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How to pronounce English – past tense verbs

Do you know how to pronounce these 6 verbs?

We’re going to look at 6 past tense verbs that are difficult to pronounce. But by the end of this lesson, you’ll know how to pronounce English (at least these 6 verbs, that is) perfectly!

Here are the 6 past tense irregular verbs we’re going to look at: bought, brought, fought, thought, caught, taught.

All of our seven verbs end in -ought or -aught. Both of these endings are pronounced
/ ɔːt / Repeat after me: / ɔːt /

Now, repeat each word after me so you can say them individually: bought, brought, fought, thought, caught, taught.

Now, let’s look at these verbs in sentences. Remember, if the final consonant sound of these verbs is followed by a vowel sound, the two sounds are connected. For example:
A: Have you got the report?
B: Yes, I brought it to the office yesterday.
In this case, the final / t / sound of brought merges with the vowel sound / i / from the word it. So, it sounds like this: brough tit / brough tit / brough tit

Now, repeat after me:

1. I bought a new one. [from the verb to buy]
2. I brought it to the office. [from the verb to bring]
3. The cats fought over the food. [from the verb to fight]

4. I thought it was the other one. [from the verb to think]
5. I caught a fish in the river. [from the verb to catch]
6. She taught me how to do it. [from the verb to teach]

Now, we’re going to do a drill to help you practise saying these verbs. Listen to the words, then make a sentence with the Past Simple.

For example: I / buy / new / car = I bought a new car.

Ready? OK, let’s go!

1. he / catch / cold / last week = He caught a cold last week.

2. she / buy / new / tennis racket = She bought a new tennis racket.

3. she / teach / me / French = She taught me French.

4. they / fight over / money = They fought over the money.

5. they / bring / books / home = They brought the books home.

6. I / think / it / be / Pete = I thought it was Pete.

Well done!

Now you know how to pronounce these 6 past tense verbs: bought, brought, fought, thought, caught, taught.

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