Decoding the letter S

From Teflpedia

ʒ

vision /ˈvɪʒən/

ʃ

tension /ˈtenʃən/

z

his /hɪz/

s

this /ðɪs/

IPA consonants
Normal sound: /b, d, f, g, h, k, l, m, n, p, r, s, t, v, w, z/
 ʃ  ŋ
show church sing
ʒ  j 
usual judge you
θ ð s
think that see

The letter S, lowercase s (pronounced /es/) has four pronunciations: /s/ as in say or mouse, /z/ as in cousin or choose, /ʃ/ as in sugar or extension and /ʒ/ as in pleasure or vision.

As /s/ or /z/[edit]

See main article Pronunciation and decoding exercises: /s/ vs /z/.

See also Pronunciation of the morpheme “-s”.

/s/ /z/
Initial sing - smile  
Intervocalic basic - fantasy busy - prison
Adjacent to a consonant also - test observe - Tuesday
Final "s" chaos - books his - hands
Final "se" goose - dense cheese - cleanse

As /s/[edit]

  • initial /s/:
  • same - say - scar - school - sea - sing - sit - sky - sleep - smile - soap - some - song - speak - stay - stop - study - sun - swim
  • final /s/:
  • bus - gas - this - yes
as morpheme “-s” for words ending in /f/, /k/, /p/, /t/, and /θ/:
  • plurals: chiefs - ducks - cups - students - months
  • third person singular: laughs - thinks - helps - gets
  • possessives: staff's - Mike's - troop's - Egypt's - Edith's
  • with "se": dense - goose - house - loose - mouse - promise - release - tense
  • in mid-position:
  • awesome - basic - nuisance
  • homophones: C - sea - see; cell - sell; cent - scent - sent; cite - site - sight; scene - seen;

As /z/[edit]

  • with final /z/:
  • as - does - has - his - is - was
morpheme “-s”
  • plurals: bugs - churches - dens - keys - phones - shoes - toys
  • third person singular: comes - drives - gives - knows - tells
  • possessives: Alice's - Bob's - Carol's - Dave's - Ethiopia's - Finland's - Germany's
  • with "se": advise - browse - cheese - choose - lose - please - these - use - wise
  • in mid-position:
  • busy - cousin - desert - easy - houses - music - poison - present - president - prison - reason - visit
  • homophones: nose - knows; size - sighs

As /ʃ/[edit]

  • controversial - dimension - fuchsia /ˈfjuːʃə/ - sugar - sure

See also: Decoding exercises: "sion"

As /ʒ/[edit]

See IPA phoneme /ʒ/ and Decoding exercises: "sion".

Silent S[edit]

  • aisle - debris - island
  • Arkansas /ˈɑːrkənˌsɔː/- Illinois /ˌɪləˈnɔɪ/

S in combinations[edit]

  • "ps": as /s/
psalm - psychology
  • "sc"
as /s/: discipline - fascinate - scene - scent - science - scissors
as /ʃ/: conscience - crescendo - fascism
as /sk/: scale - discover - describe - discussion - score - screen
  • "sh": as /ʃ/
cash - crash - dish - fashion - flash - push - she - shine - shoe - shop - should - wash
Exceptions, when "s" and "h" are in different syllables
  • /sh/: disheartening - mishandle - mishap - mishear
  • silent "h": dishonest - dishonorAmE - dishonourBrE

See also[edit]