Author: British Council | Published on 1 March 2023


The ‘ed’ ending of regular past simple verbs can be pronounced in three different ways. 

Learners often have problems pronouncing regular past simple verb endings. The spelling is the same but the pronunciation is different.

The more times they hear these endings, the better they will be able to pronounce them. 

This TPR activity helps learners to remember the correct pronunciation in an active way.


Listen to the pronunciation of these regular past simple verbs: [play audio]

Group 1 - /t/:   liked       asked     watched     looked       danced

Group 2 - /d/:  played    cried       learned       tried          showed

Group 3 - /ɪd/: wanted   needed   visited        painted      decided

Notice how verbs in groups one and two have one syllable, but verbs in group three have two syllables


Write ‘liked’, ‘played’, ‘wanted’ on the board in three columns. Elicit that they are all past simple regular verbs.

Drill the verbs: point, say, learners repeat. Make sure learners pronounce the correct number of syllables


Draw the table on the board:







liked played wanted

Tell learners which corners of the room are 1, 2 and 3.

Read out the list of regular past simple verbs in random order. Learners move to the correct corner.

If your classroom is small, go to a larger room inside the school, or go outside. Make three stations. Say the verbs; learners go to the correct station.

Extra challenge: make 4 stations. Add some irregular past simple verbs to your list, e.g. said, told, etc.


Tell learners to copy the table in their books. Write the 12 words on the board.

In pairs learners take turns to say a verb. Their partner listens and writes it in the correct column. Monitor and support. Do feedback on the board.


Feedback: Information about how or how well a learner has done something.

Random order: Where a sequence is mixed or jumbled and does not have a regular pattern. 

Syllable: A single unit of speech which contains a vowel sound (e.g. 'how' has one syllable; 'clever' has two syllables; 'photograph' has three syllables).

TPR: Total Physical Response = a language learning technique which involves linking words to physical actions (e.g. give me the ball, look at me).