English Daily Workout: Pronunciation of ES Ending in Verbs

Pronunciation of ES Ending in Verbs

3. Pronunciation of the es ending


A syllable is a unit of pronunciation, usually consisting of a vowel sound which may or may not be accompanied by consonants.

When a verb ends in a sibilant sound such as ch, s, sh, x or z, the es ending of the third person singular is pronounced as a separate syllable. The reason for this is that these sounds are so similar to the sound of the es ending, that the ending must be pronounced as a separate syllable in order to be heard clearly.

In each of the following examples the bare infinitive consists of one syllable, whereas the form of the verb used in the third person singular consists of two syllables.

Bare Infinitive                         
Third Person Singular
  pass                                                                               passes
  push  pushes
  catch  catches
  mix  mixes

Similarly, when s is added to verbs ending in ce, ge, se or ze, the final es is usually pronounced as a separate syllable. In each of the following examples the bare infinitive consists of one syllable, whereas the form of the verb used in the third person singular consists
of two syllables.

Bare InfinitiveThird Person Singular
  race                                                                                              races
  rage  rages
  praise  praises
  doze  dozes

However, when s is added to a verb ending in e preceded by a letter
other than c, g, s or z, the final es is not pronounced as a separate syllable. In each of the following examples, both the bare infinitive and the form of the verb used in the third person singular consist of one syllable.

Bare Infinitive                           
Third Person Singular
  make                                                                   makes
  smile  smiles
  dine  dines
  save  saves


For each of the following verbs, underline the letter or letters representing the sound preceding the es ending, and then indicate the number of syllables in the verb. For example:
      wishes __
      wishes 2

      laces __
      laces 2

      takes __
      takes 1

1. watches __
2. teases __
3. likes __
4. rushes __
5. faces __
6. dines __
7. misses __
8. tames __
9. scares __
10. passes __
11. pinches __
12. wades __

Answers
1. watches 2
2. teases 2
3. likes 1
4. rushes 2
5. faces 2
6. dines 1
7. misses 2
8. tames 1
9. scares 1
10. passes 2
11. pinches 2
12. wades 1


Here are some video lessons on the topic. Even though they deal with the pronunciation of  final 's'and 'es' in nouns, the lessons apply to verbs as well.









Here's an interesting article about the  topic:


We all know the rule that words ending in ch, s, sh, ss, x and z are made plural by adding "es". But why?
Dave Null, Claremont, CA USA
This is a matter of pronunciation that is required for us to distinguish between nouns in the singular or plural. Take the word "Kiss" /kis/. When it is made plural we add 'es' (Kisses) The '-es' is usually pronounced /iz/ and it is pronounced /kisiz/ Try pronouncing "kiss" and then pronounce its plural "kisses" BUT pronouncing the 'es' as /s/, as with other plurals. You just end up with /kisssss/. That would be impossible to distinguish in fluent speech! Similar indistinctions happen with words like "box", "church", "brush" and "fuzz". 

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