17 Common Work Verbs

On this page, you will review common verbs we use to describe experiences. You will learn how to say their past tense form. You will do the following:

  • Review the simple past tense.
  • Review the pronunciation of -ed endings.
  • Practise saying the past tenses of common work verbs.

A. The Simple Past Tense

We use the simple past tense to talk about the following:

We use the simple past tense to talk about something that happened
in the past. It’s something that happened and is finished. Here are some examples:
Last year, I worked for Amazon. I helped them out in their warehouse.
We use the simple past tense to talk about how much time something took in the past. Here are some examples: For the first two months, I sorted packages. I drove a delivery vehicle for three months.
We use the simple past tense to talk about things that were true in the past but are not true now. Here is an example: I delivered packages for Amazon. (This means I did it in the past, and I am not delivering packages for Amazon now.)

Some past tense verbs are regular. Regular verbs use the -ed ending. Other past tense verbs are irregular. These verbs do not use the -ed ending. Some of the most common verbs in English are irregular.

In the activity below, check off all the irregular verbs.

B. Pronunciation of the -ed Ending

Listen to and read the following explanation of how to say the -ed ending. Try to shadow read the example verbs along with the speaker.

The -ed ending can be pronounced three ways, and there are rules for using each pronunciation.

[id] Use this when the verb ends with d or t needed, patted, sorted, started, landed, operated
[t] Use this when the verb ends with a voiceless sound: p, k, s, sh, ch typed, pumped, walked, worked, packed, picked, passed, fixed, finished, washed, watched
[d] Use this when the verb ends in all other sounds (voiced consonants and vowels) moved, filled, repaired, stayed, called, delivered, cleaned, applied

C. Practice with -ed Endings

Below, you can see four lists of work verbs. The present and the past form is listed for each verb. These words are all very common. You probably know all of these words. But do you know how to pronounce the past form, or the -ed form, of each verb?

There is a Start Activity button below each word list.

  1. When you click on the button, you will see a present tense verb.
  2. Click Push to speak, and say the past tense verb. Continue until you have completed the word list.

Hint: Don’t get frustrated! The word recognition software is great, but it’s not perfect. If you try to say a word a few times, and it doesn’t recognize the word, don’t worry. Just check with your teacher or a fluent speaker of English. Ask if they can recognize the word when you say it!


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