-s (phonetic)

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The regular 3rd person singular inflection of the present tense in current English is '-s', with some spellings '-es'. The same pattern applies to the standard plural form of nouns.

The written inflection '-s' (or '-es') represents different sounds:

  • the voiced '-z' (IPA: /z/) after other voiced consonants ('-b-', as in robs; '-d-', as in pads; and '-g-', as in dogs; etc) and after vowels, as in radios and such vowel sounds as plays, toys and cries;
  • the unvoiced '-s' (IPA: /s/) after unvoiced consonants ('-p-', such as stops; '-t-', as in flats; '-k-', as in speaks; etc);
  • the syllable '-iz' (/ɪz/) after sibilants, as in the disyllables kisses (/'kɪs ɪz/) and boozes (/'buːz ɪz/).

You may also want to see -ed (phonetic), for a similar pattern.