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How do we pronounce "s" at the end of the word when the next word also starts with "s"? For example,

She has some apples: Do we need to add "s" after has and before some like "she has s some apples"?

He is single: Do we need to add "s" after is and before single like "he is s single"?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Has and is are pronounced with a terminal /z/ when they stand alone. In your example sentences, the /z/ disappears and there is only one /s/ sound joining both words.

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2  
I think if the preceding word ends with /s/ rather than /z/, we do actually "hold" the /s/ for longer than we would if there was only one (i.e. - if you replaced the first word with one identical except for not having that /s/ at the end). We know it would be really difficult to actually end the first /s/ and start another one, so we just "smear it out" a bit longer if we're speaking carefully but not exaggeratedly. –  FumbleFingers Dec 23 '11 at 3:49
    
This is another fast speech phenomenon. Technically, for instance, the fraction 5/6 -- five-sixths -- should be pronounced /fayv sɪksθs/, but one rarely ever hears or says it. What people mostly say instead of [fayvsɪksθs] is in fact [fayvsɪks:], with a geminate [s:] that is distinctively longer than the final /s/ in the numeral sequence "5, 6" /fayv sɪks/. –  John Lawler Dec 23 '11 at 3:59
    
I find that the /s/ at the beginning of the following word to disappear, and the /z/ ending the first word is extended to take both parts. –  WesT Dec 23 '11 at 5:47
    
As a side note, in English, vowels before voiced consonants (like /z/) tend to be longer than voiceless consonants (like /s/), and even if a voiced consonant is assimilated into a following voiceless one, there is still some vowel lengthening to cue to the presence of the voiced consonant. That is, while the /z/ in "buzz stop" might get merged to make the sounds seem the same as "bus stop", there will be some lengthening in the vowel in "buzz" to cue to the presence of a voiced consonant there. –  nohat Jan 31 '12 at 7:49

There is no change in pronunciation when the next word starts with an "s". There is no additional "s" sound". For your two examples, just say:

She has some apples. He is single.

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There is no need for an unnecessary s. Some people tend to hold the s on the first word into the last:

He issingle.

Not said quickly, the s is simply held. Others will enunciate clearly, making sure to pause in between the two words for clarity. Personally, I think it is better to enunciate clearly, as you will be better understood by those not familiar with English.

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