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5.11: Hearing -s and -es in Verbs

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Hearing -s and -es in Verbs

1. The suffixes -s and -es are pronounced different ways. These four verbs contain the suffixes -s or -es. Analyze each verb into its free stem and suffix:

Verb = Free Stem + Suffix
weighs = weigh + s
knocks = knock + s
flashes = flash + es
cries = cr\cancel{y} + i + es

2. Say the four verbs very carefully: weighs, knocks, flashes, cries :

In weighs -s is pronounced [z].

In knocks -s is pronounced [s].

In flashes -es is pronounced [iz].

In cries -es is pronounced [z].

But although -s is sometimes pronounced [z] and sometimes [s], it is always spelled <\mathrm{s}>. And although -es is sometimes pronounced [iz] and sometimes [z], it is always spelled <es>.

3. Say each of the following verbs. In the column to the right of each one write out the pronunciation of the -s or -es suffix:

Verb Suffix Verb Suffix Verb Suffix
gives [z] grows [z] finishes [iz]
trips [s] lets [s] holds [z]
fixes [iz] fizzes [iz] waits [s]
strikes [s] says [z] matches [iz]
buttons [z] flashes [iz] remixes [iz]
digests [s] hurries [z] seems [z]
presses [iz] talks [s] shapes [s]
weighs [z] attaches [iz] obeys [z]
unlocks [s] taxes [iz] dresses [iz]
fastens [z] coughs [s] sniffs [s]

4. Combine the following elements into longer words. Show any twinning, final <e> deletion, and changes of <y> to <\mathrm{i}>:

Element = Words
match + ed = matched
un + hurr\cancel{y} + i + ed = unhurried
tax + es = taxes
cough + ing = coughing
obey + ing = obeying
un + bar + r + ed = unbarred
re + weigh + ed = reweighed
un + color + ed = uncolored
re + shap\cancel{e} + ing = reshaping
re + finish + er + s = refinishers
button + s = buttons
compan\cancel{y} + i + es = companies

5. Write down some verbs from this lesson in which the suffixes -s and -es have their different pronunciations:

Suffixes Verbs
-s = [s] in Answers will vary
-s = [z] in
-es = [iz] in
-es = [z] in

Teaching Notes.

The different pronunciations of the verb suffixes -s and -es are due to the same pressures that produce the identical pronunciations for the noun plural suffixes -s and -es, which are discussed in the Teaching Notes for Book 2, Lesson 26. Involved here is the same distinction between unvoiced [s] and voiced [z], which is discussed in the Teaching Notes for Book 2, Lesson 6. For more on some other effects of voicing on spelling, see the Teaching Notes for Book 1, Lesson 14 and Book 2, Lesson 12.

The students will continue to study these different pronunciations in the next two lessons.

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Date Created:

Feb 23, 2012

Last Modified:

Jan 26, 2015
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