- "z" - zip, zoo
- "zz" - sizzle, buzzer
- "ze" - maze, realize
- "s" - bags, losing
- "se" - these, rise
- "es" - loves, clothes
The sound /z/ can be in these clusters.
Beginning of a Syllable
End of a Syllable
/gz/ ("gs") - begs
/bz/ ("bs"/"bes") - rubs, robes
/rbz/ ("rbs") - barbs
/dz/ ("ds" / "des") - lids, rides
/ldz/ ("lds") - holds
/rdz/ ("rds") - cards
/vz/("ves") - loves
/ðz/ ("ths" / "thes") - cloths, breathes
/rz/ ("rs"/"res") - bars, tires
/mz/ ("ms"/"mes"/"mbs") - seems, homes, climbs
/lmz/ ("lms") - calms
/rmz/ ("rms") - harms
/nz/("ns" / "nes") - means, phones
/lnz/ ("lns") - kilns
/rnz/ ("rns") - horns
/ŋz/("ngs") - rings
The "-s" ending is used to mark plural nouns, possessive nouns, and present tense 3rd person singular verbs. The "-s" ending is pronounced /z/ after a vowel or voiced consonant.
- Plural nouns: bags, days
- Possessive nouns: John's book, Chicago's river
- 3rd person singular verbs: moves, tries
These sounds are both alveolar, fricative consonants. However, /z/ is a voiced consonant and /s/ is a voiceless consonant. If you are pronouncing /z/, your vocal cords should vibrate. At the end of a word, the vowel before /z/ will be longer than the vowel before /s/.
You can hear the difference between /z/ and /s/ in these words.
2. A. lies, B. lice
3. A. falls, B. false
4. A. scares, B. scarce
5. A. raising, B. racing
6. A. disease, B. decease
Now, compare /z/ with /dʒ/:
These are both voiced alveolar consonants. However, /z/ is a fricative and /dʒ/ is an affricate. If you are pronouncing /dʒ/, the air in your mouth should stop before it is released (creating a “harder” sound).
You can hear the difference between /z/ and /dʒ/ in these words.
2. A. raise, B. rage
3. A. buzz, B. budge
4. A. zoos, B. juice
5. A. ways, B. wage
6. A. chains, B. change
Now, practice /z/ in sentences. Say the words first, then the sentences.
What size of shoes does he wear?
2. kids - visit - zoo
The kids want to visit the zoo.
3. composer - pieces - music
That composer wrote many famous pieces of music.
4. friend's - pleasant - surprise
My friend's arrival was a pleasant surprise.
5. checkers - always - lose
If I play checkers with my sister, I always lose.
6. viruses - cause - diseases
Viruses can cause different diseases.
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