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English Speaking: The Grammar is in the Pronunciation

English Speaking: The Grammar is in the Pronunciation


It is so simple.  It took a genius linguist and priest to point out the obvious.  He said: “Now I understand.  I want better grammar.  You want me to get perfect pronunciation because the grammar is in the pronunciation!”

“Exactly!” I told him.

Part one of understanding this critical point.

Grammar “s”:  We place an “s” at the end of words

  • For plurals, “One cat. Three cats. “
  • For subject and verb agreement, “I sing. She sings.”
  • For possessive, “The car belongs to Russ.  Russ’s car.”

Grammar “ed”: We place an “ed” at the end of regular verbs to make past tense

  • Today, I watch a soccer game.  Yesterday, I watched a soccer game.
  • Today, I greet the guests.  Yesterday, I greeted the guests.

The issue is simple.  In order to have accurate grammar in your speech, you need to say the grammar “s” very clearly.  Do you want accurate plural grammar, subject and verb agreement grammar, and possessive grammar?  Then say the grammar “s” clearly and accurately.  Oh yes, there are pronunciation rules for the grammar “s.”

Do you want accurate past tense for verbs?  That’s so important, because when something happens is critical to our understanding of events.  To get accurate past tense for most of American English verbs, you need to get the pronunciation of the grammar “ed” correct.  Yes, yes.  Rules there, also.  

Rules you ask?

American English rules go like this:

For the Grammar “s,” if the root word….

  • Ends with a voiceless sound, the “s” is pronounced voiceless.
  • Ends with a voiced sound, the “s” is also voiced and sounds like a “z”.
  • Ends with s, z, sh, ch, or j, plural “s” is pronounced as “ez” or a short “e” and an “s” with a voice.

For the Grammar “ed,” always spell past tense with regular verbs with “ed,” but:

  • Pronounce as an “ed” for words ending in a “t” or a “d” sound
  • Pronounced as a “d” for all other words

More on “the grammar is in the pronunciation” next time.

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