How to master word ending pronunciation

9/9 post of the series “The 9 basic pillars to speak English well

 In this post I’m going to give you advice about how to pronounce correctly some important word endings. As you are going to see you use them in almost every sentence.

Word ending pronunciation is crucial because it convey important information about what you are saying.

How to master word endings pronunciation

Most common mistake in word endings pronunciation

We, English learners, offend don’t pronounce, just drop, word endings that are difficult to us. Or maybe try to pronounce them but incorrectly.
It’s a problem because we are going to be misunderstood because word endings convey basic information.

An example to show you what I’m talking about…
Imagine that you tell someone the next sentence:

My sisters played with dolls

From this sentence people understand that you have more than one sister and in the past they used to play with dolls. Then we can guess that now they have grow-up and they are adults.

Let’s say that you don’t take care about pronouncing word endings correctly and then you don’t pronounce the “s” in sisters and dolls (plural) and the “ED” in played (Past tense).
Then you are going to say:

My sister play with doll

From this  last sentence people understand that you only have one sister and he plays with a doll (at the present). Then we are going to think that your only sister is still a child.

You can see now how important is word endings pronunciation to convey the right information!!!
The most important advice is then to never drop words endings just because you don’t know how to pronounce them.


“s” word ending pronunciation

We add an “s” in word endings like:

  1.  Verbs in the third person (he, she, it) –> I like / She likes
  2.  Plurals –> One dog / Two dogs
  3.  Possessives –> Its, Mary’s car
  4.  Contractions –>It’s, that’s…

You always have to pronounce the “s” but it can be pronounced in three different ways…

1. When the word ends with a voiceless sound, you add a voiceless /s/

  • cat –> cats
  • stop –> stops
  • pet –> pets
  • map –> maps

2. When the word ends with a voiced sound, you add a voiced /z/

  • love –> loves
  • hug –> hugs
  • kid –> kids
  • save –> saves

3. When the word ends with  s, ss, zz, x, sh, or ch, You add a syllable /iz/

  • church –> churches
  • push –> pushes
  • watch –> watches
  • judge –> judges
  • bus –> buses


“ed” word ending pronunciation

In regular verbs in the past tense we add an “ed”.
If you want people to understand that you are talking about the past you have to pronounce the “ed” correctly.
It’s a little tricky but if you work a little on it your pronunciation is going to improve a lot.

There is 3 different “ed” pronunciations:

1. When the verb ends with a “t” or a “d” sound,  you add a syllable

  • Wait (1 syllable) –> Waited (2 syllables) is pronounced “waited”
  • Decide (2 syllable) –> Decided (3 syllable) is pronounced “Decided”
  • Want (1 syllable) –> Wanted (2 syllable) is pronounced “Wanted”
  • Need (1 syllable) –> Needed(2 syllable) is pronounced “Needed”

2. When the verb ends with an unvoiced sound (except for the “t”) you pronounce the “ed” like an unvoiced /t/

  • Stop –> “Stopped” is pronounced “stopt”
  • Look –> “looked” is pronounced “lookt”
  • Wash –> “whashed” is pronounced “whasht”
  • Laugh –> “laughed” is pronounced “laught”

3. When the verb ends with a voiced sound (except for the “d”) you pronounce the “ed” like a voiced /d/

  • Love –> “loved” is pronounced like “lovd”
  • Save –> “saved” is pronounced like “savd”
  • Stay –> “stayed” is pronounced like “stayd”
  • Live –> “lived” is pronounced like “livd”


And Remember…

How to master word ending pronunciation_

…All your comments are very welcome!!!


What to do next…

The 9 basic pillars to speak English well
– How to master English pronunciation … Coming soon!
– How to master word stress
– How to master sentence stress … Coming soon!
– How to master the Schwa sound … Coming soon!
How to master English intonation
How to master connected speech
How to master English contractions
– How to master thought groups … Coming soon!

Copyright © Learn English Like Me and, (2012-2016).
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Learn English Like Me and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

I’m learning English by myself. Like me, you can improve your English faster and easier than you think. Make the most of your effort, time and money. |

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *