Hard and soft 's’

Sunday, November 6, 2011

I always think of a hissing snake when I see the letter ‘s’ but, when pronouncing words that end in ‘s’, it’s better to think of a buzzing bee. More often, when a word ends in an ‘s’, pronounce that final ‘s’ hard, like a ‘z’. Try it:

drugs, monsters, dogs, shoes, babies, vacations, words, trees, scandals.....

Of course there are exceptions when the soft ‘s’ sound is used, words which in their singular form end in these five consonant sounds /p/,/t/, /k/, /f/, and the voiceless (soft) /th/:

lips, fifths, picnics (the ‘c’ has the ‘k’ sound), gifts, laughs (‘gh’ has the ‘f’ sound), golfs

In most cases, pronounce that final ‘s’ hard, like a ‘z’, and you’ll be just fine.

Image: Golly Bard, Swarm of honeybees

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