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Vowel Sounds




In English, the letters a, e, I, o, and u each have two different sounds. This can present a challenge for persons in whose first languages these letters have only one sound.

However, it is important to pronounce the vowels correctly. Using the wrong sound for a vowel will cause confusion. Here is what can happen:

If the speaker says "met," it may be mistaken for "meet" or "meat." "Pet" may be mistaken for "peat," "hop" may sound like "hope," "run" may sound like "ruin," "sin" will sound like "sign," "bit" can be confused for "bite," "sop" will sound like "soap," "can" may sound like "cane," "hat" may sound like "hate," "file" will sound like "fill" and "hit" can sound like "height." The resulting confusion will cause frustration for both the speaker and the listener.

Below are the two sounds in English of a, e, i, o and u.

  1. The letter a has two sounds.

    In cast, the a sounds like the a in hat, sat, map, tap, flap, can, ban, ran, sag and tan.

    This is different than the sound of the a in hate, skate, tape, lay, gay, hay, say, sate, nape and cape.

  2. The letter e has two sounds.

    In bet, the e sounds like the e in set, deck, let, net, met, get, jet, pet, and fellow.

    This is different than the sound of the e in seep, keys, leer, seer, veer, beer, thesis, sneeze, bee, see, tee, free, he and she.

  3. The letter i has two sounds.

    In bit, the i sounds like the i in kitten, sit, fit, hit, mitt, nip, pit, tip, till, tiff, vim, simple, pimple, him, dim, din, sin, wind, it, him and zipper.

    This is different than the sound of the i in bite, kite, pipe, hike, tie, die, file, tile, lie, site, mite and wipe.

  4. The letter o has two sounds.

    In cot, the o sounds like the o in hop, top, sop, cop, lop, mop, bottle, dog, frog, smog, cod, bog, log and god.

    This is different than the sound of the o in whole, abode, lode, grope, pope, rope, dope, toke, hope, mope and vote.

  5. The letter u has two sounds.

    In fun, the u sounds like the u in run, up, under, but, must, lust, rust, thrust, crust, dust, butter, sun, asunder, thunder, plunder, blunder, and conundrum.

    This is different than the sound of the u in lute, rude, prude, dupe, clue, and manure.



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