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2.7: -S Endings

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    Warm Up: Notice the -S Endings

    Funny Jobs

    1. Look at the pictures of people who have funny or strange jobs. Match the name of each job with the picture.
    2. What do they do? Write two sentences for each job. Your teacher will help you with the first one.
    Funny Job Titles

    Ice Cream Taster Train Pusher

    Full-time Netflix Viewer Professional Cuddler

    Match the job title to the picture. Then describe what each person does in his or her job.

    Picture Funny Job Title What do they do? Write 2 sentences.

    Attendants pushing people onto a train during rush hour at Ueno station, Yamanote line.

    By Chris 73 / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0,


    Lady eating strawberry sorbet


    a man watching a TV screen

    Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay


    two girls cuddling

    Image by Djapirri Mununggirritj from Pixabay


    Note: The strange jobs above are real. The images above are meant to help students understand the vocabulary; however, they do not all depict people doing those jobs.

    Why is saying the final -S important?

    a woman sitting on a couch with a broken leg and a crutch
    a child taking a quiz with pencil and paper
    Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\): Images by Виктория Бородинова from Pixabay and Jessica Lewis on Unsplash.


    Sometimes the meaning is not clear if you don't pronounce the -s ending.

    • Example: Jen fell off her bike and broke her leg (s).
    • Did she break one leg or two legs?

    Sometimes the meaning is clear, but the missing -s distracts the listener.

    • Example: My teacher give two quiz every Friday.

    Elemental English: -S Endings

    Before You Watch


    What do these words mean? Ask your teacher or look them up in your online dictionary:

    • vocal cords
    • vibration
    • lack of


    Answer the questions. Then share your answers with the class.

    1. Where are your vocal cords and why are they important?
    2. What are some examples of things that vibrate?
    3. The student's problem is lack of sleep. Is she getting a lot of sleep or very little sleep? What else is there a "lack of" in your life or in the world?

    Three types of -S Endings

    Look at the following words and listen to your teacher say them out loud. How are the -s endings different?

    • cats
    • dogs
    • horses

    While You Watch

    Watch the video and answer the questions.

    1. What are the three ways of saying the plural "s" ending in English? Use a phonemic chart to write the sounds below.
      • ________________
      • ________________
      • ________________
    2. How do the plural "s" in these two words sound different? Write the phonemic chart symbol next to each -s ending.
      • dogs
      • cats
    3. Why does the final "s" change for the two words "dogs" and "cats"? Choose the best answer.
      • so English speakers can speak efficiently
      • so English speakers can say the most in the shortest amount of time
      • so the vocal chords can continue to do the same thing
      • all of the above
    4. Choose the best answer. The change in sound is caused by the sound . . .
      • before it
      • after it
    5. What are examples of voiceless or unvoiced sounds? Write symbols from your phonemic chart.
    6. What are examples of voiced sounds? Write symbols from your phonemic chart.
    7. What are examples of sounds that cause the "s" ending to be pronounced with an additional syllable /əz/? Write symbols from your phonemic chart.
    8. How does the speaker link sounds in her speech in order to create linking and music in her speech?
    9. Why is it important to pronounce the -s ending accurately?
    10. The video makes one mistake. Did you notice it? Look at the sentence "There are bits of cake on the floor." What was the mistake?

    After You Watch

    Rules to Remember: Voiced and Unvoiced

    Put your hand on your throat. What do you feel when you say each of the sounds below? Do you feel vibration (movement or buzzing) or no vibration?

    • You will feel a vibration in your throat if a word ends in a voiced consonant.
    • You will NOT feel a vibration if a word ends in an unvoiced consonant.


    Type of -S ending Examples
    Use /s/ after unvoiced final sounds such as /f/, /k/, /p/, and /θ/(th)

    Words that end with an /s/ sound:

    • look - looks
    • ask - asks
    • help - helps
    • wait - waits

    Use /z/ after voiced final sounds such as /b/, /g/, /l/, /m/, /n/, /r/, /ð/(th),/v/, and vowels

    Words that end with a /z/ sound:

    • sob - sobs
    • roam - roams
    • believe - believes
    • need - needs
    • fill - fills
    • enjoy - enjoys

    Use /əz/ or /ɪz/ after consonants that make a buzzing or hissing sound /ʧ/(ch), /ʃ/ (sh), /ʤ/(j), /s/, and /z/. Remember that /əz/ adds an extra syllable.

    Words that end with an /əz/:

    • push - pushes
    • watch - watches
    • dress - dresses
    • judge - judges

    Answer the Questions

    Review voiced and unvoiced sounds.

    Choose the best answer.

    1. Is the sound /t/ voiced or unvoiced?
      • voiced: vibration (movement or buzzing)
      • unvoiced: no vibration (nothing)
    2. Is the /d/ sound voiced or unvoiced?
      • voiced: vibration (movement or buzzing)
      • unvoiced: no vibration (nothing)
    3. Is the /s/ sound voiced or unvoiced?
      • voiced: vibration (movement or buzzing)
      • unvoiced: no vibration (nothing)
    4. Is the /z/ sound voiced or unvoiced?
      • voiced: vibration (movement or buzzing)
      • unvoiced: no vibration (nothing)

    Practice: -S Endings

    Does each word end with a /s/, /z/, or /əz/ sound?

    Query \(\PageIndex{1}\)

    Linking -S Endings

    Rules to Remember

    Rules to Remember: Linking -S Endings

    Native speakers often link the -s ending to the first sound in the next word. Doing this can help your speech sound more natural and it can help you understand native speakers.

    • Link the -s ending to a vowel sound.
      • Example: Andy works a lot. (Sounds like work-sa lot.)
    • Link the -s ending to an /s/ sound.
      • Example: Brittany runs so fast. (Sounds like run-so fast.)
    • Link the -s ending to another consonant sound.
      • Example: Jen likes poodles. (Sounds like like-spoodles.)



    Draw a link from the word ending with -s to the first sound of the next word. Say the phrases silently as you link the words.

    1. ________________ often cooks at home.
    2. ________________ listens to podcasts.
    3. ________________ loves working outside.
    4. ________________ often loses stuff.
    5. ________________ wants to teach.
    6. ________________ always eats breakfast.
    7. ________________ never drinks coffee.
    8. ________________ avoids eating meat.
    9. ________________ repairs fences.
    10. ________________ plays the guitar.


    Look at the activities above. Walk around the classroom. Find someone who does each activity. Find as many people as you can in five minutes. Write their names on the lines above.


    • Q: Do you often cook at home?
    • A: Yes, I do.
    • Q: What's your name?
    • A: Sam.

    Share your answers

    Share one or two of your answers with the class. Remember to link the -s ending with the next work.


    • Sam often cooks at home. (Sounds like: Sam often cook-sat home.)

    Listening: Linking -S Endings

    Listen to the statements about Andy. Remember the rules about linking -s endings to the next word. There are two words missing from each sentence. Listen to the recording, pause, and re-listen as many times as you need. (The purpose of this activity is to improve your awareness of connected speech.) Listening Practice - Linking -S Endings.m4a

    Query \(\PageIndex{1}\)

    Recording: Linking -S Endings

    Read the sentences below. Focus on linking the -s endings to the following word. Remember the rules you learned above:

    • Linking the -s ending to a vowel sound. (gets up ---> get-sup)
    • Linking the -s ending to an /s/ sound/ (feels scared ---> feel-scared)
    • Link the -s ending to another consonant sound. (drink ---> scoffee)

    ___ / 12 points

    1. Andy is a farmer.
    2. He lives in San Diego.
    3. He avoids eating meat.
    4. He loves working outside and taking lots of fresh air.
    5. Andy teaches other farmers about sustainable agriculture.
    6. He wants to teach them how to protect the environment.
    7. He often loses stuff.
    8. He never gets sad.
    9. He often drinks coffee.
    10. He listens to podcasts.
    11. He repairs fences.

    Communication Task: Describe Your Dream Job


    Imagine your dream job. What do you do each day? Write down the title of your job and at least 3 things you "do" in your dream job.


    Job Title: Full-Time ESL Instructor

    Daily Activities:

    • help students
    • attend committee meetings
    • make materials

    Pair work

    Work with a partner. What do you do every day in your imaginary job? Describe your job and your job duties to your partner. Listen to your partner describe his or her job and take notes here.

    Take notes about your partner's dream job


    Describe yoru partner's dream job to a small group or to the class. Tell what your partner does. (Remember to use the third person -s.)


    Brittany's dream job is to be a full-time ESL teacher. In her imaginary job she helps students, she attends committee meetings, and she makes materials.

    -S Endings: More Practice

    Query \(\PageIndex{1}\)


    Listen to the recording. Complete the paragraph about Andy's job. Use words that end with an "s" sound. Summary - Andy's job.m4a

    Query \(\PageIndex{1}\)


    Andy's Job and -s Endings

    1. Listen to the recording and practice reading the text several times.
    2. When you're ready, make a video of yourself reading the text. Listen to teh recording. Did you pronounce all of the s endings correctly? Did you use the linking rules you learned?
    3. Listen for mistakes and record yourself again.
    4. When you're ready, submit your recording to the teacher for feedback.

    _____ / 25 points

    Andy is from Oxford, but he lives in San Diego. In his free time, Andy likes to read and go running. He also cooks, plays the guitar, and listens to podcasts. He avoids eating meat because meat production hurts the environment. Andy is a farmer. He drives a pickup truck. Everyday he works outside. He plants and waters crops. He also pulls weeds and does harvesting, and he repairs fences. He loves working outside and taking lots of fresh air. Andy teaches other famers about sustainable agriculture. He wants to teach them how to protect the environment.

    This page titled 2.7: -S Endings is shared under a CC BY 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Brittany Zemlick.

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