When Two Vowels Go Walking…

You know what they say, you learn something new every day.
I went to help out at my son’s kindy class yesterday – and was given a crash course in vowel pronunciation by a bunch of five-year-olds.
Repeat after C2’s kindy class:

vowel rules

Vowel rules or vowels rule?

What this means is that when there are two vowels side by side in a word, you pronounce the long sound of that first vowel and don’t pronounce the second vowel at all. to be more succinct, when two vowels talk, the first one says its name.

In case you’re wondering, a long vowel sound is pronounced the same as its name: A, E, I, O, U.

For example, take a seat. I mean take the word seat: S-E-A-T. You pronounce the E but not the A. “s-E-(a)-t”.

vowels 2

These words follow the rule to a ‘T’.

I was in such pain when I stubbed my toe!
In ‘pain’, the A speaks up, but not the I. In ‘toe’, you say the O, but the E is silent.

It was raining, so I grabbed my coat from the beam.

Ice-cream by the beach is a perfect treat!

ice cream 4

I also apply this rule when there’s a vowel-consonant-vowel:
* bite, bone, bade
* gate, game, grain
* side, strike, shame
* tale, tiger, time, these.

We booked the Acorn Hotel even though it has a crazy concierge and no decent toilet paper.

I baked a cake iced with white stripes and ripe strawberries. One bite and my diet dreams were broken.

Of course, rules are meant to be broken. So, in the words of Captain Barbossa in Pirates of the Caribbean, “… the code is more what you’d call ‘guidelines’ than actual rules.”



We are breaking bread with our guests at eight o’clock.

I put my foot in my mouth when I said, “The biscuits are like leather.”

The Snail and the Whale

Give me an ‘A’!

Now look at the sentence below.

He was a dreamboat, dressed in a sharp white suit that made her shake in her dainty shoes. (I know, sounds like a steamy Mills & Boon romance!)

Some words follow the rule: dream, boat, white, made, shake, dainty, steamy, romance.
But others do NOT: suit, shoes, sounds, Boon.

Go figure!

snakes and ladders

Snakes and Ladders or Dominoes: the names of which game follow the vowel rules?

Did you learn this vowel rule when you were in school? Can you think of any notable exceptions?


6 responses to “When Two Vowels Go Walking…

  1. Surely “aural” should spring to mind as a nice exception when discussing spelling vs “sound”! I “would” think most words with a vowel followed by a “u” end up with an odd pronunciation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Debbie, so good to hear from you after all these years! Of course I remember you! We were the “chintu” cousins compared to Lisa & Kim. How did you find my blog (through someone’s Facebook post, I’m assuming)? I haven’t put up any new posts since I had my third baby less than five months ago. Hope to restart blogging in the new year.
      How lovely that you are a Montessori teacher! Just keep in mind that there are exceptions to all these grammar/spelling rules.
      Okay, will end here. Have a Merry Christmas!


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