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S and Z: 35 Common Words Where S Needs to Sound Like Z

The Letter S can be confusing. Sometimes it sounds like /s/, sometimes it sounds like /z/. It’s hard to know when to use which sound and the truth is, sometimes it matters WAY more than others. In this lesson you’ll learn 35 common words where your S definitely needs to sound like a Z.

Key Takeaways:

1) When the S in the middle of a word is pronounced as /z/ it is very noticeable when you pronounce it as /s/.

2) The only way to know when the letter S is pronounced as /z/ is to memorize common words.

Practice words and sentences used in this lesson:

1) Business

Business is booming!

Mind your own business.

2) President

She’s running for president.

The president will address the nation this evening.

3) Result

The results were unexpected.

As a result, we had to change direction.

4) Reason

There’s no reason for this.

Did she have a good reason?

5) Music

Turn up the music.

What’s your favorite type of music?

6) Season

We’re rolling into our busiest season.

My favorite season is fall.

7) Position

We’ve already filled the position.

What’s your position on this?

8) Easy

That was easy.

He’s so easy to get along with.

9) Husband

Have you met her husband?

He’s an amazing husband and father.

10) Thousand

There’s a thousand reasons your shouldn’t do this.

It’s a thousand dollars?

11) Noisy

It’s too noisy in here.

We have really noisy neighbors.

12)  Surprising

That’s surprising!

He’s a surprisingly good dancer.

13) Represent

Each color represents a different result.

He’s represented by the biggest firm in the city.

14) Disease 

It’s a disease.

The disease advances quickly.

15) Physical

You’re not getting enough physical activity.

Did you make an appointment for your physical?

16) present (n)

I got you a present.

Try to be fully present in the moment.

17) present (v)

When do you present?

I get so nervous before presenting!

18) Design

This design in fabulous.

She’s our most talented designer.

19) Visit

You’ll have to come visit.

We visited for about an hour.

20) Positive

We got some really positive feedback.

The results are positive.

21) Busy

Are you busy?

It was a super busy day.

22) Resident

Are you a city resident?

It’s a residential property.

23) Deserve

You don’t deserve this.

He deserves a raise!

24) Prison

You could go to prison.

The house felt like a prison.

25) Observe

I’m just here to observe.

I’ve never observed that.

26) Deposit

I need to make a deposit.

It’ll be deposited directly into your account.

27) Reservation

Did you make a reservation?

We have reservations at seven.

28) Desire

I have no desire to try that.

This is far from the desired result.

29) Proposal

Have you reviewed the proposal?

The proposal’s due by Friday.

30) Dessert

What’s for dessert?

I’ll bring a dessert.


Don’t desert the project now.

You just deserted us.

31) Resist

It’s hard to resist that desert.

He’s pretty resistant to change.

32) Thursday

Thursday could work.

Thursday was really busy.

33) Transition

It was an easy transition.

We’ll help you through the transition.

34) Resolve

We weren’t able to resolve the issue.

I admire your resolve.

I admire your resolve to resist that dessert.  

35) Disaster

That was a disaster.

It’s been declared a natural disaster.

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