-ed Words

When learning to cue English, beginners are sometimes influenced by spelling. This can be true for the various ways “-ed” endings are cued. A common beginner error is to cue all words that end with -ed with the /ddd/ phoneme. However, some words that end with -ed actually end with the /ttt/ phoneme.

So, what’s the pattern for past tense “-ed” words?

1) If the root word ends in a voiced sound (other than /ddd/), the [-ed] ending is pronounced (cued) /ddd/.

Final Consonant Examples
/ʒzhzh/ camouflaged
/zzz/ buzzed, caused
/vvv/ saved, served
/ðt͟htH/ soothed
/rrr/ soared, barred
/bbb/ sobbed
/nnn/ planned
/mmm/ trimmed
/lll/ billed
/ggg/ bagged
/ʤjj/ urged
/ŋngng/ banged
(vowels) played, annoyed, accrued

Exceptions to this rule include spilt, spelt, dealt, dremt. 

2) If the root word ends in /ttt/ or /ddd/, the [-ed] ending is pronounced (cued) /ɪĭiddd/ or /əəəddd/.

 waited knitted voted
 /wwwāayˈˈˈtttɪĭiddd/ or /wwwāayˈˈˈtttəəəddd/ /nnnɪĭiˈˈˈtttɪĭiddd/ or /nnnɪĭiˈˈˈtttəəəddd/ /vvvōohˈˈˈtttɪĭiddd/ or /vvvōohˈˈˈtttəəəddd/



3) If the root ends with a voiceless sound (other than /t/), the ending is cued as /t/.

Final Consonant Examples
/kkk/ worked
/ppp/ sipped
/sss/ missed
/ssshhh/ washed
/ttthhh/ frothed




  • /ɚˈʤd/
  • /urˈjd/
  • /ûrˈjd/
  • 5m7s1s


  • /bæˈŋd/
  • /baˈngd/
  • /băˈngd/
  • 4t8s1s


  • /wɚˈkt/
  • /wurˈkt/
  • /wûrˈkt/
  • 6m2s5s


  • /sɪˈpt/
  • /siˈpt/
  • /sĭˈpt/
  • 3t1s5s


  • /mɪˈst/
  • /miˈst/
  • /mĭˈst/
  • 5t3s5s


  • /wɑˈʃt/
  • /wahˈsht/
  • /wäˈsht/
  • 6sf6s5s


  • /frɔˈθt/
  • /frawˈtht/
  • /frôˈtht/
  • 5s3c7s5s