ treat this sound in​ the​ book in​ the​ chapter on​ the​ short vowels. Remember a​ ship is​ not a​ sheep. You have to​ be able to​ hear the​ difference to​ be able to​ use this vowel in​ the​ added syllable.

It is​ only in​ this special case that you pronounce the​ second syllable of​ the​ past of​ a​ verb. Not all verbs have two syllables in​ the​ past. it​ is​ important that you realize that most common English verbs have only one syllable. Do not think that you have to​ pronounce the​ "ed" of​ the​ words such as​ walked,​ talked,​ played,​ tuned,​ tooled. Do not read these words as​ they were written in​ your language.

Although many verbs have "ed" in​ their past,​ it​ is​ just a​ strange note of​ English spelling. You often only pronounce one syllable with the​ past indicated by a​ voiced "d" or​ an​ unvoiced "t" according to​ which sound preceded the​ ending.

You only pronounce the​ "ed" when the​ root form of​ the​ verb ends with your tongue touching the​ back of​ your teeth,​ either with a​ voiced "d" sound or​ with an​ unvoiced "t" sound. For example,​ "Today,​ I heat the​ coffee but yesterday I heated it" (2 syllables because the​ last consonant is​ a​ "t"). But,​ "Today I talk to​ my friend but yesterday I talked on​ the​ phone." (one syllable because the​ last consonant is​ not a​ "t" or​ a​ "d")

The extra syllable: Listen to​ this as​ often as​ necessary for you to​ be able to​ distinguish the​ unvoiced "t" from the​ voiced "d".

Review and practice all parts of​ the​ “RULE”!
The first part of​ the​ "rule": the​ voiceless "t";
The second part of​ the​ "rule": the​ voiced "d" :
The third part of​ the​ "rule": the​ added syllable

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