a

ai, ay [ei]

train, brain, stain, stay, may, day

! But:  said [sed], Thai [tai], aisle [ail]

air, aer [ɛə]

stairs, pair, fairy, hairstyle, airplane, chair, air

aerial

! But: Cairo [‘kaiərəu]

all [o:l]

tall, call, ball, fall, wall, pall, mall, hall, wallet, small, swallow

! But: [æ] dally, fallow, hallo, shall, alloy, ballad, ballet [‘bæleɪ]

alk [o:k]

talk, walk, stalk, chalk

! But: Balkans [‘bɔːlkənz]

alm [a:m]

calm, palm

alf [a:f]

calf, half

ath [a:θ], [a:ð]

father, bath, path

au, aw [o:]

cause, fault, autumn

law, paw, straw, draw, crawl, awe

+ aff, aft, ass, ask, ast a is pronounced as [a:] (in most cases)

Staff, craft, pass, ask, fast

+[o:] al + consonant (in many cases)

false, already, salt, almost, always

Exercises

e

ea

  • [i:] flea, sea, speak, mean
  • [e] often before -d, -th, -lth, -sure, -nt, -sant
    ready, steady, head, bread, read (V2), spread,thread, instead, weather, wealth, health, pleasure, treasure, meant, peasant, pleasant

+ heaven, breakfast

  • [ei] break, great, steak

ee [i:]

tree, three, fee

ear

  • [iə] ear, fear, rear, year, dear, hear, clear, tear
  • [ə:] before a consonant:

earn, pearl, earth, learn, search, heard, early

  • [ɛə] wear, bear, swear

eer [iə]

engineer, steer

ei

[i:] receive, receipt

eigh [ei]

  • [ei] eight, weigh, weight, sleigh
  • [ai] height, either, neither

ey

  • [ei] they, grey
  • [ai] eye
  • [i:] key

eu [ju:]

Europe, neutral, deuce

ew [ju:](BrEng)/[u:] (AmEng)

few, new, stew

! Am: new [n’u:]

Exercises

i

ie

  • [i:] field, chief, piece, niece, yield
  • [ai] lie, tie, pie
  • [e] friend

igh [ai]

high, light, sign, fight, delight, night, tonight

ind [aind]

kind, behind, mind, blind

! But: [i] kindergarten, linden

ild [aild]

wild, child, mild

! But: [i] children, gild

o

oa [əu] 

goat, coat

oi, oy [oi]

oil, voice, coin, spoil, boy, toy, enjoy

old [əuld]

old, cold, gold, bold, fold, told, sold

oo

  • [u:] food, boot, soon, moon, stool, zoo, moose, too
  • [u] before k and sometimes before d, t (and other)

took, shook, hook, book, good, wood, stood (+ foot, wool, groom)

  • [o:] before r

door, floor

! But: [ʌ] blood, flood

ou

  • [au] out, house, about, blouse, stout, proud, loud
  • [ʌ] young, country, double, courage, cousin, flourish, trouble

ough [ʌf]

tough, rough, enough

! But:

cough [kɔf] 

plough [plau], sough [sau] , [sʌf]

dough [dəu]

through [θru:]

our

  • [o:] four, pour, your, bourn, source, mourn
  • [auə] our, flour

ow

in single-syllable words:

  • [au]

cow, now, how, owl, browse, down, frown, brown, town, gown

  • [əu]

low, bow, snow, own, known, slow, glow, row

+ [əu] at the end of words without stress

window, yellow

 

u 

y