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2.14: The Consonant Sound [z]

  • Page ID
    7063
  • Overview of the Consonant Sound [z]

    Three ways to spell [z] are <s>, <z>, and <zz>. 

    Three ways to spell [s] are <s>, <c>, and <ss>.

    The letter that sometimes spells [z] and sometimes spells [s] is <s>.

    Examples

    You can hear the sound [z] at the beginning and end of zebras.

    Review

    1. Underline the letters that spell [z] in each of these words. It is spelled three different ways:

      \begin{align*} &\text{always} && \text{mothers} && \text{zipper} && \text{has}\\ &\text{these} && \text{music} && \text{follows} && \text{zoo}\\ &\text{those} &&\text{prize} && \text{surprise} && \text{buzz}\end{align*}

    2. Use the twelve words above to complete the following statements:
      Way #1: [z] is spelled ______ in eight of the words.
      Way #2: [z] is spelled ______ in three of the words.
      Way #3: [z] is spelled ______ in one of the words.
    3. Sort the words into these three groups:
      Words with [z] spelled ...
      Way #1: Way #2:
      always music prize
      these follows zipper
      those surprise zoo
      mother has  
    4. The word with [z] spelled Way #3 is _______.
    Show Answer
    1. \begin{align*}& alway\underline{s} && mother\underline{s} && \underline{z}ipper && ha\underline{s} \\& the\underline{s}e && mu\underline{s}ic && follow\underline{s} && \underline{z}oo \\& tho\underline{s}e && pri\underline{z}e && surpri\underline{s}e && bu\underline{zz}\end{align*}
    2. Way #1: [z] is spelled <s> in eight of the words.
      Way #2: [z] is spelled <z> in three of the words.
      Way #3: [z] is spelled <zz> in one of the words.
    3. Words with [z] spelled ...
      Way #1: Way #2:
      always music prize
      these follows zipper
      those surprise zoo
      mother has  
    4. The word with [z] spelled Way #3 is buzz.

    Explore More

    Each of the strings of letters below can be unscrambled to spell a word containing the sound [s] or [z]. We've told you in each case whether the word contains [s] or [z]: 

    \begin{align*} &\text{wasaly} && \text{_______} && \text{[z]}\\ &\text{heets} && \text{_______} && \text{[z]}\\ &\text{swollof} && \text{_______} && \text{[z]}\\ &\text{ziper} && \text{_______} && \text{[z]}\\ &\text{dakes} && \text{_______} && \text{[s]}\\ &\text{cone} && \text{_______} && \text{[s]}\\ &\text{locdest} && \text{_______} && \text{[s]}\\ &\text{glines} && \text{_______} && \text{[s]}\\ &\text{shoet} && \text{_______} && \text{[z]}\\ \end{align*}

    Show Answer

    \begin{align*} &\text{wasaly} && \underline{always} && \text{[z]}\\ &\text{heets} && \underline{these} && \text{[z]}\\ &\text{swollof} && \underline{follows} && \text{[z]}\\ &\text{ziper} && \underline{prize} && \text{[z]}\\ &\text{dakes} && \underline{asked} && \text{[s]}\\ &\text{cone} && \underline{once} && \text{[s]}\\ &\text{locdest} && \underline{coldest} && \text{[s]}\\ &\text{glines} && \underline{single} && \text{[s]}\\ &\text{shoet} && \underline{those} && \text{[z]}\\ \end{align*}

    Spelling [z]

    Most of the time [z] is spelled <s> or <z>. It is difficult to write any clear-cut rules for telling when [z] should be <s> and when it should be <z>. But here are three useful observations:

    1. The <s> spelling of [z] does not occur at the beginnings of words; the <z> spelling does.
    2. The <s> spelling is much more common than is the <z> spelling.
    3. The <s> spelling is most common in longer words that come from Latin because <z> was rarely used in Latin.

    Examples

    You can hear the sound [z] at the beginning and end of the word zebras.

    Review

    1. Underline the letters that spell [z] in the following words. Do not underline any silent final <e>s.
      \begin{align*} &\text{procedures} && \text{zealous} && \text{president} && \text{closet}\\ &\text{positive} && \text{criticize} && \text{gymnasium} && \text{observe}\\ &\text{quiz} &&\text{pajamas} && \text{lizard} && \text{wisdom}\\ &\text{dozen} &&\text{abuse (verb)} && \text{waitresses} && \text{presents}\\ &\text{divisible} &&\text{hesitate} && \text{residence} && \text{squeeze}\\ &\text{seized} &&\text{citizen} && \text{recognize} && \text{phase}\end{align*}
    2. Sort the words into these two groups.
      Words with [z] spelled <s>
             
             
             
             
       
      Words with [z] spelled <z>
           
           
           
    Show Answer
    1. \begin{align*}& procedure\underline{s} && \underline{z}ealous && pre\underline{s}ident && clo\underline{s}et \\& po\underline{s}itive && critici\underline{z}e && gymna\underline{s}ium && ob\underline{s}erve \\& qui\underline{z} && pajama\underline{s} && li\underline{z}ard && wi\underline{s}dom \\& do\underline{z}en && abu\underline{s}e (verb) && waitresse\underline{s} && pre\underline{s}ents \\& sei\underline{z}ed && citi\underline{z}en && recogni\underline{z}e && pha\underline{s}e\end{align*}
    2. Words with [z] spelled <s>
      procedures abuse (verb) waitresses wisdom
      positive hesitate residence presents
      divisible president closet phase
      pajamas gymnasium observe  
       
      Words with [z] spelled <z>
      quiz zealous lizard
      dozen criticize recognize
      seized citizen squeeze

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    The Homophones phase and faze

    Phase is most often used as noun that refers to a stage in a process or the various appearances that a person or thing may have, as in “He's in his rebellious phase.” It comes from the Greek word ϕα´σ∣ς, phasis, which meant “appearance.” Our word phase is closely related to words like phantomphenomenon, and emphasis, all of which come from that same Greek phasis and have the same <ph>, representing the Greek letter phi, ϕ.

    Faze is most often used as a verb that means “to disturb or upset someone,” as in “His insult didn't faze her one bit.” Faze comes from the Old English word fēsian, “to drive away.” It is not related to any other modern words, but there is at least a spelling connection with words like dazecraze, and amaze, all of which deal with disturbances to the mind of one kind or another.

    So remember fazecrazedaze, and amaze to help with the <aze> spelling in faze. And remember phasephantom, and phenomenon to help with the <ph> spelling in phase.

    [z] Spelled <zz> or <ss>

    There are several rare spellings of [z], including <ss> and <zz>.

    Examples

    The sound [z] is spelled <ss> only rarely, and the <ss> is always in the middle of the word like scissors.

    The <zz> spelling of [z] like in blizzard is also rather rare. It is sometimes due to twinning and sometimes due to the VCC pattern, and it occurs between short vowels and <le>.

    Review

    1. Underline the letters that spell [z] in the following words.
      \begin{align*} &\text{blizzard} && \text{whizzed} && \text{quizzing} && \text{grizzly}\\ &\text{sizzle} && \text{scissors} && \text{possess} && \text{brassiere}\\ &\text{dessert} &&\text{puzzles} && \text{dizzy} && \text{possession}\\ &\text{dissolve} &&\text{fezzes} && \text{dazzle} && \text{embezzle}\end{align*}
    2. Sort the words into these two groups.
      Words with [z] spelled...
      <zz> <ss>
             
             
             
             
             
    3. The words in which <zz> is due to twinning are: ________, ________, and ________.
    4. The words in which <zz> is between a short vowel and <le> are: ________, ________, ________, ________, and ________.
    5. The words in which <zz> is in a VCC pattern are: ________, and ________.
    6. The words in which <zz> is spelled <s> are: ________, ________, and ________.
    Show Answer
    1. \begin{align*}& bli\underline{zz}ard && whi\underline{zz}ed && qui\underline{zz}ing && gri\underline{zz}ly \\& si\underline{zz}le && sci\underline{ss}ors && po\underline{ss}ess && bra\underline{ss}iere \\& de\underline{ss}ert && pu\underline{zz}les && di\underline{zz}y && po\underline{ss}ession \\& di\underline{ss}olve && fe\underline{zz}es && da\underline{zz}le && embe\underline{zz}le\end{align*}
    2. Words with [z] spelled...
      <zz> <ss>
      blizzard quizzing dessert possess
      sizzle dizzy dissolve brassiere
      whizzed dazzle scissors possession
      puzzles grizzly    
      fezzes embezzle    
    3. The words in which <zz> is due to twinning are:
      \begin{align*}& whizzed && fezzess && quizzing\end{align*}
    4. The words in which <zz> is between a short vowel and <le> are:
      \begin{align*}& sizzle && dazzle && embezzle \\ & puzzles && grizzly\end{align*}
    5. The words in which <zz> is in a VCC pattern are:
      \begin{align*}blizzard && dizzy\end{align*}
    6. The words in which <zz> is spelled <s> are:
      \begin{align*}& scissors && puzzles && fezzes\end{align*}

    Explore More

    A few other rare spellings of [z] are as follows.

    In the Russian word czar, [z] is spelled <cz>. Another way of spelling this word is tsar, in which [z] is spelled <ts>.

    In the word asthma [z] is spelled <sth>.

    Finally, the letter <x> at the beginning of words normally spells [z], such as in these words:

    \begin{align*} &\text{xerography} && \text{xenon} && \text{xylophone} && \text{xenophobia}\end{align*}

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