Difference Between Long and Short Vowels

 Difference Between Long and Short Vowels

There are five vowels in the English language. They are a, e, i, o, u. These vowels can represent a variety of sounds. The length and the sound of a vowel can change according to its position in a word and the pronunciation of that word. Vowels can be classified into long and short vowels based on their length. The main difference between long and short vowels is that long vowels have a long sound whereas short vowels have a short sound.Difference Between Long and Short Vowels - infographic

What are Long Vowels

A long vowel has a long sound. A long vowel sounds like the name of its vowel. For example, the letter ‘a’ in aim is pronounced as  /ā/, or “ayy. The five long vowel sounds in the English language are

‘a’ as in name

‘e’ as in eat

‘i’ as in wine

‘o’ as in go

‘u’ as in human

Given below are some words that contain long vowel sounds.

A: ape,lake, name, date, rain

E: deep, heed, eat, feet, feel

I: wine, bite, hide, kite, ice,

O: oak, boat, long, soak, hope

U: mule, fuse, unite, cubeMain Difference - Long vs Short Vowels

What are Short Vowels

Short vowels are the opposite of long vowels; they produce a short vowel sound. A short vowel sound is produced when the vowel in a syllable is followed by a consonant. This type of syllable is called a closed syllable. Thus, short vowels are caused by closed syllables. Unlike in long vowels, the vowel sound of short vowels is not similar to the name of the vowel. The five short vowel sounds in the English language are,

‘a’ as in fat

‘e’ as in nest

‘i’ as in win

‘o’ as in cot

‘u’ as in cup

Given below are some words that contain short vowel sounds.

A: cat, at, hat, mat, axe, apple, sack

E: set, edge, deck, head, bed, echo

I: bird, panic, pig, tin, bit, hid, ginger

O: hop, sock, ostrich, mop, mock

U: mud, fuss, blunder, up, ugly, underDifference Between Long and Short Vowels

Difference Between Long and Short Vowels

Length of Sound

Long Vowels produce a long vowel sound.

Short Vowels produce a short vowel sound.

Open vs Closed Syllables

Long Vowels are found in open syllables.

Short Vowels are found in closed syllables.


Long Vowels are pronounced like the actual name of the vowel.

Short Vowels are not pronounced like the name of the vowel.


Long Vowels include ā (as in rain), ē (beat), ī (wine), ō (go), and ū (fuse).

Short Vowels include a (as in fat), e (as in rest), i (as in win), o (as in cot), u (as in cup).

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.

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