For example, if I have the word "carrot," I can create a new word by appending an "s," to make "carrots." However, it takes longer to say the word "carrots" than it does to say "carrot." Are there any words where you can add a letter (to make a new word), and saying the original word takes more time than saying the new word?

closed as too broad by TrevorD, tchrist Apr 12 at 16:59

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  • Does pronouncing "ts" really take longer than pronouncing "t"? I'd say not. There are languages in which the sound /ts/ is represented by a single letter (for instance צ). It's probably not possibly to compare the speed of two consonants. Maybe you could narrow your question so that you're only asking about syllables. Are there any words where you can add a letter and reduce the number of syllables? – Juhasz Apr 12 at 15:11
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    Carrots is still two syllables, so it's a bit of a stretch to claim that it takes longer to say. However, one example is ague (an old name for malaria, pronounced with two syllables), to which you can add letters to make plague (one syllable). – Kate Bunting Apr 12 at 15:13
  • @KateBunting Interesting example, but I wonder if "plague" was pronounced with two syllables when the word ague was in common use? – user323578 Apr 12 at 15:15
  • @Juhasz - If you can start saying the carrots but stop before you say the 's' then however small the difference is, it must be longer to say the 's' than not to say it. But I agree, a change in syllables is much stronger. – Jim Apr 12 at 15:25
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    I find your "original word" and "new word" to be confusing. Adding an "-s" suffix is not creating a new word, it's turning a singular noun into plural. So, if you're asking about suffixes then that's the term you should be using. – Mari-Lou A Apr 12 at 16:26

I'm going by syllables. I think that goes a long way in comparing the duration of typical pronunciations. I'm going for one-letter additions only. (There's quite a few more if you allow two or more extra letters.)

'Boa' has more syllables than 'boat'. Same for 'boa' and 'boar', 'goa' and 'goat' (thanks to user Chris H in the comments), 'goa' and 'goal', 'goa' and 'goad', 'naked' and 'snaked', 'ragged' and 'dragged', 'ague' and 'vague', 'ragged' and 'bragged', 'ave' and 'have', 'ave' and 'cave', 'ave' and 'gave', 'ave' and 'save', 'ave' and 'pave', 'ave' and 'fave', 'ave' and 'eave', 'ave' and 'wave', 'ave' and 'rave', 'ave' and 'nave', 'ave' and 'lave', 'ole' and 'sole', 'ole' and 'role', 'ole' and 'cole', 'ole' and 'mole', 'ole' and 'bole', 'ole' and 'jole', 'ole' and 'hole', 'ole' and 'pole', 'ole' and 'dole', 'ole' and 'vole', 'ole' and 'tole'.

As far as I know, 'boa'/'boat'/'boar' and 'goa'/'goat'/'goal'/'goad' are the only ones where you add the extra letter at the end to come up with a word with fewer syllables.

Somewhat disputable (depending on the preferred pronunciation or meaning of the first word): 'winged' and 'twinged', 'winged' and 'swinged', 'aged' and 'paged', 'aged' and 'raged', 'aged' and 'caged', 'aged' and 'waged', 'aged' and 'gaged'.

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    Goa and goat is the same pattern if proper nouns count, but they probably shouldn't or there could be some examples from the strange pronunciation of some English place names – Chris H Apr 12 at 16:28
  • @ChrisH 'Goa' is also a gazelle (not only a state in India). I'm adding a two of such combinations. Thanks! – We oath to creation Apr 12 at 16:30
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    I am absolutely sure that "themself" is a bonafide word, I even wrote a well-received answer to that effect english.stackexchange.com/questions/216617/… – Mari-Lou A Apr 12 at 17:10
  • @Mari-LouA Oops. I stand (very much) corrected! – We oath to creation Apr 12 at 17:13
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    Or a tongue twister along the lines of "if your goal is to get a goa's goat, goad the goa not a goat" – Chris H Apr 12 at 19:18

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