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How Do You Spell [s]?

1. You can hear the sound [s] at the beginning, in the middle, and at the end of the word success. In success [s] is spelled three different ways: <\mathrm{s}>, <c>, and <ss>. About 97 \% of time [s] is spelled one of those three ways.

Underline the letters that spell [s] in each of the following words:

& \text{\underline{s}cratch} && \text{immigrant\underline{s}} && \text{\underline{s}moky} && \text{\underline{s}ituation} \\ & \text{a\underline{s}phalt} && \text{collap\underline{s}e} && \text{mathematic\underline{s}} && \text{radiu\underline{s}} \\& \text{impul\underline{s}e} && \text{demon\underline{s}trate} && \text{immen\underline{s}e} && \text{analy\underline{s}i\underline{s}} \\& \text{\underline{s}tatu\underline{s}} && \text{\underline{s}chedule} && \text{\underline{s}candal} && \text{di\underline{s}tinguish} \\& \text{adult\underline{s}} && \text{dangerou\underline{s}} && \text{de\underline{s}troy} && \text{courageou\underline{s}} \\& \text{di\underline{s}patch} && \text{dessert\underline{s}} && \text{conge\underline{s}ted} && \text{\underline{s}ymphony} \\& \text{in\underline{s}truction} && \text{\underline{s}queezed} && \text{\underline{s}eizure} && \text{empha\underline{s}i\underline{s}}

2. Sort the twenty-eight words into the following three groups. Some words go into more than one group:

Words with [s]...
at the front in the middle at the end
sandwich asphalt impulse mathematics
status dispatch status immense
schedule instruction adults radius
squeezed demonstrate immigrants analysis
smoky destroy collapse courageous
scandal congested dangerous emphasis
seizure analysis desserts
situation distinguish
symphony emphasis

3. In all of these words [s] is spelled \underline{<s>}. The sound [s] is spelled this way about 75\% of the time.

4. The <\mathrm{s}> spelling of [s] often occurs in consonant clusters - that is, with one or more consonants before or after it. Nineteen of the words above contain [s] spelled <\mathrm{s}> in a consonant cluster. List the words in the blanks below and underline the cluster that contains the <\mathrm{s}> that spells [s] in it:

& as\underline{ph}alt && di\underline{sp}atch && demon\underline{str}ate && mathemat\underline{ics} && conge\underline{st}ed \\& impu\underline{ls}e && in\underline{str}uction && \underline{sch}edule && imme\underline{ns}e && di\underline{st}inguish \\& \underline{st}atus && immigra\underline{nts} && \underline{squ}eezed && \underline{sc}andal \\ & adu\underline{lts} && colla\underline{ps}e && \underline{sm}oky && de\underline{str}oy

5. We often use a silent final <e> to insulate a single <\mathrm{s}> so that it does not come at the end of a base and look like an -s suffix - as in words like lapse and tense (compare the plurals laps and tens). Very few free bases end in [s] spelled with a single <\mathrm{s}>. The only common ones are this, bus, us, gas, canvas, chaos, sis, plus, yes.

Usually when the <\mathrm{s}> spelling of [s] comes at the very end of a word without the insulating final <e>, it is either the -s suffix - as in verbs like obstructs or plural nouns like contracts- or it is part of a suffix like -ous, -us, or -ics- as in words like courageous, radius, and mathematics. Analyze the following words into stem plus suffix:

Word = Stem + Suffix
instructs = instruct + s
courageous = courage + ous
mathematics = mathematic + s
status = stat\cancel{e} + us
scandalous = scandal + ous
adults = adult + s
immigrants = immigrant + s
dangerous = danger + ous
chorus = chor + us
radius = radi + us

Teaching Notes.

Item 1. In schedule and scandal [s] is spelled <\mathrm{s}> and not <sc> because in scandal the <c> is spelling [k], as is the <ch> in schedule.

The use of silent final <e> to insulate <\mathrm{s}> is introduced in Lessons 17 and 18 of Book 4. For more on the spelling of [s], see AES, pp. 397-406.

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Feb 23, 2012

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Feb 23, 2012
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CK.ENG.ENG.TE.1.Basic-Speller.15.1

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