12 songs to practice the pronunciation of -ED endings

As you know, the “-ed” endings of regular past tense verbs can be pronounced in three different ways: /t/, /d/ and /ɪd/, which is the one most students tend to overuse. Click here for an overview of the rules.

Over the years, I have found that /t/ and /d/ are easier to notice and to produce if the verb comes immediately before a word beginning with a vowel sound:

liked it – /laɪktɪt/
dreamed of – /driːmdəv/

To help students get their tongues around the two sounds, I usually ask them to move /t/ and /d/ to the front of the vowel sound. This makes it obvious that there’s no room for /ɪ/:

liked it – /laɪk tɪt/
dreamed of – /driːm dəv/

Out of all the ideas and techniques I’ve used in class, this has probably been the most effective.

So I decided to put together a 7-minute video containing 12 song excerpts you can use to help your students notice how /t/ and /d/ are linked to the vowel sounds that follow. There’s a good mix of recent and older songs, which should appeal to lots of different students.

The video is suitable for late A2, B1 and B2 students, who will have learned the basic -ED rules, but may still struggle to produce the sounds accurately. The on-screen activities are all self-explanatory.

You will notice that the activities do not test whether students can choose between /t/ and /d/. The difference is barely audible in fast connected speech, and it rarely causes misunderstandings. Also, since most students tend to overuse /ɪd/ and avoid /t/ or /d/, the song excerpts focus on the latter, rather than the former.

By the way, if the video is out of synch, go back to the beginning and / or refresh the page.

Thanks for reading – and watching.

71 thoughts on “12 songs to practice the pronunciation of -ED endings”

  1. Just loved the video!!
    I’ll use it with all my groups!! Thanks a million!!!😉

    1. Luiz Otávio says:

      Thanks, Ani! Let me know how it works!

      1. Wow. …it’s just perfect. Thanks a zillion👏👏👏👏👏

    2. Noorulain Rezavi says:

      Thanks loved the videos

    3. Pornpimon says:

      Nice! The video really useful.

  2. It’s a raining day in Vix, so it was good enough, but now it’s even better cause I’ll be listening to music while teaching all day….P.S: U know lyrics.training.com? Thanks a bunch!

    1. Luiz Otávio says:

      Thanks, Elizabeth. Gonna check out the site.

  3. Márcio Pantoja says:

    Thanks a million for sharing this material. I will use them with my students in a couple of weeks when I have to teach past simple. I bet it will work well, especially because I have used phonemic transcription with them in class.

    1. Luiz Otávio says:

      Thanks, Márcio! Any feedback is most welcome.

  4. Excellent post, thank you. I will be sharing this with all of my students.

  5. Ann Wroth says:

    This is great. I’m going to try it with my low intermediate adults. We’ll see who sings!

    1. Luiz Otávio says:

      Ann, maybe half of them? Well, they can always repeat the sentences without necessarily singing.

  6. This is fabulous, Luiz! It must have taken ages to compile. My young adults will love it =) Thank you so much.

    1. Luiz Otávio says:

      About two days, Gillian! Thanks for stopping by.

  7. Great video and examples! I´m gonna share this with my students.

    1. Luiz Otávio says:

      Thank you! Let me know how it goes.

  8. Can’t open the video…why?

    1. Luiz Otávio says:

      No one’s complained yet. Don’t know what could be wrong.

  9. Christine Muñiz says:

    This is brilliant. My teenagers will love this. Thank you so much.

    1. Luiz Otávio says:

      Let me know how it works!

  10. I am so grateful to you as well as to that huge and big efforts you make for teaching and learning English

    1. Luiz Otávio says:

      My pleasure, Kamal!

  11. many thanks from Latvia

  12. This is just perfect, thankssssssssssssssssssss

  13. Absolutely brilliant. Can’t wait to use this on class next week. Thank you.

    1. Luiz Otávio says:

      Let me know how it goes!

  14. Pls provide details so that I can be added to your mailing list.

  15. Hi Luiz! It’s been a while since the last time I was here, don’t know why.Your work always amazes me!
    Talking about this particular activity, I absolutely loved your technique of asking students to move /t/ and /d/ to the front of the vowel sound, brilliant! I’ll be using it soon.
    A funny thought crossed my mind while I watched the video, your mind must race every time you hear a song, thinking about all the sounds and how you can use that to teach, can you enjoy the music itself? Just kidding 🙂
    Thanks a bunch!

    1. Luiz Otávio says:

      Hi Luisa, yes, you’re right. Hard to enjoy music / sitcoms / movies to the fullest – I’m always looking for things I could use as teaching material. Thank you for your kind words.

  16. Judith Eakin says:

    What a terrific way to teach this! Thank you.

  17. This is fantastic! I’m going to type up and print out the examples of the verbs with the word after it and have my students first predict and put them in two columns that that think have the “t” or “d” ending sound. We’ll see how it works.

    1. Luiz Otávio says:

      Great! Let me know how it works, Rachel!

    1. Luiz Otávio says:

      Let me know how it works!

  18. Carina Alves says:

    What an awesome activity, Luiz! Fun and effective. I really like how it also practices other sounds and helps students with connected speech. Thanks a lot for your generosity in sharing it!

    1. Luiz Otávio says:

      My pleasure, Carina! Glad it worked well.

  19. Michael Brand says:

    Fantastic effort, a teacher who goes the extra mile! Or extra 50 miles! Well done.

    1. Luiz Otávio says:

      What an honour, Ann! Thank you!

  20. This is absolutely fantastic….i love it…my students will love it….thank you so much!

  21. Lara Danon says:

    Brilliant, as usual. Fun and effective. Thank you for sharing!

  22. sophie isidoro says:

    Thank you very much for your hard work! I’ll try it out!

    1. Luiz Otávio says:

      Let me know how it works!

  23. Nicoletta Lupone says:

    This lesson plan is fantastic…I think it will be very useful with our students. Thanks a lot

    1. Luiz Otávio says:

      Thank you! Let me know how it works!

  24. Olá Luiz Otavio

    Como posso comprar o seu livro? Tenho interesse na habilidade de escrever bem e gostaria do livro 600 examples of academic language.

    Esse livro ajuda quem quer aprender a escrever para web bem assim para o leitor comum ou é apenas para teses de faculdade?

  25. Jane Queiroz says:

    Luiz Otávio, tks 4 sharing such a great and useful masterpiece. I’ve already sent it to some friends and will use w/ some students. Gr8 job, dear.

  26. Thank you so much, sincerely, for putting together such a useful, well thought-out video.
    When students are taught grammar rules only, they miss out on such richer worlds.
    Like in this case, where correct pronunciation and linking sounds make a mere tense alive.

  27. Thanks SO much for sharing this – it’s amazing!! Really generous of you to share what couldn’t have been easy to create.

  28. Esse livro ajuda quem quer aprender a escrever para web bem assim para o leitor comum ou é apenas para teses de faculdade?

  29. This video is wondelful!!! My students were singing and easily understood the use /t/ and /d/ at the end of regular verbs. Thank you so much!!!

    1. Luiz Otávio says:

      Elena, glad you found it useful!

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