- “sh” – shoe, push
- “ss” (+ “u” or “I”) – pressure, mission
- “ch” – champagne, machine
- “ti” – patience, station
- “ce” (not common)– ocean, groceries
- “s” (not common) – sugar, sure
The sound /ʃ/ can be in these consonant clusters:
Beginning of a Syllable
End of a Syllable
/lʃ/ (“lsh”) - Welsh
/ʃt/ (“shed”) - finished
The sound /ʃ/ is present in the suffixes –tion and -ssion. These suffixes may turn a verb into a noun if the verb ends in /t/ or /s/.
- create --> creation
- direct --> direction
- educate --> education
- express --> expression
- discuss --> discussion
These are both voiceless fricative consonants pronounced near the alveolar ridge. However, /ʃ/ is an alveo-palatal fricative and /s/ is an alveolar fricative. When you pronounce /s/, your tongue is slightly farther forward than when you pronounce /ʃ/.
2. A. shame, B. same
3. A. plush, B. plus
4. A. cashed, B. cast
5. A. meshing, B. messing
6. A. furnishes, B. furnaces
Now compare /ʃ/ and /tʃ/:
These are both voiceless alveo-palatal consonants. However, /tʃ/ is an affricate while /ʃ/ is a fricative. When you pronounce /tʃ/, the air in your mouth should stop (like a /t/) before it is released (like a /ʃ/).
You can hear the difference between /ʃ/ and /tʃ/ in these words.
2. A. share, B. chair
3. A. bash, B. batch
4. A. Porsches, B. porches
5. A. washed, B. watched
6. A. dishes, B. ditches
Now, practice /ʃ/ in sentences. Say the words first, then the sentences.
The technicians rushed to repair the machine.
2. she – groceries* – cash
She paid for the groceries with cash.
3. essential – share – information
It’s essential that we share this information with the public
4. invitation – mention – location
The invitation didn’t mention the location of the party.
5. chef – selection – dishes
The chef prepared a selection of dishes for us to try.
6. wash – shampoo – conditioner
I always wash my hair with shampoo and conditioner
(*In some varieties of American English, "groceries" may be pronounced with /s/.)
To practice with different varieties of English, choose another native English speaker by clicking one of the links below: