When to add an -es to word rather than just an s

Add -ed when word ends in s, ss, sh, ch, x, z

When to add -es

What is the rule about when to add an “es” to the end of a word rather than just an “s”? It may be simple when we talk, if we are native English speakers, but when writing why does the “es” happen? The reason it happens is purely for sound.

The -es is added to words that end in s, ss, sh, x, ch, or z. All of these letter sounds have a similar /s/ sound when saying it’s sound making just adding an “s” awkward to say. Therefore, orally we added another syllable when added a plural or verb change so that it is easier to say.

misses

fishes

fixes

watches

fizzes

This is an important distinction for spelling. When reading, students seem to read the ‘es’ well, but get tripped up as to when to add the ‘es’ rather than just the ‘s’.  I hope these key words will help your student remember when ‘es’ is needed.