‘S’ endings

In the following sentence, how many different pronunciations of ’s’ endings would occur?

Where’s Kate’s cat? I haven’t seen it in ages.

There are three different pronunciations of ’s’ in the example. ‘Where’s’ is pronounced with /z/. ‘Kate’s’ is pronounced as /s/ and ‘ages’ is pronounced with /ɪz/

How are ‘s’ endings pronounced?

When we add ‘s’ to a word (root), the following pronunciation rule applies:

  • If the root word ends in a voiced consonant or a vowel sound, ‘s’ is pronounced /z/

Example: where’s opens, pulls.

  • If the root word ends in a voiceless consonant, ‘s’ is pronounced /s/

Example: Kate’s, looks, pops

  • If the root word ends in /s, z, ʃ, ʒ, tʃ, dʒ/, the ending is pronounced /ɪz/

Example: ages, wishes, faces


/z/  dogs, cares, snails, spiders, mushrooms

/s/   cats, creates, smokes, laughs, gasps

/ɪz/  brushes, faces, passes, spaces, witches


Which word is different in each line based on the pronunciation of its ending?

A.  works     looks    kisses    drops    eats

B.  plays    shows    stars    opens   likes

C.  waits    wrecks    hates   needs    wants

D.  enjoys    loves    drips    learns    tries

E.  cries   ends   stems   crams    lights

F.  leans    tastes    crows    allows    flames

G.  flows    smokes    flops   spikes    shocks

H.  jams    steams    ends   invents   decides

Answers: A. kisses B. likes C. needs D. drips E. lights F. tastes G. flows H. invents