What are Long and Short Vowel Sounds? Learning Concepts
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Concept: Long and Short Vowels

What Are Vowels?

  • A vowel is a letter of the alphabet that illustrates an open sound. A letter that produces sound by allowing the breath to come out of the mouth without any interference.
  • Vowels are five vowels in the English Alphabet. They are a, e, i, o, and u.

A vowel has more than one sound. Vowels can be divided into two parts based on their sounds – a) Long vowel sound and b) Short vowel sound.


a)Long Vowel

When a vowel is said, sometimes the sound it makes is that of a long vowel sound.

There are two ways when long vowel sounds are used.

i. A long vowel sound is made when two vowels sit next to each other in a word.


1. When ‘e’ and ‘a’ sit together, it makes a long /e/ sound.

huge plate plate
head bread beach

2. When ‘i’ and ‘e’ appear next to each other it makes a long /i/ sound.

huge plate plate
pie tie lie

3. If we put together ‘a’ and ‘i’, the word makes a long /a/ sound.

huge plate plate
jail mail rail

3. If two ‘o’s sit together, it makes a long /u/ sound.

huge plate plate
moon zoo pool

5. When two ‘e’s sit together in a word, it makes a long /e/ sound..

huge plate plate
green knee cheese

6. When ‘o’ and ‘a’ sit together, a word makes a long /o/ sound .

huge plate plate
boat goat toad

Short Vowels

Some vowels make a short sound as these sounds are not stretched.

The short vowels always come at the beginning or middle of the word. It never is at the end of a word.


huge plate plate
tap web pin
huge plate
top mug

The vowels in the words say their sounds - /a/, /e/, /i/, /o/, /u/. Therefore, these words are making short vowel sounds.

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  6. Common mistake

    i. Some vowels may still make long vowel sounds when used by itself. One such letter is ‘u’ also produces long vowel sounds.


    huge plate plate
    huge plate bike

    The vowel ‘u’ in ‘huge’ makes a long /u/ sound.

    The vowel ‘a’ in ‘plate’ makes a long /a/ sound.

    The vowel ‘i’ in ‘bike’ makes a long /i/ sound.

    2. Don’t get confused between the short ‘i’ vowel sound and the long ‘e’ vowel sound.


    Short 'i' Long 'e'
    igloo eel
    fin key
    pin tea
    iguana eagle
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