Three ways and rules to pronounce letter ‘S’

Pronunciation of letter S

Hello friends! Everybody knows that English is a tricky language. English pronunciation makes it more difficult to understand for those learners who learn English as a second language.
Today, I am going to talk about the pronunciation of letter S in the end of the words.

Many words in English end with letter S but this letter S is not pronounced in the same way in all the words. The letter S can present some difficulties for pronunciation because of the variety of sounds it can make. Most often, it produces two distinct consonant sounds: /s/ and /z/.

When we say toes or ways letter s is pronounced as /z/ in the end.
When we say bliss, sleeps letter s is pronounced as /s/ in the end. Determining which of these two possible pronunciations to use is very tricky.

Letter S in the end of the words

First of all you should know when do we have letter S in the end of the words.
1. Plurals: Most of the time we get letter S in the end of the words which are plural.
Book Books
Word Words

2. Simple Present Tense/Singular person

3. Apostrophe s/ Possession

Ram’s book
Sam’s shirt

Three ways to pronounce letter S

The pronunciation of the final S in plural words and verbs with the third person (singular) depends on the final consonant sound before letter S.
• Letter S is pronounced as /s/ after a voiceless sound.
• It is pronounced /z/ after a voiced sound.
• It is pronounced /ɪz / or /əz/ after a sibilant sound.
I have already explained about voiced and Voiceless sounds in my previous post. You can check back my previous post by clicking here. But I’ll explain here too about voiced and Voiceless sounds in short.
When we pronounce voiced sounds, our vocal cords vibrate. When we pronounce Voiceless sounds our vocal cords do not vibrate.

Sibilant Sounds

Sibilant sound  is produced by forcing air out toward your teeth.
Like: hissing sound (sssss),
a buzzing sound (zzzzz) or
(shhhh!) Sound which you make to keep someone quiet. To understand more about sibilant sounds with examples, click here.

Letter S in the end of the word becomes /z/ in Dose but it becomes/iz/ in Doses.
Letter S in the end becomes /s/ in Jack’s but /z/ in Mary’s (Mary’/z/).

Three Ways to Pronounce Letter S

Now you understand three rules to pronounce letter S with examples. Remember here, You have to check a consonant just before letter S.

1. Letter S is pronounced as /s/ after voiceless consonants.
Sleeps, Helps, waits, let’s, gets, books,cats/s/,

2. Letter S is pronounced as/z/ after voiced consonant sounds.
Gloves (glvz), words /dz/, says /z/, dogs/z/,

3. Letter S is pronounced as /iz/ or /əz/after sibilant sound.
Buses /iz/ here you will say Bus+ is = Busiz not Buses.

Other examples
Races/raciz/, Praises /praisiz/, wishes /wishiz/, grudges /grudgiz/

These were three different ways to pronounce letter S. I hope you have got it now. Keep visiting Explore More and Learn for more posts.

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