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Pronunciation – The -s/-es Sound

Demystifying the Pronunciation of “-s/-es” in English Present Tense Verbs

Are you puzzled by the pronunciation of the “-s” or “-es” endings in English verbs when referring to the third person singular in the present tense? Fear not, for you’re not alone. Mastering this aspect of pronunciation is crucial for effective communication in English. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the rules and variations of pronouncing “-s/-es” endings, helping you navigate this linguistic terrain with confidence.

Understanding the Basics

In English, verbs typically undergo changes when referring to different subjects, such as first person singular (I), second person singular (you), or third person singular (he/she/it). Today, we’ll focus on the third person singular, where the verb often takes on the “-s” or “-es” ending in the present tense.

The Rule: Adding “-s/-es” for Third Person Singular

The general rule is simple: when forming the present tense for third person singular subjects (he/she/it), most verbs add an “-s” to the base form of the verb. For example:

  • Walk becomes Walks
  • Speak becomes Speaks
  • Run becomes Runs

However, some verbs require an “-es” ending instead of just “-s”. This typically happens when the base verb ends in s, x, ch, sh, or o.

Examples:

  • Pass becomes Passes
  • Fix becomes Fixes
  • Watch becomes Watches
  • Go becomes Goes
  • Do becomes Does

Pronunciation Variations

Now, let’s tackle the pronunciation nuances associated with these endings.

/s/ Sound

When the base verb ends in a voiceless consonant sound (like /p/, /t/, /k/, /f/, etc.), the “-s” ending is pronounced as an /s/ sound.

Examples:

  • Speaks(/s/) – He speaks three languages
  • Drinks (/s/) – She drinks coffee every morning.
  • Hates (/s/) – My dog hates my cat.

/z/ Sound

When the base verb ends in a voiced consonant sound (like /b/, /d/, /g/, /v/, /z/, etc.), the “-s” ending is pronounced as a /z/ sound.

Examples:

  • Love (/z/) – She loves her dog.
  • Learn (/z/) – AI learns by itself.
  • Prefer (/z/) – He prefers his coffee with sugar.
  • Go (/z/) – He goes to school every day.

/iz/ Sound

For verbs ending in s, x, ch, sh, or o, the “-es” ending is pronounced as /iz/. This adds an extra syllable to the word.

Examples:

  • Passes (/iz/) – Isabel passes every exam.
  • Watches (/iz/) – She watches TV all the time.
  • Mix (/iz/) – He mixes all the ingredients.

Practice Makes Perfect

The key to mastering the pronunciation of “-s/-es” endings lies in practice and repetition. Engage in speaking exercises, listen to native speakers, and familiarize yourself with the sound patterns. Over time, you’ll develop a natural feel for the correct pronunciation.

Conclusion

Navigating the pronunciation of “-s/-es” endings in the third person singular present tense verbs may seem daunting at first, but with an understanding of the rules and consistent practice, you’ll make significant strides in your English language journey. Embrace the challenge, keep practicing, and soon enough, pronouncing these endings will become second nature. Happy learning!

Pronunciation of the "-s/-es" sound

1 / 16

What is the sound of the ending of the verb in the following sentence:

He prefers his coffee with sugar.

2 / 16

What is the sound of the ending of the verb in the following sentence:

She loves playing with her dog.

3 / 16

What is the sound of the ending of the verb in the following sentence:

Artificial Intelligence learns by itself.

4 / 16

What is the sound of the ending of the verb in the following sentence:

He mixes all the ingredients.

5 / 16

What is the sound of the ending of the verb in the following sentence:

The sun shines brightly in the sky.

6 / 16

What is the sound of the ending of the verb in the following sentence:

My brother cleans his room every week.

7 / 16

What is the sound of the ending of the verb in the following sentence:

He locks the door when he leaves.

8 / 16

What is the sound of the ending of the verb in the following sentence:

He goes to school every day.

9 / 16

What is the sound of the ending of the verb in the following sentence:

The clock chimes at midnight.

10 / 16

What is the sound of the ending of the verb in the following sentence:

Tom visits his friends on weekends.

11 / 16

What is the sound of the ending of the verb in the following sentence:

He passes the bakery on his way to work.

12 / 16

What is the sound of the ending of the verb in the following sentence:

Sarah does her homework every evening.

13 / 16

What is the sound of the ending of the verb in the following sentence:

The cat runs after the mouse.

14 / 16

What is the sound of the ending of the verb in the following sentence:

He speaks English fluently.

15 / 16

What is the sound of the ending of the verb in the following sentence:

She watches her favorite TV show every Friday.

16 / 16

What is the sound of the ending of the verb in the following sentence:

She walks to school every day.

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