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8.4: Sometimes [t] is Spelled < ed >

Difficulty Level: At Grade Created by: CK-12
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Sometimes [t] is Spelled <ed>

1. Look at these sentences and fill in the blank:

He coughs a lot.

Last night he coughed all night long.

When you want to add the meaning “in the past” to a verb, usually you add the suffix -ed.

2. The suffix -ed sometimes sounds like [d], sometimes like [id], and sometimes like [t]. Say each of the following words carefully and sort them into the three groups:

Words in which -ed sounds like...
[id] [d] [t]
adopted murmured addressed
collected allowed accomplished
attended assigned attacked
avoided approved approached
struggled taxed
enjoyed coughed
shoveled attached
telephoned announced

3. Sometimes the [t] at the end of a verb that has the meaning “in the past” is the suffix -ed.

4. So far you have worked with three different spellings of [t]. They are <t>, , and <ed>.

Word Scrambles. This Scrambles contains words that all contain the sound [t]. We have given you a start by filling in the three spellings of [t].

No. Unscrambled Word
1 neebtif b e n e f i t
2 xedat t a x e d
3 sledgimp g l i m p s e d
4 tricecel e l e c t r i c
5 tedtan a t t e n d
6 totoat t a t t o o
7 toekaut o u t t a k e
8 slattaic c a t a i l s
9 stingbumit s u b m i t t i n g
10 wetrir w r i t e r
11 mobtot b o t t o m
12 truelt t u r t l e
13 cattrat a t t r a c t
14 tolthret t h r o t t l e
15 greettred r e g r e t t e d
16 rotte o t t e r
17 tleeng g e n t l e
18 hugelad l a u g h e d
19 beltee b e e t l e
20 cutetle l e t t u c e
21 latett t a t t l e

Teaching Notes.

The following on the [t] pronunciation of -ed is from the Teaching Notes to Lesson 12 in Book 2: What is involved in the three pronunciations of -ed is that same distinction between voiced and unvoiced sounds that was discussed back in Lesson 6 and earlier in Lesson 14 of Book 1. In general, in English we avoid putting certain voiced and an unvoiced consonants together. In Lesson 6 it was pointed out that [s] and [z] are identical sounds except that [s] is unvoiced and [z] is voiced. It was also pointed out that in the plural dogs the is pronounced [z], [dogz], while in the plural cats it is pronounced [s], [kats]. That difference is due to the fact that [g] and [z] are both voiced, so they go together, while [t] and [s] are unvoiced, so they too go together. But we avoid mixed combinations such as *[gs] and *[tz]. For more on this tendency to avoid mixed voicing, see AES, pp. 73-76.

In the case of the suffix -edthe reasoning goes as follows: (1) After the unvoiced sounds [s, f, p, ch, sh, k, th] -ed has the unvoiced pronunciation [t]. (2) After all voiced sounds except [d] it has the voiced pronunciation [d]. And (3) after [t] and [d] the vowel sound [i] is inserted to avoid the endings [tt] and [dd], which would be difficult to pronounce and inevitably would be simplified to [t] and [d]. Such a simplification would cause the loss of the spoken distinction between present and past tense. So the three pronunciations of -ed, which might at first seem like a perverse and unnecessary complication, are in fact part of a larger logical and ruly pattern.

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Date Created:
Feb 23, 2012
Last Modified:
Jul 07, 2015
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