‘s’ endings in English have several purposes:-
- Plural (I have 7 cats)
- Possessive (That is Jane‘s cat)
- Verb conjugation (The cat runs inside)
It is important to give this sound attention as it is a very common mistake for non-native speakers to miss this sound off the end of a word (especially with plural words due to other languages not having a separate way of expressing singular / plural and instead, relying on context).
The pronunciation of the ‘s’ depends on the ending of the word. If it has a voiceless ending then it will be an / s / sound ending.
/ s / (cats)
If it ends with a voiced sound then it will be a / z / sound ending.
/ z / (views)
If the word ends with an ‘s’, ‘sh’, ‘ch’, ‘j’ or ‘z’ sound then it will be an / iz / sound ending.
/ iz / (glasses)
Try reading the following words aloud:-
- apple / apples
- toy / toys
- country / countries
- cat / cats
- shoe / shoes
- phone / phones
- cup / cups
- place / places
- room / rooms
- space / spaces
Try reading the following paragraphs aloud:-
1. “I see seven cats are circling the dog. His supper looks good to their eyes. They get closer to the dog’s bowl and he wonders if he will survive. The food’s smell fills the cat’s noses and they seem like they will strike at a moment’s notice.”
2. “I have the shopping list. It says we need one banana, seven apples, a cake, some salt, satsumas, flowers and some ice cream. We also need potatoes, lettuce, beans, grapes and some beef.”
For more practice, try these s tongue twisters to get used to going between the different sounds.