Minimal Pair final /s/ and /z/

as in bus and buzz

Below is a list of words that vary only by one ending with the sound /s/ and the other ending with the sound /z/.

You can use this to practise the sounds or as a list of words to be careful to pronounce properly.

These two sounds are made with the same mouth position, but /s/ is pronounced without your voice and with more air released, similar to /ʃ/ but with a wider mouth.


bus buzz
case Ks
ice eyes
once ones
pence pens
place plays
price prize


close (adj) close (v)
else Ls
false falls
hiss his
piece peas
purse purrs
race rays
rice rise


advice (n) advise (v)
base bays
basis bases
brass bras
dice dies
force fours
juice Jews
lice lies
peace Ps
race raise
spice spies


ace As
course cores
curse curs
fleece fleas
fuss fuzz
grace greys
horse whores
house (n) house (v)
lace lays
lace laze
loose lose
mace maize
pace pays
price pries
rice ryes
sauce saws
source sores
trice tries
worse whirrs


brace brays
dose does (n = female deer)
fess fez
gorse gores
gross grows
hearse hers
hoarse whores
lease lees
mace maze
pass pars
plaice plays
sluice slews
space spays
vice vies

Written for EnglishClub by Alex Case