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The letter "S"

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Hi there!

During this lesson we're going to learn how to pronounce the letter: s

The letter S at the beginning of a word is always pronounced as a clear S sound sss, and not as a Z sound: zzz, unless it's followed by the letter H which makes it a SH sound: shhh

School
Sell
Sink
Slow
Snake
Smooth
Split
Stop
Sun
Son

The letter S in the middle or at the end of a word can either be a clear S sound or a Z sound, depending upon the consonant which comes before or after the S, with or without vowels in between.

If there is a hard consonant before or after the letter S then you usually need to pronounce it as a clear S sound: sss

If there is a soft consonant before or after the letter S then you usually need to pronounce it as a Z sound: zzz

It's also very important to pronounce the S at the end of words which are plural or which express possession, for example: John's bikes which means: the bikes which belong to John.

Here are some examples of words which contain a clear S sound:

Cost
Books
Compost
Crisps
Grapes
Wallets
Misty
Grasp
Mast
Fast

Here are some examples of words which contain a Z sound:

Bags
Hands
Meters
Coins
Films
Shutters
Glasses
Expenses
Plasma
Snails

There are of course many exceptions which, unfortunately, you just have to learn as they come along!

Now try reading out loud the following sentence, and remember to pronounce the right type of S:

Sally the smooth and slippery snake, slides slowly down the stairs.

Sally the smooth and slippery snake, slides slowly down the stairs.

So, now that you know how to pronounce the letter s, try chatting with some new friends on GoSpeakEnglish to see if you can impress them with your smooth, sensual, and stylish speaking style!

And that's the end of this lesson!

Now you can see if you've understood the video, and do the test on GoSpeakEnglish. You can also watch many other English video lessons on GoSpeakEnglish.

Thanks, and I hope to see you again soon!

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