By learning English Vowel Rules, you will recognize when a vowel sound changes.
Long Vowels: VCV = vowel consonant vowel (ate)
Long Vowels: VVC =vowel vowel consonant (eat)
Short Vowels: CVC = consonant vowel consonant (cat)
LONG VOWELS in one-syllable words
1. Rule: VCV Vowel Consonant Vowel
When a one-syllable word has one consonant between two vowels, the first vowel is long and the second is silent ( VCV) )
The silent vowel at the end of the word is a signal that the first vowel is long.
Examples: ate, lake, cake, make, kite, bite, cute, flute, save, shave, shake, rake, whale, white, ripe, gripe, stripe, grape, tape, shave, gave, ice, wise,rice, brave, and so on.
[There are exceptions such as live, give, have, said, olive*]
2. Rule: VVC Vowel Vowel Consonant
Usually, when a word has two vowels together, the first is long and the second is silent. Remember this little saying: "When two vowels go walking, the first one does the talking."
Examples of words where the first vowel is long and the second is silent:
3. Rule: Letter "I" before an H or GH is long in one-syllable words.
oat, eat, meat, float, boat, coat, doe, meet, feel, reel, real, steel, steal, deal, jail, reap, heap, cheap, steep, sheep, keep, jail, blue, lie, tie
(Exceptions: said, does, )
Examples: sign, consignment, sigh, high, thigh, night, fight, fright, light,might,light, blight, sight, tight, alight,
However, when the word sign
changes to signature,
the "i" has a short sound because the vowel is followed by two consonants sig na ture CVCC (short vowel rules)
4. Rule: second vowel is not long in 3-syllable words ending in VCV unless the stress is on the third syllable.
Examples: stress on first syllable =last vowel is not long:
EStimate, apPROXimate, INfinite, MALice, CHAlice, ACcurte
(Pronounced estimit approximit, infinit)
When the Stress is on last syllable, the vowel is long as in the following words:
prorATE, adjudiCATE, elongATE, estimATE , divINE
Long I Sounds
5. The Letter "Y" has a long I sound, (like in "MY") in one-syllable words ending in Y, and also when a word ends in "Y" and the stress is on the "Y."
Examples: my, try, fly, shy, cry, rely, mystify,
justify, nullify, deny,
6. EY or YE has a Long I sound in: eye, geyser, rye, dye, Meyer
UY has a Long I sound in: buy, guy
7. German Words and names: English Long I sound in words with EI: kein, nein, Reinhardt, mein,
8. The Letter Y has a LONG I sound in one-syllable words such as "MY," and in two-syllable words if the stress is on the Y - such as in "NYlon and deNY" and is between two consonants (VCV)
Other examples are:
byte, by, fly, my, cry,sty, sky, fry,try, justify, mystify, radify, comply, rely, beautify, PYlon,
multiply, satisfy, edify.
9. The Letter Y has a long E sound as in "baby" when it is at the end of the word, and it is not stressed.
pony, baby, silly, jelly, bully, Tony, bony, sunny, funny, bunny, stormy
10. The Letter Y has a short I sound in words such as "Odyssey" (CVCC)
11. EA as in "wear" has a LONG A sound as in the word "dare". Examples: wear, *tear (heteronym), swear, bear.
Note: "tear" has a long E sound when used as a noun: "Her eyes were full of tears."
12. EI as in "sleigh" has a LONG A when followed by silent "GH": Examples: neighbor, weigh, neigh,
13. AY has a long A sound: bays, days, lays, may,slay, tray, crayola, clay.
NOTE: Exception = The word "SAYS" is pronounced "SEZ"
14. Letter Y has three sounds and functions both as a consonant and vowel sounds.
Y = Consonant
Usually, if a word begins with a "Y," then the Y has the sound as in Yellow. Examples: Yell, year, yam,
York, yard, yoke, yolk,
Y=Vowel (long I) End of one-syllable words and words where the Y is stressed: fly, my, sky, deny, rely, villify, mystify,justify.
Y=Vowel (long E) End of words where the Y is not stressed: baby, stormy, comely, jelly
Y=Vowel (short I) Odyssey
Words with EW combinations have a Long U sound as in the word "new"
Examples: knew, blew, stew, grew, drew, brew. slew, few, flew
DOUBLE OO SOUNDS
Short OO sound as in: cook, book, took, shook
Long OO sound as in: boot, shoot, hoot, moot, root,
Words with OUGH and AUGH:With the exceptions of enough, tough,rough, and laugh, the GH is silent in words. No particular rule applies to how words with "ough" are pronounced. You just have to memorize the sounds.
1. OU has a short U sound and the GH make an "f' sound:
enough (e nuf)
2. GH is silent and OU has a long U sound:
through (rhymes with threw)
3. GH isSilent and OU has a Long O sound:
4. GH is silent and OU has an OW sound and rhymes with the word "now:"
5. GH is silent and OU has an "AW" sound as in law, saw:
thought, bought, ought,
6. GH is silent in the word: daughter
S H O R T V O W E L S O U N D S Words with the letters EA.
CVVC = CONSONANT VOWEL VOWEL CONSONANT
CVVC = Short Vowel Sounds
In some words, the rule of "when two vowels go walking, the first one does the talking" does not apply. All the following have Short E sounds as in the word "bed"
bread, sweat, lead, read, dread, stead
Note: when the EA is changed to EE, the E is long:
breed, sweet, reed, steed
SHORT VOWEL SOUND
CVC = Consonant Vowel Consonant
The vowels are short in one-syllable words with one vowel between two consonants. Examples:
cat, hat, bad, rat, sad, bat, map, must, gum, gun, drum, slum, slid,hit, bit, did, stop, top, mop, bed, led, sled, red.
CVCC Consonant Vowel Consonant Consonant
Vowels are short if followed by double consonants: back, tuck, month,
Note: The long I sound in the word SIGN changes to short I sound in SIGNATURE (sig na ture)
The long I sound in the word FINITE changes to short I in INFINITE (in fi nite)
R-controlled vowels: It's important to remember that when pronouncing words with ar, er, ir, ur, and or, to not pronounce the vowel separate from the R.
OR, IR, UR is pronounced between a short "IR and ER" in words such as work, world, *worm, word, girl, bird, whirl, shirt, furl, hurt,
AR: Vowel sound as in "father" in words: far, tar, mar, barley, car, scar, bard,
AR after a W as in WAR changes to an "AWR" sound such as in: warm, *ward,
Note: *Worm, ward = different pronunciations.
1-1-1 RULE = one consonant, one vowel, one syllable words
Double the last letter in one-syllable words with a short vowel when adding a suffix to keep the short vowel sound. Otherwise, the vowel will be long and will be a different word. VCV = long vowel sound CVCC = short vowel
Different words formed if you don't double the last consonant.
grip gripping gripe griping
cut cutter cute cuter
strip stripper strip striper
scrap scrapper scrape scraper
rip ripped ripe, riper
Double the last letter in two -syllable words when the stress is on the last syllable and ends with a Vowel and Consonant:
Do not double the last letter when the stress is not on the last syllable:
The Letter C sound rules
1. C has a K or hard sound if it is followed by A, O, U, and K:
cat, cash, coat, company, cut, cousin, cock, cat, cattle, coat, cold, come, cut, castle, corn, cap,neck, delicate,bellicose, stucco, loco, lock, stuck, muck, buck, jack, sack, black.
2. The letter C will have a soft sound or S sound if it is followed by E, I.
ceiling, cell, cement, scissors, cyst, deceive,
3. CIOUS, CIENT, CIENCE The following words are spelled with an I after a C to keep the C soft, but the C sound changes to a "sh" sound.
If you omitted the "i" after the "c" in delicious, you would automatically pronounce the "c" like a "k" - delicous
"TURE" at the end of words is pronounced "chur" as in church:
"TION" at the end of words is pronounced either "shun" or "chun"
The Letter D sounds like a "J" sound when it is followed by a U.