Common Words Ending With /z/

Common Words Ending With /z/

Common Words Ending With /z/

Common Words Ending With /z/

In spoken American English many words end with a /z/ sound. 

The letter at the end of the word may be S, but the sound of the letter is often /z/.

Say these common words ending with a /z/ sound.

  1. these
  2. those
  3. is 
  4. was 
  5. says
  6. does

Listen here.


There are many more!

Why is this important?

One key reason that using a /z/ sound is important is because vowels that occur before the voiced /z/ sound are nice and long.

And if you know anything about clear spoken American English, you understand how we love to hear long, clear vowel sounds.

Chinese, Japanese, Spanish and Arabic speakers often fail to use the /z/ sound correctly.

How to make small talk

How to make small talk

How to make small talk

How to make small talk

A very  important communication skill that I work on with my accent reduction coaching clients is how to make small talk.
Small talk with strangers….this can be awkward.
Tip #1 ask questions
I suggest that you ask them open ended questions.
These are often WH type questions such as:
  1. Where did your grow up? I’ve never been there….could you tell me more about it?
  2. Where did you go to school? Why did you choose _________? What did you like about it?
  3. Have you always lived here is __________? Where else have you lived?
  4. What restaurants can you recommend in ______________?
  5. What’s your current favorite game/sport/hobby?

Tip #2 listen attentively 
Once you get them talking, and most people LOVE to talk about themselves, you should:

  • Try to listen attentively
  • Agree with or comment on what they said
  • Relate a similar experience that you’ve had

Let’em talk!

In other words, use questions that encourage others to talk and then add your 2 cents.
Follow this link to read more about how to make small talk in American English.

How do you pronounce and?

How do you pronounce and?

Reduced speech

Reduced speech

This week I’ve had several great questions from my accent reduction coaching clients.

Here’s a great question from Alex~

Q: I hear the word and pronounced either with a strong /d/ sound or with a quick /d/ sound. Which is correct?

A: Actually we say the word and with a quick /n/ sound. Especially when and is in between two words.

  • bread ‘n butter
  • black ‘n white
  • night ‘n day
  • in ‘n out
  • Saturday ‘n Sunday
  • pizza ‘n salad

However, we’d pronounce and with a fuller articulation when requesting BOTH options.

  • I’d like bread AND butter.
  • Let’s go on Saturday AND Sunday.
  • I’ll take pizza AND salad.

Don’t stress every word!

Remember, in order to speak American English with the correct melody, you should absolutely NOT stress every word.

Lots of little words including: and, for, or & to should be reduced when you’re speaking.

Reductions in American English

Reductions are an important feature of natural sounding American English.

Follow this link to learn why you should use reductions when you speak.


Use focus word pitch for clarity

Use focus word pitch for clarity

Use focus word pitch for clarity

Use focus word pitch for clarity

One of the most useful American English communication tips I give my accent reduction coaching clients is this-

When a conversation breaks down ☹…. think about the most important word in your message.

This is called the focus word.

Use pitch emphasis

Repeat that focus word again.

But this time, be careful to emphasize that word using a slight rise in pitch.

Lengthen the vowel sound → a little bit.

Insert a pause

Then pause briefly. This will give your listener time to “get it”.

Here’s an example:

I’ll meet with the ma→nager⤼ on Tue→sday.

Listen here

To say this sentence clearly:

  • stress the word manager
  • pause briefly
  • then stress the word Tuesday

Don’t give the same emphasis to every word.

There is an excellent chance that using this pitch emphasis strategy will clear up the misunderstanding.

 Learn the rules for clear American speech

I teach you the rules for using focus words and pitch emphasis in my iPad book for the American accent.

American Accent Fundamentals - Susan M. Ryan

Click the button above to download the first chapter for free at the iBookstore.

Do you drop your word endings?

Highly Educated

Do you drop word endings?

Do you drop word endings?

Everyone who I work with in my accent reduction coaching program is highly educated.

They have an excellent command of vocabulary (although they avoid saying some words due to concerns about pronunciation).

Most of my clients have advanced degrees such as an MD, MS, MBA or PhD.

Grammatical errors

However, many of these professionals drop the sounds at the ends of words when they speak English.

Dropping sounds that occur at the end of words will create grammatical errors.

You don’t want that to happen!

The following list are sounds that many non native speakers fail to articulate clearly at the end of words:

  • /s/
  • /z/
  • /d/
  • /ed/
  • /ŋ/

Stop and think for a moment….Does this ever happen to you?

Why word final sounds are critical

If you drop these sounds at the ends of words…. two things happen in the ears of the American listener.

  1. Dropping the sound contributes to your foreign accent
  2. Dropping the sound creates a grammatical error

Let me explain…..

You need /s/ & /z/ for plurals & verb tenses

If you drop the /s/ or /z/ sound at the end of a word, your plurals will sound incorrect.

Many of your verb tenses will sound incorrect.

This will make your English sound foreign & ungrammatical.

You need /d/, /t/ & /ed/ for the past tense

If you drop the /d/, /t/ or /ed/ sound at the end of a past tense verb, your English will sound incorrect.

This will make your English sound foreign & ungrammatical.

 Too Folksy

If you drop the /ŋ/ sound at the end of a word, your English may sound too “folksy” or casual.

This may be OK in some situations….but not in formal settings.

Chinese, Japanese, Spanish & Brazilian Speakers

In my experience Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, Brazilian and even some Indian English speakers have a habit of dropping word final sounds when they speak.

 Sounding Professional

If you are in a high status career, or on your way to a high status career….you really don’t want to make these kinds of errors when you speak!

You want your grammar & your “accent” to sound as correct and natural as possible.

Accent Reduction Classes

Pronouncing word endings clearly & correctly is just one technique that you’ll learn in my Unlock Your American Accent Online Course.

Check out what I’ll teach you in this convenient and very affordable online course.

You’ll learn how to correct accent related grammatical error and much, much more!




How to pronounce chasm

How to pronounce chasm

Today I’ll explain how to pronounce chasm….and two other related words.

How to pronounce chasm

How to pronounce chasm

During my accent reduction coaching sessions this week, two of my clients mispronounced the word chasm.

Don’t use a /tch/ sound!

 My clients pronounced the word chasm with a /tch/ sound. When speaking American English, this is not correct.

The sound of the CH in the word chasm is /k/.

Just a plain old hard /k/ sound.

My Phonetic Transcription

Here’s how I respelled the word chasm so that my clients could say it correctly:

  • kazǝm

Listen here

Embarrassing Moments

My clients (all super intelligent professionals) were a bit embarrassed when they made this error.

But honestly…. we all make pronunciation bloopers like this once in a while

Spelling vs. Pronunciation

Given the way American English is spelled……vs. the way it’s pronounced….that’s inevitable.

But understanding patterns…. like when to pronounce CH with a /k/ sound can be learned.

And many embarrassing moments can be avoided.

Your American English Communication Skills

Have you considered improving your American English communication skills?

Maybe you’ve considered personal coaching for yourself.

Go ahead and check out the possibilities.

Most Effective Way to Reduce Your Accent

Most Effective Way to Reduce Your Accent

Most effective way to reduce your accent

Most effective way to reduce your accent

What’s the most effective way to reduce your accent?

What’s the most effective way for learning to speak clear and engaging American English?

Here’s some ideas

  1. Watch American English pronunciation videos on YouTube
  2. Use an American accent or pronunciation book
  3. Take an accent reduction class in your community
  4. Download an accent reduction app

All of these are good ways to learn.

But they probably won’t enable you to make the changes you desire.

Noticeable changes

What’s the best way to make noticeable changes to the way you speak?

What’s the best way to integrate and apply all the little lessons you’ve learned using YouTube, books, apps & classes?

Personal coaching

Over the years, I’ve come to realize that almost everyone who wants to make real, noticeable changes to the way they speak American English needs some personal coaching.

Why is personal coaching so important?

You can learn to say your vowel & consonant sounds correctly using the methods I listed above.

You may even be able to learn to use the correct syllable stress & intonation using the above methods.

But integrating the correct vowel & consonant sounds with the correct syllable stress, intonation and linking takes some serious work.

And this is the kind of work that most people need a coach to help them with.

Personal feedback

Most people need the personal feedback that only an experienced accent reduction coach can provide.

They need lessons that’ll help them integrate & apply all they’ve learned using YouTube, books, apps & classes.

They need to talk to someone about their communication challenges. Someone who will listen and help them speak real and relevant American English in day to day situations.

Customized & personal sessions

In their personalized sessions, most people make significant changes to the way they speak!

Here’s an email message that I recently received from a successful client:

Hi Susan,

I just had a great phone meeting with a support person and I loved every minute of our conversation.

It was a complex scenario to explain and he understood me very well

without me repeating it. And I was pausing after each important word.

Ahhha…. The joy of good communication.

How about you?

The above situation can happen for you too!

If you’re serious about investing some time and money (yes it’s a small investment) to really improve the way you speak American English, follow this link.

You’ll see how my accent reduction coaching program can help you achieve your communication goals.

Or, just keep reading more of the posts here on my ConfidentVoice blog.

If you’re just getting started, there’s a lot you can learn right here.



Do you know this pronunciation rule?

Do you know this pronunciation rule?

Do you know this pronunciation rule?

Do you know this pronunciation rule?

Here’s a pronunciation rule that most of the people who come to me for accent reduction coaching never learned.

It has to do with words that end with the suffix -ate-

Words ending with -ate-

Oftentimes words ending with -ate- are verbs

Sometimes words ending with -ate- are adjectives or nouns.

2 rules for correct pronunciation

  1. When a word is a verb -ate- has an /ey/ as in Gray sound.
  2. When a word is a noun/adjective -ate- has an /ı/ as in Silver sound.

Listen here


Verb                     Noun/adjective

graduate                  graduate

estimate                  estimate

separate                  separate

alternate                 alternate

There are many more!

Is correct pronunciation important to you?

If clear and correct American English pronunciation is important to you, check out my accent reduction coaching program.

You’ll learn pronunciation rules that you never knew about.

You’ll  learn to speak American English in a manner that sounds clear and professional!

American Accent for IT Professionals

American Accent Course for IT Professionals

American Accent for IT Professionals

American Accent for IT Professionals

Many IT professionals working in the United States are originally from Europe, India and China.

Perhaps you are one of these people.

If so, you may have found that despite your excellent technical skills, you aren’t able to communicate clearly with your clients and colleagues.

You know that your spoken English is difficult for others to understand. But you’re not sure what you can do about it.

Does this sound familiar?

Don’t worry….because I’ve designed a special course that can help IT professionals like you communicate clearly in American English!

My self study online course is called American Accent for IT Professionals.

You see, since 2008 I’ve taught MANY IT professionals how to speak more clearly in American English in my accent reduction coaching program.

And since 2008…. every time I coached someone who worked in IT, I kept a list of the words and phrases that were difficult for him or her to say.

That list of difficult IT words and phrases provided me with the content for my online course American Accent for IT Professionals.

Relevant content

Since I’ve gathered the material in this course from real situations, you’ll find that this course is concise and relevant.

That means that you’ll to be able to say the IT related words and phrases that you learn in the course immediately.

Here are 4 reasons how my American accent for IT Professionals course will help you improve the way you speak English.

  1. You’ll learn to pronounce words such as: ENterprise, INtegrate, SOFTware, SYStem, deVELopment & INterface.
  2. You’ll learn how to say these words in sentences so that Americans will understand you without asking you to repeat yourself.
  3. You’ll learn to pronounce numbers so that Americans understand you every time.
  4. You’ll learn to pronounce phrasal verbs frequently used in IT such as logIN, sigNOUt & DOWNload the way Americans say them.

Available on Udemy

If you are an IT professional who wants to improve your American English communication skills, check out the details of my online course, American Accent Course for IT Professionals.

This focused, concise and very affordable course is guaranteed to help you speak American English more clearly in your workplace!

Here’s what some of my clients have said about the course:

“Thanks Susan, now I’ve learned to say IT words that I use everyday the right way. You make things easy to understand.”, K.G., Madison, WI

“I can’t believe I was saying so many things the wrong way. Now I know the rules and I try to apply them”. S.P. Milwaukee, Wisconsin

“I feel much more confident now that I know how to say my words correctly”., P.P., Bellevue, Washington

Get started communicating more clearly today with this super affordable course! It’s ON SALE NOW when you use this code~




The sale ends on March 10, 2015.