Pronouncing mais and other words ending in s

Is mais pronounced with a “z” sound or an “sh” sound at the end? I’m hearing both. What about other words ending in “s?” What rules, if any, do we follow in this circumstance?


Hope this helps. First you need to know the rule that when ‘s’ comes between two vowels it is pronounced like a ‘z’ such as in the word ‘mesa’.But the normal pronunciation at the end of a word is like ‘sh’. However, if the next word begins with a vowel the rule about ‘s’ between two vowels kicks in.

If you consider the expression ‘mais ou menos’ you will hear it pronounced as ‘my-zo-mensh’. The first ‘s’ at the end of ‘mais’ is now between two vowels so is pronounced as ‘z’. The second ‘s’ at the end of ‘menos’ stands alone and is not followed by a vowel so stays with its usual pronunciation of ‘sh’.

This of course is true of all words that end in ‘s’ but remembering to do it is quite another thing. It is something I am trying to focus on in my own speaking!!



I appreciate the detailed explanation! Muito obrigada.


1 Like

That’s perfect, @michael.pearce!

For reference, here’s a Learning Note that covers the rules of pronunciation of the letters S and C: The Letters S and C

1 Like