Unit 3.1

Letters: s, z

letters - 1 minute

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The letters s and z are called alveolar fricatives.


In order to pronounce them, the flow of air must be stopped or impeded by creating a block or a small opening between the tongue and the alveolar ridge.

The difference between these two letters consists on the sonority, in fact s is voiced while z is voiceless.


  1. between two vowels:
    • music, reason, cousin;
  2. when there is a vowel before s and after it -e:
    • disease, choose, rose;
  3. plural third person conjugation:
    • she loves, he chooses, it loses;
  4. exceptions with ss:
    • dessert, scissors, possess, dissolve;
  5. after voiced consonants:
    • dogs, beds, dolls.


The letter s is pronounced as ʒ when:

  1. it is between two vowels;
  2. there is a vowel before s and after it -e  (exceptions: house, mouse, promise);
  3. we use s as a suffix or to add a suffix to form plural third person conjugation, however this does not always apply and you should remember the words by heart;
  4. there are some exceptions of words with double s (ss);
  5. used after the voiced consonants b, d, g, l, r, w, m, n, v, y.
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