Teacher/Parent Resource

Search ESLwatch

Log in Register

Log in

ESL Lesson Plan: Vowels in English: Spelling vs. PronunciationVowels in English: Spelling vs. Pronunciation

There are 11 vowels & 3 diphthongs in English; 8 of these vowels also exist in French.

IPA Symbol English Examples French Examples

 

[ i ] seat, feet, be, field, funny vie, midi, lit, riz

 

[ ɪ ] sit, did, with, this - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

 

[ e ] cake, hate, rain, play blé, nez, cahier, pied

 

[ ɛ ] get, help, red, head lait, aile, balai, reine

 

[ æ ] cat, hat, that, after - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

 

[ a ] not, stop, fond, want, father chat, ami, papa, salade

 

[ ə ] sun, but, today, sofa fenêtre, genou, cheval, cerise

 

[ u ] spoon, new, glue, fruit loup, cou, caillou, outil

 

[ ʊ ] put, would, good, look - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

 

[ o ] those, bone, goes, coat eau, dos, escargot, hôtel

 

[ ɔ ] dog, talk, caught, saw sol, pomme, cloche, horloge

 

 

[aw] cow, town, house, found - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

 

[aj] I, buy, why, high, night - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

 

[ɔj] toy, boy, oil, soil - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

 

 

 

Words that end in a silent -e are usually pronounced with a "long" vowel or diphthong. Notice that the pronunciation of the vowel is the same as the name of the letter when reciting the alphabet.

 

cake [e] • these [i] • bike [aj] • home [o] • tube [u]

 

Words that do not end in a silent -e, but rather with a consonant, are usually pronounced with a "short" vowel:

 

cat [æ] • yes [ɛ] • sit [ɪ] • log [ɔ] / not [a] • run [ə] / put [ʊ]

 

Sort these words according to the pronunciation of their vowel or diphthong:

 

did these lime soap found jump ate

 

cat play buy toy home not toe

 

knee run fog yes why soil spoon

 

night cow knew meat up rat law

 

red late fruit with book want stove

 

my talk man men mouse goes taught

 

clown queen cake hat sun help took

 

[e]

 

 

 

 

 

 

[æ]

 

[aw]

[i]

 

 

 

 

[ɛ]

 

 

 

[ɔj]

[aj]

 

 

 

 

 

 

[ɪ]

 

[u]

 

 

[ə]

 

 

[ʊ]

[o]

 

 

 

[ɔ]

 

[a]

Some Exceptions to the Rules

 

1. Rule: EA pronounced as [i]: speak, eat, sea, teach, leave, dear, fear, read (present)

 

Exceptions:

 

EA can also be pronounced as [ɛ]: head, sweat, threat, read (past)

EA can also be pronounced as [e]: break, great, bear, pear

 

 

2. Rule: OW and OU pronounced as [aw]: now, town, clown, house, mouse, found

 

Exceptions:

 

OW/OU can also be pronounced as [o]: know, snow, show, own, flown, dough, though
OU can also be pronounced as [ɔ]: cough, fought, bought, brought, thought
OU can also be pronounced as [ə]: rough, tough, enough
OU can also be pronounced as [u]: through, you

 

 

3. Rule: OO pronounced as [u]: spoon, moon, food, choose, loose, goose, boot, zoo

 

Exceptions:

OO can also be pronounced as [ʊ]: look, cook, book, hook, good, wood, foot
OO can also be pronounced as [o]: door, floor, poor
 

 

The most common words in English do not follow the rules!

have is pronounced [æ], as in hat

says / said are pronounced [ɛ], as in red

give & live are pronounced [ɪ], as in did

gone is pronounced [ɔ], as dog

 

what / was / come / some / done / does are pronounced [ə], as in run

 

lose is pronounced [u], as in new

 

would / could / should / put is pronounced [ʊ], as in good

 

find is pronounced [aj], as in buy

 

Practice saying these sentences:

 

1. What have you gone and done now?

 

2. I live in a white house that my father owns.

 

3. You always read so much that your head hurts.

 

4. I know now what he said and did.

 

5. We're going to lose if you choose to wait.

 

6. Tim and Dan said there was no time to waste.

 

7. This suit looks good on you.

 

8. These and those should go well together.

 

9. Could you talk to my sister for me?

 

10. They bought some dough to make cookies, but it wasn't enough.

 

11. Please close the door. The heat will make us sweat.

 

12. The man said the train was late because of the snow.

 

13. I thought you said that rugby was too rough to play.

 

14. Jane went to the store because she wanted to buy some peaches.

 

15. This cat hates to eat meat but he loves other good food.

 

16. Don't yell at me because I won't help you cook.

 

17. An apple fell on the ground, and another fell in the pond.

 

18. The plural of mouse is mice, but the plural of goose is geese.

 

19. Why didn't you read this book last night? You had enough time.

 

20. I have a big fear of bears and snakes, but not spiders or wolves.

 

21. What is this blue and green fruit? Is it ripe enough to eat?

 

22. The queen sat on her throne and ate grapes from a plate.

 

23. The cat and dog fought all day until I brought one inside the house.

 

24. First I made the bed and then I had some tea and bread with jam.

 

25. I didn't hear what you said, my dear. Is it over here or over there?

Adding Your institution is Easy as 1-2-3

Simply add your institution, the form only takes a few minutes.

Register yourself on the website confirm that you are a human. Wait for confirmation via email.

Once you login to the website you can then review your chosen institution.

Recently Added

Greenhill School is an international school located in Wuxi, Jiangsu, China. Address: Anzhen Mengjiayuan 49, Wuxi, Jiangsu, China. Website: Greenhill School...
Liverpool John Moores University is an university located in Liverpool, United Kingdom. Address: 3 Byrom Street, Liverpool, Merseyside, L3 3AF,...
Houde Academy is a private school located in Shenzhen, China. Address: #9 Guangsheng Fifth Road, Shenzhen, Guangdong, 51800, China. Website: Houde Academy...
Etonkids International Kindergarten is a private school located in Beijing, China. Address: Building 302, Unit B, FL5, IT Startup Park,...
Freesoul Kindergarten has a few private schools located in China. Address: Biyun Campus - No 1988 Yunshan Rd, Pudong district,...
ESL Suite is a recuiter located in Tianjin, China. Address: 6th Floor, Building W5C1, Binhai Economic Street No. 20 Guangchang...
Ban Pong Sanook School (โรงเรียนบ้านปงสนุก) is a private school located in Lampang, Thailand. Address: 10 Thanon Jamathawee, Lampang, 52000, Thailand. Website:...

Connect With Us Today

We believe it’s important to stay closely connected with the great individuals and organizations in the ESL/EFL industry, and what better way than through social media? We’re constantly posting updates online and participating in the buzz.

Please consider connecting with us on the following social media websites to stay up-to-date and connected!

 

Select a Country

Have you added your Institution!

Add your institution for review!

Thank for using ESLwatch, just one more thing before you go. Have you added your institution for review?

Does not matter if it is a school, college, university, recruiter, company, individual or online website that you have had dealings with in the past or present. The review form only takes a few minutes and you do not have to review the institution yourself.

 

Add Your Institution for Review

x