Phonics on the Web > Long Vowels

Long Vowels

A long vowel sound is the same as its name. The diacritical mark for a long vowel is called a macron (¯), which is in the shape of a line above the vowel.

When a single vowel letter is in the end of a word (or syllable), it usually says its long sound (or its name), as in go and be. When two vowels go hand in hand in the same word (or syllable), the first vowel is usually long, and the second vowel is usually silent. e.g., bake makes the /ay/ sound (long a) and the e is silent; goal makes the /oh/ sound (long o) and the a is silent. However, there are many exceptions to this rule, such as with irregular vowels.

When there are two adjacent vowels in a word, the first one is long and the second one is silent. The first vowel is marked with a long line and second one is crossed out. Examples of this rule are in coat, ride, and read.

There is both a long and short sound to “oo”. The long sound appears as in the words boo, food, smooth, and moose.

The following is a list of long vowel sounds, shown along with their diacritical marks:

  • Long a (ā) sound as in ape, snail, ache, explain, and reindeer
  • Long e (ē) sound as in eat, agony, needle, pianist, and electricity
  • Long i (ī) sound as in eye, cry, tightrope, tile, and violin
  • Long o (ō) sound as in oh, domino, ghost, pillow, and stethoscope
  • Long u (ū) sound as in you, salute, toothbrush, goose, boot, and costume

For a complete list of long, short, and other sounds, see letter sounds.

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