How to Pronounce S & Z in American English

How to Pronounce S & Z in American English 

Im my accent reduction coaching program I frequently teach my clients importance of pronouncing /s/ & /z/ correctly.

Tongue position 

The /s/ and /z/ sounds are made with the same tongue position.

  • The tip of the tongue is behind your upper gum ridge.
  • The tongue is pointed & slightly curved up.


The /s/ is a voiceless sound. Your vocal chords shouldn’t vibrate strongly when you say /s/.

The /z/ is a voiced sound. Your vocal chords should vibrate strongly when you say  /z/.

The Letter S Often Sounds Like /z/

One important fact that most people don’t realize is that the letter S often has a /z/ sound!

Here are some common words where the letter S has a /z/ sound.

  • busy, because, easy, visit
  • these, cause, lose
  • plays, goes, does, girl’s

There are thousandz more!

Why Is It So Important to Use a /z/ Sound?

When you say an /s/ sound at the end of a word instead of a /z/ sound, Americanz won’t alwayz hear the sound clearly.

When they don’t hear the /z/ sound,  they’ll think that you don’t know how to use pluralz & verb tensez.

If you are a professional person, you really don’t want that to happen!!! ☹

Learn the Rules

To learn the rules for pronouncing the /s/ & /z/ sounds, and other American English sounds, check out the American English pronunciation books HERE.