Past tense verbs with a voiceless “t” sound:
Past tense verbs with a voiced “d” sound:
Past tense verbs with an added syllable (sounds “e” and “d”):
You’ve mastered the past tense verbs. You’ve changed see to saw, am to was, and added the “-ed” for the regular past tense. You’ve read, learned, written, and spoken: but did you say it correctly? Even though we add two letters (“ed”) to make a verb past tense, we usually only add one sound. Sometimes, it’s a voiced “d” sound, as in played or listened. Sometimes, the “ed” is pronounced as the unvoiced “t” sound, as in “looked.” When the sound preceding the “ed” is voiceless, like the “k” in “look,” the “ed” will also be voiceless. When it is a vowel or voiced consonant, such as in play or listen, the “ed” will also be voiced. But when the verb ends with a t or d, we add a syllable, pronouncing the “e” as well as the “d,” and is “treated” or “headed.” Look at the lists below for more examples, or listen to the recording to practice the correct pronunciation.
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When a native Spanish speaker speaks English, they are likely to have some difficulty producing the “v” sound. In Spanish “b” and “v” make the same sound. In English, “v” has its own distinct sound. To make an American-sounding “v,” try placing your upper teeth on your lower lip. Use your voice and blow air over your lip. Looking in the mirror can help you see if you are making the sound correctly. Now try an American “b” sound – put both lips together, then use your voice and pop your lips open. These words are good for practicing the difference between “v” and “b”: vote, boat; vend, bend; vat, bat; dove, dub; vase, base. Click on the audio file to hear the difference and try for yourself!
English prepositions have specific meanings in some contexts (out: from the inside to the outside of something), but how do you know which preposition to use in a verb phrases? Errors in prepositions are common for non-native English speakers, because they are idiomatic and don’t necessarily follow a logical pattern. Beyond memorizing, how can you figure out which word to use? Don't stress out, there are ways to figure out what's up.
Over the long run, reading, listening for prepositions when talking with native speakers or watching tv or movies, and practicing their use will get you most of the way. When you learn a new verb, adjective or noun, find out which prepositions are used with it and learn them as well.
When you encounter an immediate question, ask a native speaker, or use a learner’s dictionary that lists the prepositions together with the word in question. Some useful resources are Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary and the Collins Cobuild Dictionary. Online, you can use http://www.learnersdictionary.com/ or http://www.ldoceonline.com/ to help you know which is the correct preposition. Don't worry, you'll get the hang of it in no time!
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