These are both voiceless fricative consonants pronounced near the alveolar ridge. However, /ʃ/ is an alveo-palatal fricative and /s/ is an alveolar fricative. When you pronounce /s/, your tongue is slightly farther forward than when you pronounce /ʃ/.
You can hear the difference between /ʃ/ and /s/ in these words.
1. A. shine, B. sign 2. A. shame, B. same 3. A. plush, B. plus 4. A. cashed, B. cast 5. A. meshing, B. messing 6. A. furnishes, B. furnaces
These are both voiceless alveo-palatal consonants. However, /tʃ/ is an affricate while /ʃ/ is a fricative. When you pronounce /tʃ/, the air in your mouth should stop (like a /t/) before it is released (like a /ʃ/).
You can hear the difference between /ʃ/ and /tʃ/ in these words.
1. A. sheep, B. cheap 2. A. share, B. chair 3. A. bash, B. batch 4. A. Porsches, B. porches 5. A. washed, B. watched 6. A. dishes, B. ditches
Now, practice /ʃ/ in sentences. Say the words first, then the sentences.
1. technicians – rushed - machine The technicians rushed to repair the machine. 2. she – groceries* – cash She paid for the groceries with cash. 3. essential – share – information It’s essential that we share this information with the public 4. invitation – mention – location The invitation didn’t mention the location of the party. 5. chef – selection – dishes The chef prepared a selection of dishes for us to try. 6. wash – shampoo – conditioner I always wash my hair with shampoo and conditioner
(*In some varieties of American English, "groceries" may be pronounced with /s/.)
To practice with different varieties of English, choose another native English speaker by clicking one of the links below: