Pronunciation of Final “s” Sounds Found in English
There are three different final “s” sounds, (“s”, “z” and “iz”). The correct pronunciation of “s” depends on the sound (not the letter) the word ends with before the “s” or “es” is added.
It is important to note that many very commonly used words ending with an “s” should be pronounced with a “z” sound. Some of those words include is, was, his, hers, because, says, theirs, and use (as a verb).
Final /s/ sound
To make the /s/ sound, push air out between the top of your tongue and your teeth. The sound comes from the front of your mouth. You do not use your vocal flaps. This is referred to as unvoiced.
We use the /s/ sound after the following final sounds;
/p/ – capes, laps, keeps, pipes, hopes, hoops, and loops
/t/ – hates, hats, beats, bets, bites, bits, notes, knots, boots, and buts
/k/ – takes, tacks, bakes, seeks, bikes, licks, books, and smokes
/f/ – coughs, laughs, chiefs, layoffs, and beliefs
/ɵ/ – moths, math’s, and baths
Final /z/ sound
/z/ sound is made like /s/ but the voice comes from deep in the throat using the vocal flaps.
We use the /z/ sound after the following final sounds;
/b/ – nabs, cabs, ribs, tribes, robs, and robes
/d/ – fads, fades, reds, reads, bids, bides, rods, and roads
/g/ – rags, begs, legs, twigs, blogs, crags, and drugs
/v/ – shaves, leaves, hives, thrives, stoves, and moves
/l/ – balls, sails, bells, peals, bills, piles, polls, poles, pools, and pulls
/m/ – names, hams, seems, hems, rhymes, rims, combs, storms, and comes
/n/ – planes, plans, means, hens, mines, tins, tunes, tons, and stones
/r/ – stores, shores, lures, mares, stares, spars, bears, and bars
/ð/ – breathes, bathes
All vowel sounds – plays, trees, buys, goes, shoes, and shows
Final /ɪz/ sound
Pronounced the same as the word “is” (third person singular of the verb “to be”, he is, she is, it is). Of the three “s” sounds this is the only one that adds a syllable.
We use the /ɪz/ sound after the following final sounds;
/s/ – races, places, busses, tosses, and losses
/z/ – pleases, teases, sneezes, and lazes
/ʃ/ – washes, crashes, crushes, blushes, and dishes
/ʧ/ – watches, witches, catches, and botches
/ʤ/ – wedges, edges, ledges, lodges, and judges
Use a book, magazine, newspaper or select and copy any online article, then circle the words with final “s” sounds.
Record the article that you have chosen, then listen to the recording to make certain your pronunciation is accurate.