Long Vowel Sound Rules

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The long vowels make the same sounds in a word as they do when pronounced alone. Each vowel has a few unique rules, but generally, they all make a long sound when they are the last letter of a word (examples: she, go; exceptions: to, bite). And if a word has two vowels next to each other, the first vowel usually is pronounced long (examples: sail, bean, soap, juice).

"A"

  • If the "a" is followed by a "y," it makes the long vowel sound (examples: play, Sunday). If the "a" is followed by one consonant, followed by an "e," it makes a long vowel sound (examples: fate, dare).

"E"

  • If the letter "e" is paired with another "e," it will make the long vowel sound (examples: sweet, beef). If the "e" is followed by one consonant, followed by another vowel, it makes a long vowel sound (example: evil, deplete), but the "e" will not typically be long if there are two or more consonants between the "e" and the other vowel (examples: end, elder, enter).

    If an "e" is the last letter of a word, it is usually silent, but it also signifies that the vowels that came before have a long sound (examples: note, pride, derive, state).

"I"

  • If the "i" in a single-syllable word is followed by two consonants, it will usually have the long vowel sound (examples: bright, mind, child). Exceptions are when single-syllable words are plural or contain a "th" or "sh" at the end (examples: fifth, clips, fish, girth).

    The "i" has a long vowel sound if the last letter in the word is an "e" (examples: bite, mine, slide).

"O"

  • If the "o" in a single-syllable word is followed by two consonants, it will have the long vowel sound (examples: old, most, roll). Exceptions are when single-syllable words are plural or contain a "th" or "sh" at the end (examples: moth, posh). The "o" has a long vowel sound if the last letter in the word is an "e" (examples: mole, rope).

"U"

  • A "u" long sound doesn't sound exactly the same in a word as it does when pronouncing the letter by itself. When pronouncing the letter by itself, it is "yoo" but as a letter in a word it simply makes an "oo" sound (examples: costume, salute). The "u" makes a long sound when it is followed by an "e" (examples: cue, blue, flute).

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