Lesson 11
The Simple Past Tense Regular Verbs


Past tense- Regular verbs

The regular verbs are only truly mastered when you learn how to pronounce the –ed sound.

In this lesson, we will take a look at the regular verbs. We’ll see the irregular verbs in next one.

Theoretically, an upper-intermediate student should be completely familiar with the past tense in English, although, in practice, most students have trouble dealing with this tense, especially when trying to pronounce the –ed of the regular verbs and the irregular forms.

To correct these problems, we are going to extensively practise both the regular verbs (this lesson) and the irregular verbs (in the next lesson).

What are regular verbs?

These are verbs that end in –ed. (*)

Simple past tense- Structure for regular and irregular verbs

  • Affirmative: Subject + regular verb+ object . Example: I talked to her yesterday.
  • Negative: Subject + didn’t (did not)+ infinitive of the verb without “to”(**) + object. Example: I didn’t talk to her yesterday.
  • Question:  Did+ subject+ infinitive of the verb without to + object? Example: Did you talk to her yesterday?
  • Negative questions (***): Did + not + subject + infinitive of the verb without to + object? Example: Didn’t you talk to her yesterday?
  • Answers: Yes, + subject + did- No, +subject didn’t. Examples: Yes,  I did. No I didn’t.

(*) The ending –ed also appears in adjectives (It’s a closed subject- adjective “closed”) and the past participle of the verbs (He has worked a lot- “worked” past participle of the verb “to work”).

(**) Remember that when we use did, the main verb always goes in INFINITIVE.

(***) When we speak, we always make a contraction in negative questions. Example: Didn’t you go? Not: Did not you go?

When do we use this tense?

When we want to speak about finished actions that took place in the past.

  • She wanted to buy a car last year.  Ella quería comprar un coche el año pasado. (“She wanted” is a finished action that took place in the past, ”last year”)
  • They considered hiring him, but now they have problems with the budget. Consideraron contratarlo, pero ahora tienen problemas con el presupuesto. (Finished action ”They considered”)

How to pronounce the past tense of the regular verbs

We have already talked about the sounds of the regular verbs in Lesson 3. But now, since you need to master these sounds, we’ll go over them to make sure you understand and can reproduce them correctly.

All the grammar books give several rules about how to pronounce the –ed sound of the regular verbs, but, seeing as how there are so many, they are difficult to remember.

Instead of remembering all these rules, I will ask you to remember just one:

Do not pronounce the “e” of the –ed ending, just try to say “d” without adding any vowel sound.

If you do this, you will naturally come up with the right sounds for the past tense of the regular verbs.

Why is this so?

Because when you try to say a “d” without saying the “e”, you need to put your mouth in certain positions depending on what letter you have before the “e”.

For example: If you need to say “talk”-/tok/ your last letter is a “k”. If you try to pronounce a “d” after the “k” without making any vowel sound, you’ll get a “t”.

Talk→ sounds “tokT

For all of you who want to have a more detailed explanation of the –ed sounds, we’ll go a little bit deeper into the subject.

The three different sounds of -ed

The regular verbs can have three different sounds in the ending:

  1. D  2. ID and 3. T

As I said before, they take different sounds depending on the sound that comes before the –ed sound.

Let’s see the different sounds.

  • 1 - D
  • The verbs that end in– l – v – n – m – r – b – v – g – w – y – z –  vowel sounds and diphthongs use the “D” sound.


    advised /advissd/- aconsejar
    agreed /agrid/- acordar
    allowed /alaud/- permitir
    answered /anserd/- responder
    appeared/apird/- aparecer
    arrived/araivd/- llegar
    believed/bilivd/- creer
    belonged /bilongd/-pertenecer
    burned/bernd/- quemar
    carried/karid/- transportar
    changed /cheinchd/- cambiar
    cleaned/klind/- limpiar
    closed /kloussd/- cerrar
    damaged /damechd/- dañar
    described /deskraibd-describir
    died /daid/-matar
    dried /draid/- secar
    earned /ernd/-ganar (dinero)
    encouraged /enkerechd/-animar

    enjoyed /enyoid/-disfrutar
    entered /enterd/-entrar
    explained /ekspleind/-explicar
    explored /eksplord/-explorar
    filled /fild/-cumplimentar-llenar
    followed  /foloud/-seguir
    happened /hapend/-ocurrir
    interviewed /interviud/-entrevistar
    imagined /imachind/-imaginar
    jailed  /cheild/-encarcelar
    killed /kild/-matar
    listened /listend/-escuchar
    lived /livd/-vivir
    loved /lovd/-amar
    measured /mesherd/-medir
    moved /muvd/-mover
    opened /opend/-abrir
    planned /pland/-planificar
    played /pleid/-jugar
    performed /performd/-actuar
    pulled /puld/-tirar
    realised /rialaisd/-darse cuenta
    remembered /rimemberd/-recordar
    rained /reind/-llover
    repaired /riperd/-arreglar, reparar
    saved /seivd/-ahorrar
    shared /sherd/-compartir
    shaved /sheivd/-afeitar
    showed /shoud/-mostrar
    signed /saignd/-firmar
    slammed /slamd/-dar un golpe fuerte
    stayed/ssteid/quedarse, alojarse
    used /iusd/-usar
    welcomed/wuelkomd/-dar la bienvenida
    whispered /wuisperd/-murmurar


    2 - ID

    Verbs that end in -t or d use the “ID” sound.


    defended /defendid/-defender
    demanded /demandid/-pedir
    ended /endid/-acabar
    expected /ekspektid/-esperar
    exported /eksportid/-exportar
    flooded /flodid/-inhundir
    graduated /graduetid/-graduarse, licenciar
    hated /heitid/-odiar
    hunted /hantid/-cazar
    included /inkludid/-incluir
    invited /invaitid/- invitar
    invented /inventid/-inventar
    landed /landid/- aterrizar
    needed /nidid/-necesitar
    painted /peintid/-pintar
    planted /plantid/-plantar

    printed /printid/-imprimir
    presented  /presentid/-presentar
    pretended /pretendid/-pretender
    protected /protektid/-proteger
    provided  /provaidid/-suministrar, proveer
    rented /rentid/-alquilar
    repeated /ripitid/-repetir
    reported /riportid/-informar
    respected /respektid/-respetar
    rested /restid/-descansar
    scolded /sskoldid/-regañar
    skated /sskeitid/-patinar
    started /sstartid/-empezar
    shouted /shautid/-gritar
    treated /tritid/-tratar
    visited /visitid/-visitar
    waited /wuetid/-esperar
    wanted /wuantid/-querer
    wasted /wuestid/-desperdiciar, malgastar

    3 - T

    Verbs that end in – p – k – s – ch – sh – f –gh- x – h –, use the “T” sound.


    Ed as “T”

    Asked/akst/-preguntar, pedir
    baked/beikt/- hornear
    brushed /brasht/-cepillar
    danced /danst/-bailar
    dropped/dropt/-dejar caer
    escaped /eskeipt/-escapar
    finished /finisht/-terminar
    guessed /guest/-suponer
    helped /helpt/-ayudar
    hoped /houpt/-esperar
    hiked /haikt/-caminar

    Joked /choukt/-bromear
    jumped /champt/-saltar
    knocked /nokt/-golpear, tocar a la puerta
    kissed /kist/-besar
    laughed /laft/-reir
    locked /lokt/-cerrar con llave
    looked /lukt/-mirar
    missed /mist/-echar de menos
    mixed /mixt/- mezclar
    packed /pakt/- empaquetar
    passed /past/- pasar
    picked /pikt/-recoger
    pressed /prest/-presionar
    pushed /pusht/-empujar
    pronounced /pronaunst/-pronunciar
    relaxed /relakst/-relajar
    slipped /sslipt/-resbalar
    smoked /smoukt/-fumar
    stopped /sstopt/-parar
    shopped /shopt/-comprar
    typed /taipt/-escribir a máquina
    walked /wuokt/-caminar
    watched/wuacht/-mirar algo que se mueve



    Please, go to chapter 8 of your audiobook now and listen to it at least two times then read it.

    As you’ll see, I have highlighted the regular verbs in grey.

    Chapter 8

    The choice is made

    "I can't bear the idea that my soul is horrible"

    It was later than mid-day when he woke up.  His servant rang the little bell and entered the room with a cup of tea and some letters.

    "Sir has slept well tonight" he said, smiling.

    "What time is it?" Asked Dorian, drowsily.

    "A quarter past one, sir."

    "How late!" He sat down and after having a few sips of tea, he dealt with his letters. One of the letters was from Lord Henry. It had been delivered by hand that morning. He hesitated for a moment and then put it to one side, without reading it.

    He got dressed, entered the library and sat down to have a light breakfast at a small round table near the open window. It was a marvellous day. Suddenly, he saw the screen in front of the portrait and he jumped.

    Was it all true?  Had the portrait really changed? It was absurd!

    He got up and locked the door. He wanted to be alone to contemplate the mask of his shame. Then he removed the screen and looked himself in the face. It was absolutely true.  The portrait had changed, but he thought he could still rectify it.  Sibyl Vane could still be his wife.

    Suddenly, the doorbell rang and he heard Lord Henry's voice outside.

    "I am sorry Dorian" said Lord Henry as he entered. "But you shouldn't think too much about it."

    "Are you referring to Sibyl Vane?" Asked the young man.

    "Yes, of course" replied Lord Henry.  "It's horrible, but it wasn't your fault. Tell me, did you go to see her after the play finished?"


    "I was sure."

    "I was brutal, Harry, terribly brutal. But now everything is fine. I don't regret anything that happened.  It has taught me to know myself better."

    "Ah, Dorian, I am pleased that you are dealing with it this way."

    "I am happy.  I want to be good. I can't bear the idea that my soul is horrible. I will marry Sibyl Vane."

    "Marry Sibyl Vane!" Exclaimed Lord Henry, standing up. "Haven't you received my letter?"

    "Your letter? Ah, yes. No, I haven't read it yet, Harry."

    "So you know nothing?"

    "What are you trying to say?"

    Lord Henry crossed the room, and sitting next to Dorian Gray, he took his hands and squeezed them tightly.

    "Dorian, Sibyl Vane has died."

    "Died! Sibyl is dead! It isn't true! It's a horrible lie! How dare you say that?"

    "It's completely true, Dorian" said Lord Henry, gravely. "They found her last night in the theatre. It seems that she took something."

    "I have killed Sibyl Vane!" Said Dorian Gray, who got up and sat down next to Lord Henry. "She will never come back to life" murmured the young man, hiding his face in his hands.

    "She will never come back to life. She has played her last role" said Lord Henry. "But it wasn't your fault. "The truth is, that girl has never really lived, and so she has never really died." For you at least, it has always been a dream. Sibyl Vane was less real than Juliet.

    "How well you know me!" We are not going to speak any more about the event.  I will remember this love as a wonderful experience.  That is all."

    "Forget all about it, Dorian and come with me and my sister to the opera tonight."

    "Yes, I think I will meet you there. I am too tired to eat anything."

    "So, see you later.  I will see you before nine-thirty."

    When he was alone, Dorian went back to uncover the picture. No, there were no more changes in the image. The portrait knew about Sibyl Vane's death before him. The cruelty around the mouth had appeared at the same moment that she died.

    He felt that his life choice had already been made: eternal youth, infinite passion, secret pleasures, wild joys and wilder sins; he wanted all of those things. The portrait would bear the burden of his shame and he would be saved. That was all.

    Listen and repeat the following sentences aloud.

    Spanish English Phonetics Approximate Pronunciation

    Él entró en la habitación

    He entered the room

    hi ˈentəd ðə ruːm |

    Hi énterd de rum

    Él dudó un momento

    He hesitated for a moment

    hi ˈhezɪteɪtɪdˈ fər ə ˈməʊmənt |

    Hi héssiteitit for a móument

    Él entró a la biblioteca

    He entered the library

    hi ˈentəd ðə ˈlaɪbrəri |

    Hi énterd de láibreri

    Él se sobresaltó

    He jumped.

    hi dʒʌmpt |

    Hi champt

    ¿Había cambiado realmente el retrato?

    Had the portrait really changed?

    həd ðə ˈpɔːtrɪt ˈrɪəli tʃeɪndʒd |

    Had de pórtret ríili chénichd

    Se levantó y cerró con llave la puerta

    He got up and locked the door.

    hi ˈɡɒt ʌp ənd lɒkt ðə dɔː |

    Hi gotap and lokt de dor

    Quería estar solo para contemplar la máscara de su vergüenza

    He wanted to be alone to contemplate the mask of his shame

    hi ˈwɒntɪd tə bi əˈləʊn tə ˈkɒntəmpleɪt ðə mɑːsk əv ɪz ʃeɪm |

    Hi wuantid tu bi alóun tu kóntempleit de másk of his shéim

    Luego apartó el biombo

    Then he removed the screen

    ðen hi rɪˈmuːvd ðə skriːn |

    Den hi rímuvd de sskrin

    Se miró cara a cara

    He looked himself in the face

    hi lʊkt hɪmˈself ɪn ðə feɪs |

    Hi lukt him’slef in de feis

    No me arrepiento de nada de lo que ocurrió

    I don't regret anything that happened

    ˈaɪ dəʊnt rɪˈɡret ˈeniθɪŋ ðət ˈhæpənd |

    Ái dount ri’gret énizing dat hápend

    Exclamó Lord Henry, poniéndose en pie

    Exclaimed Lord Henry, standing up

    ɪkˈskleɪmd lɔːd ˈhenri | ˈstændɪŋ ʌp |

    Ek’skleimd lord hénri standing ap

    Lord Henry cruzó la habitación

    Lord Henry crossed the room,

    lɔːd ˈhenri krɒst ðə ruːm |

    Lord hénri krosd de rum

    Le tomó las manos y las apretó con fuerza

    he took his hands and squeezed them tightly.

    hi tʊk ɪz hændz ənd skwiːzd ðəm ˈtaɪtli |

    Hi tuk iss handss and skuissd dem táitli

    Ella nunca volverá a la vida, murmuró el muchacho

    She will never come back to life murmured the young man,

    ʃi wl̩ ˈnevə kʌm ˈbæk tə laɪf ˈmɜːməd ðə jʌŋ mæn |

    Shi wuil néve kam bak tu láif mérmerd de iang man

    Él quería todas aquellas cosas

    he wanted all of those things.

    hi ˈwɒntɪd ɔːl əv ðəʊz ˈθɪŋz |

    Hi wántid ol of dóuss zíngs

    To sum up:

    The regular verbs end in –ed. This –ed can have three sounds: d- as advised/advaisd/- id as in afforded /afordid/ and –t, as in asked /askt/

    Nevertheless, you don’t really need to remember all these rules when you speak. Just try NOT to pronounce the “e” when you say the –ed. If you do this, you will naturally come up with the three different sounds I have just mentioned- d, -id and –t.


    Using what you have learned in this lesson, go back to chapter 6 and 7 of the audiobook and try to spot all the regular verbs. Listen and repeat all the sentences that have regular verb in these two chapters aloud. Remember that you have to master these sounds and you can only do this by repetition.