How to Say, ASKED

Let me ASK you something: Is it possible to say the past tense form, ASKED (aSKT) with any degree of confidence or fluency? Of course not! 

Even native speakers of English do not attempt the hard mash of the three consonant sounds, S+K+T. Instead, native speakers unconsciously drop the “k” and say, phonetically, “AST.” 

“Yesterday, I asked (ast) him a question.” (Leaving out the ‘k’ makes this so easy!)

If you try to say all three consonants, you will probably end up saying, “Yesterday, I asK him a question,” because in the rush of speaking, it is hard to go from the back-of-the-mouth K sound to the front-of-the-mouth T sound. You might say the ‘k’ sound, but the ‘t’ is inevitably forgotten, due to too much effort needed in too little speaking time.  

The result is: “Yesterday, I asked (asK) a question.” This puts a present tense verb in a past tense situation. Grammatically, it’s wrong. 

When we speak, our tongue tries to make the smoothest possible choices to produce the sounds in a sentence. With ASK, the final ‘k’ sound is important in most present tense forms, or in the base form. But in the past tense with ASKED, don’t fight your tongue’s wish to eliminate the middle K sound to go directly to the phonetically simple sound, “AST.” Bravo.

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