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Hello,
In the word "pals", is the "s" pronounced as "s" or as "z"?
Also what is the rule for pronouncing the "s" that comes in all othe plural nouns? For example:
hawks
pencils
phones
friends
enemies
rats
papers
spoons

I wonder if it's a regional thing. In other words, do different countries pronounce it differently?

P.S. Is this the right section to post this question to?
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You're in the right place!
It's not a regional thing. The pronunciation of the pluralizing "s" is standard throughout the English-speaking world. The sound of the "s", as you point out, can be a true "s" sound or a "z" sound. And the only thing you need to know is which sound comes immediately before that final "s".

If the sound of "p", "t", "k", "f", or "th" (as in "thin") is the last sound before the written "s", then pronounce it as a true "s". Otherwise (and this is most of the time), pronounce the "s" as a "z".

In your list, for example, the words which have p, t, k, f, or th sounds just before the final "s" are hawks and rats, so pronounce final "s" in those words as a true "s" sound. In all the others, the final "s" is pronounced "z".

Remember: What's important is the sound that comes before the final "s", not the spelling. For example, in laugh, the final sound is the "f" sound, even though it is spelled "gh". So pronounce the final "s" of laughs as a true "s".

Note: The "s" that forms the third person singular of a present tense verb follows the same rule.
Note: The "s" that forms the possessive follows the same rule.
Note: In words like witches, the "es" is pronounced "iz", so the "i" sound is the last sound before the final "s". The use of the "z" sound for the final "s" is therefore correct according to the rule stated above.

Note: A final "s" which does not form a plural, present tense verb form, or possessive does not necessarily follow this rule: analysis, for example, is a singular form. Both "s"s are true "s" sounds.

CJ
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AnonymousHi, I also have the same problem. I am not sure which sounds -s and -z on words:

opens
rides
believes
goes

thanks,
Gj

Opens - Z
rides - Z
believes - Z
goes - Z

All Z sounds, because they all end with a voiced consonant, and "goes" ends with a vowel sound. Emotion: smile
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
Comments  
Hi, I also have the same problem. I am not sure which sounds -s and -z on words:

opens
rides
believes
goes

thanks,
Gj
 Kooyeen's reply was promoted to an answer.
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