The Demise of “d”

by | May 11, 2016 | Ruminations, VO Business | 4 comments

dSo much of what we do in Voiceovver depends on being cognizant of society’s trends.  That doesn’t mean we have to subscribe to them, but we gotta be aware of them…especially if it means the difference in how we do a read on an audition.

I struggle with this a lot when it comes to today’s music scene and music celebrities.  I stopped listening to popular music about 25 years ago, so now I’m that grumpy old man in the newsroom who has to say:  “Who’s Rhianna?” –or– “How come DJ’s in the new Vegas party club scene make 6-figures for mash-up music?”

Those are trends…and trends come ‘n’ go.  However, they can make a difference in your understanding of the copy for a smart read… no?

Here’s the latest trend I’m seeing in actual audition copy, and I’m not sure how to deal with it:

The “d” is missing at the end of past-tense words.


The casserole is being save in the refrigerator.

That car is suppose to go 130mph.

It use to be one of the biggest hot spots.

A demonstration is schedule for tomorrow.

The victim was rush to the hospital.

None of the musicians are believe to have been paid.

The “d” (or “ed”) is missing in all those past-tense verbs.

I understand English is a living, breathing, morphing language, and the Thomas Jefferson of 1776 could scarcely make out a conversation in the hallways of an American HS today; but grammar arguments aside… how do you READ those lines?

Is this urban-speak over-reach?

Does the client KNOW the “d” is missing?  Do they expect that to be eliminated in your read?…or do you insert it anyway, knowing it’s supposed to be there?

I know this verges into the territory of whether — for your exacting eLearning clients — you should correct an obvious spelling/grammar error…or just blithely ignore it and read it JUST LIKE IT SAYS. 

There’s something in me that really resists that, ’cause it’s just not right, darnit!…and it’s gotten me into trouble with re-dos time and time again.  You can argue it any which way, but the customer is always right…right?

On rare occasions, I will get a client who appreciates the correction.  It means you are a partner in their success…in doing it correctly.  ‘Nice when someone realizes that and gives you credit for it…but don’t expect it.  Usually, they’re in a rush, and just want it done! 

Too bad it’s come to that, but it’s just the way things are design these days!




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  1. Lea Williams

    Argh! Right down there with treating “media” as if the word is singular. Sometimes you feel like there need to be a few of us gatekeepers still around!

  2. Howard Ellison

    Quite agree. If it’s not there to indicate character, this is my compromise: voice the missing Ds but squash them low in the editor. It’s less of an issue if the D is followed by a T because I think most of us bridge those anyway, on or off mic.

  3. William Williams

    Interesting. I haven’t actually seen this in any copy. There are actually two varieties in the examples you’ve cited (you’ve cite?). In “use to be” and “supposed to go” the D sound is followed by a T sound and in American English we elide these together. We don’t say “hoT Dog”, we say “ho’ Dog”. So it’s understandable that in relaxed speech we would say “I use’ To go” not “I useD To go” and I can understand the latter line might prompt a pick-up from a client as sounding to stiff and formal.

    Also often we leave the final consonants off in natural speech. Singer Ben E King was famous for this: “When the nigh’ has come and the lan’ is dar'” so “silent” has a silent T: “Silen’ nigh’, Holy nigh'”

    What surprises me is leaving the letters off in the written script… That’s just ignorant. ( actually SCRIP and SCRIPT are two different words so SCRIPT really needs the T). It’s almost like written English is devolving into phonetic spelling again. Oh well, it work for Shakespeare and Chaucer.


  4. Charlie

    Wow-glad you did this one Dave-here in the south, Atlanta specifically, we get this all the time, “They ask me if I knew that man’s name…” “ed” totally truncated. I chalk it up to lack of proper education and laziness. Don’t get me started on, “lemme ax you somthin’ ” Is ask just to difficult to articulate? I shudder sometimes when I listen to the masses speak today.


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