Here is a well-known fact: There are nine different types of verb tenses in the English language, more than in other Germanic languages, but not as many as in Latin. We have past (simple and continuous), perfect (present and past), present (simple and continuous), and future (will, going to and perfect). And even when we look at past simple tense, there we have two different types. There is the regular verb tense- verbs that carry “-ed”, and there are the irregular verbs, which like Latin, you need to learn it by heart, for each verb follows its own set of guidelines for past and past participle forms. A link with the entire irregular verb tenses can be found here.
Regular Verb tenses follow a stringent set of guidelines, both in terms of word structure as well as in terms of pronunciation that learners of English will find it easier to remember than with the irregular counterpart.
In terms of word structure, regular verb tenses follow five simple guidelines:
- Words ending in one or more consonants require solely the “-ed” ending. Examples include: Wanted, Rejected, Opened, Visited
- Words whose ending is “-e” but it is silent only need a “-d” at the end. Examples include: Bribed, Dined, Phoned, Died, Lived
- Words whose ending is a vowel+ y only require “-ed” at the end. Examples include: Played, Destroyed, Betrayed, Delayed, Stayed, Buoyed
- Words whose ending is a consonant + y require the replacement of the “-y” with the “-ied”. Examples include: Carried, Buried, Hurried, Studied, Married
- Some words, whose consonants end in m/n/t/b/p/g/l require a double consonant plus “-ed” at the end. Examples include: Banned, Slammed, Crammed, Travelled, Levelled, Rubbed, Dubbed, Stopped, Flopped, Butted (out), Jogged.
In terms of pronunciation, regular verb tenses follow three key rules:
D-form: words with l/ v / n / m / r / b / v / g / w / y / z / and vowel sounds have a pronunciation ending with “-d”. Most of these endings have a voiced sound, especially with words with the endings b/g/l/m/n/s/z. In other words, if words have a buzz, they’re responded with a “duh!” 😉 Examples of such words include the following:
advised (advaiz) + d, agreed, allowed, answered, appeared, arrived, believed, belonged,
burned, called, carried, changed, cleaned, closed, covered, cried, damaged, described, died,
dried, earned, encouraged, enjoyed, entered, explained, explored, filled, followed, happened, interviewed, imagined, jailed, killed, listened, lived, loved, measured, moved,
opened, planned, played, performed, pulled, realized, remembered, rained, repaired, saved, shared, shaved, showed, signed, slammed, stayed, snowed, studied, tried, traveled,
turned, used, welcomed, whispered, worried, yawned
T-form: words with p / k / s / ch / sh / f / x / h are pronounced with “t” at the end. Most of these words have voiceless endings. That means if a person in the library says “Shhhhhhh!,” you can respond with “-it”, meaning…….. 😉 You can imagine what would happen if you were to do this in reality……. 😉
Here are some examples to practice:
asked, baked, brushed, cooked, cracked, crashed, danced (da:ns) + t, dressed, dropped,
escaped, finished, fixed, guessed, helped, hoped, hiked, joked, jumped, knocked, kissed,
laughed (læf) + t, locked, looked, missed, mixed, packed, passed, picked, pressed, pushed
pronounced, relaxed, slipped, smoked, stopped, shopped, talked, typed, walked, washed,
Ted is Ded form: words whose consonant ending is either “d” or “t” have the “-ed” that is pronounced as “-id”. As a chime, you have this sentence: Ed needed Ted but Ted is Dead (ded). Cruel but effective way to remember this……. 😉
Examples to practice include:
accepted, afforded, attended, arrested, collected, contacted, counted, decided, defended,
demanded, divided, ended, expanded, expected, exported, flooded, graduated, hated
hunted, included, invited, invented, landed, needed, painted, planted, printed, presented,
pretended, protected, provided, rented, repeated, reported, respected, rested, scolded
skated, started, shouted, treated, visited, waited, wanted, wasted
Unlike irregular verbs, where index cards are the necessary approach to learning verbs and their past equivalent, there is no real solution except to practice saying the words at home by yourself or with your friend or loved one. One can also try a few of these exercises below, while at the same time, compare how past tense in your own country is different to this one.
While past tense is not as severe as in Latin, it is much more difficult than in many other languages, whose rules are simpler to follow, like the German past and perfect forms, which are not subdivided. 🙂