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     Sound-Spelling Correlation with Vowels

Vowel sounds correlate with spelling patterns in commonly used words with some regularity. Vowels with more than one common spelling pattern are covered in the table below.

Symbols for Vowel Sounds Spelling Patterns Lists
/ey/ as in say bay    rain    lane    eight               Spelling patterns for the Long vowel /ey/ as in say:
_ay _ai- _a_e _eigh_
may
pay
stay
play
tray
lay

Irregular:
obey
convey
raid
pain
plain
train
haze
amaze
strain
afraid
complain
refrain
contain
terrain
tame
came
place
plane
sane/insane
made
fade
change
arrange
neighbor
weigh/weight
sleigh
freight
beige
/iy/ as in me/be fee   seat    cede  siege   seize               Spelling patterns for the Long vowel /iy/ as in me or be:
-ee- --ea-- _e_e -ie- -ei-
feet
meet
greet
leek
street
need
seed
creed
creek
succeed
proceed
indeed
freeze
Irregular:
key /ski
monkey
donkey
trolley
read
bean
freak
fear
heal
meal
hear
peace
please
tease
appear
appease
lease
grease
leave
leaf
congeal
cede
concede
recede
compete
believe
belief
grieve
grief
niece
piece
siege
ceiling
seize
leisure
weird
/ay/ as in my sky   site    high  lie               Spelling patterns for the Long vowel /ay/ as in my:
_y -_i_e-- _igh _ie _ei
sky
fly
try
cry
fry
spy
sty
apply
supply
comply
deny
style
kite
site
mile
file
tile
time
crime
dime
lime
line
fine
while
high
light
fight
fright
flight
tonight
plight
tight
sight
might
mighty
pie
tie
lie
die
Irregular:
height
/ow/ as in no know    pole   coal   toe   sew               Spelling patterns for the Long vowel /ow/ as in no:
_ow _o_e _oa_ _old _oll /_trol Other spellings
slow
snow
tow
stow
throw
know
hole
whole
stole
pole
dole
console
sole
slope
code
node
stove
drove
tome
dome
home
strode
connote
electrode
coat
boat
boast
coast
soak
soap
toad
road
toast
roast
loaf
loaves
goat
float
old
told
mold
hold
cold
fold
untold
troll
stroll
toll
contol
patrol
toe
sew
ghost
most
almost
/uw/ as in two/to/toodo   cool   rule    new                  Spelling patterns for the Long vowel /uw/ as in two/to/too:
_oo_ _u_e _ew Other spellings
tool
pool
stool
cool
fool
moon
soon
spoon
noon
school
noodle
doodle
toot
scoot
scooter
rule
mule
mute
commute
nude
rude
crude
lute
cute
flute
astute
institute
tame
came
place
plane
sane/insane
made
news
mew
few
flew
screw
stew
steward
pew
sue
true
truth
shoe
suit
uncouth
in lieu of
lieutenant
/ε/ as in set pet    led   end   cent   head                  Spelling patterns for /ε/
_ed; _et _end; ent_ea_ Other spellings
fed
led
red
bed
bled
sped
pet
net
let
bet
met
end
bend
send
lend
tend
trend
intend
contend
attend
defend
commend
recommend
rent
tent
bent
sent
dent
content
relent
repent
consent
head
dead
lead
tread
instead
bread
said
friend
edge
ledge
hedge
dredge
fence
defense
consensus
dense
density
pence
recompense
// as in awe awful    hall    caught   bought   loft   boss                Spelling patterns for //
_aw_ _all / _alk _au_/_aught _ought Other spellings
awe
jaw
saw
paw
law
flaw
gnaw
hawk
slaw
dawn
lawn
awning
awful
guffaw
awesome
awestruck
awkward
all
call
ball
stall
fall
hall
mall
wall
tall
talk
walk
chalk
balk
stalk
laud
sauce
fraud
fraudulent
pause
cause
applaud
applause
nautical

caught
taught
haughty
naughty
daughter

cough
thought
bought
sought
wrought
fought
nought
boss
toss
moss
gloss
across

hog
bog
log
fog

soft
loft
often
/aw/ as in now town    out                             Spelling patterns for /aw/ as in now
_ow_ _ou_
how
now
brown
cow
town
frown
clown
renown
down
rowdy
out
about
scout
tout
mouth
ounce
round
pound
found
bound
bounce
trounce
proud
cloud
aloud
scoundrel
flounder
flout
doubt
trout
renounce
announce
// as in nut fun   ton   money   mother Stressed // is usually spelled with the letter u as in cut

    hut, nut, strut, stun, fuss, must, trust, funny, combust, adjust, abundant

Other spellings with "o":

    love, above, son, mother, brother, money, honey, one, once, ton, month, southern
schwa // as in above--like the sound "uh", or "i" as in Inuit or respond. The schwa is the unstressed, unclear vowel in multisyllabic syllables and articles. English language learners often don't hear the schwa, or unstressed vowel. It is an unclear, short syllable spoken with low pitch, making it difficult to detect. There is no single sound-letter correlation for the schwa. All of the vowels in the table below appear in unstressed syllables. Even native speakers resort to guessing when it comes to the spelling of the schwa. In multisyllabic words, note how the schwa comes between longer syllables, giving rhythm to English. Note also that suffixes always have reduced vowels.

Spelling patterns for the schwa // or "uh"
unstressed A Unstressed E Unstressed I Unstressed O Unstressed U
above
around
alike
affect
abundant
afraid
afford
accord
advice
harass
harangue
lavatory
laboratory
inappropriate
contradiction
management
inseparable
desireable
photography
anniversary
effect
especially
expose
escape
endearing
embarrass
embargo
employ
example
honest
scenery
acknowledge
Vietnam
defend
deny
reply
liquefy
linen
orchestra
juvenile
register
organization
origin
original
pacify
liquid
orchid
purify
specify
ability
tranquility
responsible
irresistible
compatible
communicate
annhilate
anniversary
onion /yn/
bunion
union
battalion
connect
commute
concern
condemn
connotation
propose
protect
promote
canopy
philosophy
psychology
philanthropy
antrhopology
photography
analogy
accommodate
innovate
contagious
inundate
curriculum
custodian
minus
minuscule
inocculate
census
consensus
suspicion
suspend
succeed
submit
suppose
suppository

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