Hey there! This is TOP episode 61: Final ‘s’ in Third Person Verb.  Pronunciation Tip. 

My name’s Ola and I am an English teacher. This podcast is for you if you want to start speaking English fearlessly. I help people fight the fear of speaking, become confident, fluent and independent. I have eliminated a massive language blockade myself and now I teach others how to achieve that.

In this episode, you’ll practise speaking and in turn boost your vocabulary, brush up your grammar and improve your pronunciation. Go to my website for full transcripts and worksheets to each episode. Happy learning!

Hello hello, thank you for tuning in! I cannot hide how happy I am you’re here. Recently I’ve noticed the craziest thing. This podcast is being listened to by more than 200 people a day. Like 250 on some days. I’m thrilled! Thank you for being here. Welcome new listeners! If you have questions or suggestions email me! My mail address is: contact@teacherola.com . You can also reach me on my social media. Mainly Instagram but also Facebook. 

Please be an active listener and you’ll see the results in no time. Be patient with yourself and please wait for the practical part. I would also like to say hello and I love you to all my 1:1 students who listen to this podcast, you are my main inspiration. I am grateful I got to know you and thank you so much.  If you find this podcast useful, valuable, share it. This is how you can help me build this podcast. 

In today’s episode you’re going to learn how to pronounce the third verb singular endings. It’s always letter -s but it’s not always pronounced as the /s/ sound. Getting the sound right is essential for communicating your meaning clearly. Let’s fix this common pronunciation mistake so that people understand you better and you sound more natural. But first and foremost you ant to start communicating, so make sure you are understood. This is why I have this series of episodes ‘Pronunciation Tip’. I don’t care if my Polish accent is heard or not. Pff. I don’t really care if I speak British English or American English or maybe Australian. I am able to effectively communicate. And this feels great. I know you can feel the same way. So, pay attention to pronunciation. It is important. Proper pronunciation. Not an accent. 

Now let me tell you what’s in it for you today. First I’ll tell you how the ‘s’ or ‘es’ can be pronounced. There are three different ways, three different sounds you need to be able to produce. Then we’ll take a closer look at each option, I’ll tell you how to check which pronunciation pattern is correct. There’s one simple method. You’ll find out what a voice box is. You’ll learn what are voiced and unvoiced sounds and why you should know that. You’ll also get to know one bonus tip, how to apply the same pronunciation rule to other words. Interested? I hope so! Finally we’ll get to the next and most important part of this episode that is your practice. You’ll hear words and sentences to repeat after me. There are 17 words and 17 sentences waiting for you. At the end we’ll wrap it all up and I’ll ask you to do some homework. I will tell you right away what’s your homework. Your homework is prepared for you in a sweet pdf file, and it’s waiting for you for free at teacherola.com/61. Each episode comes with a worksheet. I don’t leave you alone with the episode. I want you to take it further. Go grab it, translate Polish sentences into English. Ok, we’re ready. Let’s start. 

Final ‘s’ in the third person singular form of the verb. All verbs in the third person singular receive ‘s’ or ‘es’ depending on spelling rules of the given verb. Today we’re focused on pronunciation. 

If you need an episode on spelling rules when it comes to the third person singular let me know. 

Ok. So the final ‘s’. There are three options when it comes to pronunciation. The final ‘s’ or ‘es’ can be pronounced as: /s/ or /z/ or /yz/.  we actually choose the appropriate pronunciation, /s/, /z/, or /ɪz/, based on the sound at the end of the main word. Let’s discuss all three cases. Let’s begin with the /s/ sound. 

Some verbs end with voiceless sounds. Or there are verbs ending with unvoiced sounds. ‘Smoke. Let’s take this verb as an example. The verb ‘smoke’ ends with the /k/ sound. When you put your fingers lightly on your throat and produce the sound /k/ you feel nothing. No vibration. That’s because the sound /k/ is unvoiced. Your larynx or your voice box is not vibrating while producing the sound. So now when you add the /s/ sound to smoke, you still keep your larynx not vibrating. You produce this final ‘s’ as the voiceless /s/ sound, just because the final consonant sound in the verb was unvoiced as well /k/, /k/. Smokes, /s/, smokes /ks/. Say it a few times, feel your voice box not vibrating.  Aha, one more thing the letters don’t matter. It’s the sounds that you should pay attention to. 

Let me give you the whole list of unvoiced consonant sounds. Now you know the first one, it’s /k/. The rest is: /p/, /t/, /f/, and /th/. The /f/ sound is usually represented by the letters ‘gh’ like in ‘laugh’, of ‘ph’ like in the verb ‘photograph’. So listen carefully and pay attention to your voice box. It’s not about the letters, it’s about the sounds. We’ll practice later, as I promised before. And now let’s move on to the second option when it comes to pronunciation. The /z/ sound.

I’ve just said that some verbs end with unvoiced sounds, right? As you have probably guessed, there are also voiced sounds at the end of verbs. Voiced sound is the one which makes your voice box vibrate. Touch your neck again and say the verb ‘play’. /j/ sound is the final consonant sound in this word and it is vibrating, isn’t it. Can you feel it? Of course you can! If the verb ends with a voiced sound then you pronounce the final ‘s’ with a voiced sound as well. That is the /z/ sound. Play, plays. /jz/, /jz/, it’s vibrating all the time, right? Now let me give you the list of other voiced sounds. You know the first one: /j/, the others are: /b/, /d/, /g/, /l/, /m/, /n/, /ng/, /r/, /dh/, /w/ and /v/. Stay with me, because you need to practice right? But let’s not forget there’s the option. /yz/.

Sometimes we have to add the whole new syllable at the end of the verb. the syllable /yz/. It’s a voiced syllable. Let’s have an example. For instance ‘watch’. To pronounce the third person singular properly we need to add the syllable with the /z/ sound and we end up with ‘watches’, ‘watches’, /iz/, /iz/. We pronounce the final ‘s’ or ‘es’ as /iz/  when the verb ends with the sound /ch/ for example. The list of other sounds causing the same effect is: /s/, /z/, /cz/, /dź/, /sz/, /ż/ and /ks/. These are all so-called ‘sibilant’ sounds. So, you don’t have to think about your voice box. It doesn’t matter if it vibrates or not. Ok. 

This is all when it comes to theory. Oh, one more thing. It’s a bonus. All these rules apply to plural nouns and to forming possessive cases! Good news, huh? So when you want to form a plural from a kiss, you know it’s an unvoiced final sound so it’s going to be ‘kisses’. Plural from ‘a friend’ /d, /d/ must be ‘friends’. Plural from ‘a bus’ is ‘buses’. 

Ok. I’m happy you’re still with me because it’s high time to start our today’s practice. Are you ready? Let’s begin with words and then we’ll move on to whole sentences. Relax, focus, stop multitasking, listen and repeat:


She always misses the point.


She catches a cold every autumn.


He constantly breaks the rules.


She counts on you.


I think he drinks too much.


He hopes for the change.


She likes him.


She always sits in the back of the car.


He calls me every Sunday.


It completely destroys my plans.


It gives me the creeps.


He tries really hard.


It makes me wanna shout.


She visits her grandparents once a month.


He never eats.


He always uses my pens!


She binge-watches crime stories.

Here you have it. Pronunciation of the finas -s and -es in the third form of the verb.  Today you’ve learned the three ways it can be pronounced. That is /s/, /z/ and /yz/. You’ve also learned how to decide which pronunciation pattern is correct for which verbs. You know some of the end with unvoiced sounds, like ‘pop’, ‘laugh’ or ‘fight’. Those are pronounced with unvoices /s/ sound: ‘pops’, ‘laughs and ‘fights’. Other verbs end with voiced sounds, for instance: ‘play’, ‘smell’ and ‘kill’. Those are pronounced with the voiced /z/ sound. ‘Plays’, ‘smells’, and ‘kills’. There verbs ending with sibilant sounds, like: ‘watch’, ‘kiss’ and ‘box’. Those are pronounced with an extra syllable /yz/. ‘Watches’, ‘kisses’ and ‘boxes’.

Please don’t forget to download the worksheet and translate Polish sentences from this episode into English. This free worksheet is available for you at teacherola.com/61. 

Please spread the word, share this podcast with someone you think might need it. Please do it if you think that this podcast is valuable. 

Be here next Wednesday, because we’re going to learn some vocabulary. We’ll continue the series of food idioms. Subscribe to this podcast if you haven’t yet. And I’ll see you next Wednesday. Goodbye! Happy learning.