Pronunciation of the past simple

Pronunciation of the past simplePronunciation of regular past tense verbs can change. There are three ‘sounds’ that are used when saying past tense verbs, so to improve your pronunciation of the past simple, you need to become familiar with which past tense uses which sound.

For example, ‘He worked’ sounds like ‘He workt

Take a look at the verbs in the list below before moving on to the list of irregular past tense verbs.

Pronunciation of the past simple

Base verb
Sounds like /t/
Sounds like /d/
sounds like /id/
Work Worked
Look Looked
Talk Talked
Like Liked
Watch Watched
Laugh Laughed
Wish Wished
Listen Listened
Open Opened
Learn Learned
Change Changed
Climb Climbed
Try Tried
Paint Painted
Want Wanted
End Ended
Decide Decided

A useful way of learning the right form of pronunciation for each verb is to write it down and practice saying it regularly. For high level speakers of English, this should become automatic, but only if time is spent in practice. You’ve probably heard high level English speakers that still don’t sound quite natural in their speech, and no spending time focusing on this type of pronunciation is often the reason why.

When you have finished reading this list, move on to the next page which focuses on irregular past tense verbs.

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