So I can pronounce friend just fine. But when you add an s to it how do you transition from the d sound to the s (/z/) sound? Do you just ignore the d altogether?


6 Answers 6


You may pronounce it with a stopped /d/ or without it—/frɛndz/ or frɛnz/—in practice, nobody will notice.

  • 20
    I will notice. Perhaps Americans won't. Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 9:26
  • @MichaelKay you may notice, but both ways are equally correct. so it doesn't matter.
    – user428517
    Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 22:43
  • 9
    @MichaelKay Perhaps I'm wrong. But Eastpond speakers don't seem to care: I've just listened to speeches by Cameron, Corbyn and the Queen, and all three waffle back and forth between including and omitting /d/ in friends, thousands, funds. Commented Nov 3, 2015 at 0:04
  • @StoneyB maybe you can't hear it well because you are not used to using it. But to a British native leaving out the d sounds very distinctly wrong and I can assure you that the three mentioned above are not leaving them out in speeches.
    – JamesRyan
    Commented Nov 3, 2015 at 15:40
  • 2
    @JamesRyan I am quite used to using it: I was an actor for 30 years, trained to employ a rather old-fashioned mode of "diction" when it was required. I can assure you that those three vary between /nz/ and /ndz/ with stress and speed. Commented Nov 3, 2015 at 19:46

Not much of a transition needed. Compare with the word cards, it does not become cars.

If your native language does not have that 'ds' sound/transition, I can understand that it might be hard for you to pronounce it. In that case you can get away with frɛnz just make sure you get that z-sound. You could maybe get away with frɛntz if you say it fast but that might sound a bit Germanish.


The ds at the end becomes a z sounds, like zoo

  • 25
    I disagree - I am quite particular about pronoindcing the 'd' in 'dz' - no need to drop it, in practice (for the listener, SotneyB is probably correct that few people would notice, however, an analogy on this is that no-one will notice the bassline in a song. Most people won't, but to the trained ear, it is quite prominent. I therefore don't advocate teaching "lazy English" to people who are learning English as a second language.
    – martin
    Commented Nov 1, 2015 at 19:40
  • 1
    So, you want the d? It's inaudible, unless you can prove otherwise, there's nothing lazy about it.
    – jgritty
    Commented Nov 1, 2015 at 19:44
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    I can hear a difference between /frɛnds/ and /frɛnz/ but /frɛndz/ is the same as the latter. You can't get from the n to z without making a d sound. Think of endzone vs enzyme, the nz vs ndz is about as identical as sounds can get, unless you try to unnaturally stretch end-zone into 2 words. I am pretty particular about pronoindciation as well, but this is pedantic.
    – jgritty
    Commented Nov 1, 2015 at 19:57
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    My tongue is in a completely different place in my mouth when I pronouce friends in comparison to when I probnouce enzyme - perhaps it is because I am British (pedantic, as you say - hence no downvote!) ;)
    – martin
    Commented Nov 1, 2015 at 20:06
  • 1
    In InE, we definitely pronounce both together -'dz'.
    – Maulik V
    Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 11:39

It is pronounced with the affricate [d͡z]. A good way of thinking of it is as the "j" sound /d͡ʒ/ but with your tongue at the location of /d/, either touching the back of your teeth or closely behind them. Also, make sure to only touch the roof of your mouth with the tip of your tongue.


In friends, most if not all native English speakers definitely have a /d/ sound. It's just that the /d/ is unreleased ([d̚]), so it's barely perceptible. Unreleased means that the airflow blocked for the /d/ at the alveolar ridge remains there and is not released like a normal /d/. So you hear frenz.


This is very accent specific and there's no real "wrong" way within the following

  • z - the D is softened to the point that the ds becomes a Z sound
  • Dz - the D is slightly softened, but the D is still pronounced. The S becomes a Z sound
  • Dss/tss - the S becomes almost a hiss, with the D remaining fairly sharp and the D almost resembling a T
  • ss - as above, the s becomes a hiss but the D is softened or almost entirely dropped

My own accent (one of the many North-Western English accents) mostly uses the latter two

  • There IS a right way and a wrong way. If you learn the right way and know you are being lazy when you leave the d out then, if someone doesn't understand, you have the option to say it properly so that it is clearer.
    – JamesRyan
    Commented Nov 3, 2015 at 15:37
  • 2
    No. There is no official way to pronounce any English word. English is an evolved language. You're English, you know as well as I do that no two towns in the UK pronounce a word exactly the same way... If English is pronounced well enough to be understood, it's English.
    – Jon Story
    Commented Nov 3, 2015 at 16:38
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    A telephone voice doesn't have less of an accent, it has more of one: received pronunciation is an accent. Dropped letters are accent, not laziness.
    – Jon Story
    Commented Nov 3, 2015 at 17:10
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    An accent is not laziness, you have a very strange view of language and linguistics if you believe that. Language evolves over time, accents are one facet of that
    – Jon Story
    Commented Nov 3, 2015 at 17:49
  • 1
    @JamesRyan: The trouble with your assertion that "an accent is laziness" is that it presupposes that there must exist some form of speech which is accent-free. The problem is that no one can agree on which set of pronunciations is correct. I'm an American, and I speak with a General American accent (which most Americans would consider accent-free). Yet you would undoubtedly consider me to have an accent. And vice versa. Unless all regions of the English-speaking world can agree on a single accent (which will never happen), it is impossible to speak without an accent. Commented Jul 8, 2016 at 4:22

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