I think for a pronunciation symbol, cars is /kɑːrz/ and says is /seɪz/.

But whenever I listen these words I feel like there are a little “d” sound, Cars /kɑːrdz/ and Says/seɪdz/.

For me, cars sound like cards and says sounds like saids.

Am I wrong?

  • 1
    Minimal pair: wards /wɔrdz/ and wars /wɔrz/
    – user230
    Nov 20 '13 at 18:42
  • Thanks snailboat. Oh!Minimal pair, it's so interesting to learn.
    – nkm
    Nov 21 '13 at 2:24

Sorry, but the pronunciation you used in your first sentence is the correct one.

cars is like "carz" and says is like "sez". No D sounds.


There is no "d" consonant in these words. If a "d" sound is inserted into "cars" it becomes "cards". If someone is referring to a plurality of automobiles, and you're distinctly hearing "cards", that person is making a mistake or has some kind of speech impairment.

Your pronunciation notation appears questionable. Let's look at "cars". It depends on dialect. If you're in Britain, it is /kɑːz/. In the predominant dialect spoken in North America, /ka:rz/.

/seɪz/ is incorrect; that notation follows the pronunciation pattern of "days" /deɪz/. Unlike in "days", in the written form of "says", the letters "ay" do not denote a dipthong; the pronunication is just /sez/.

"Say" is /seɪ/, of course, but the third person inflection is not formed simply by adding /z/.

The "says" part of "essays" is pronounced /seɪz/, but that is not related to "say".

I can hardly think of any other place in the spelling of the language where "ays" goes to /ez/. Other than in "says", it "ay" corresponds to /eɪ/ except in certain words like "papaya" and "picayune" which are of a completely different formation. Let's not forget the troublesome "quay" which sounds exactly like "key" (except to some North Americans). So, good news: "says" may be the only example of its kind that you have to memorize.

There is no word /seɪz/, and if we add a /d/ to make /seɪdz/, that is also not a word; however, there exist surnames Seyds and Seyd.


In British English (BrE) the pronunciation of car is /kɑː/
The plural form, cars, in AmE is pronounced: /kɑːrz/

You can hear a British person pronouncing the word cars in a series of other words ending with the letters ars here and by a different speaker, here.

The verb say is always pronounced /seɪ/ the third person singular form, says, is usually pronounced as /sez/.

Click on the links to hear how these words are pronounced.

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