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English Sounds and Spelling (#2), by Dennis Oliver


English Sounds and Spelling #2:


Many languages have a sound like the English / iy / sound
(the vowel sound in beat or beet). In languages that use
Roman (Latin) letters, this sound is often shown by the
letter i. In English, however, this sound is spelled in many
different ways.

Here are some common ones:


  be, he, me, she, the, we, zero

  agree, bee, beet, bleed, breed, deed,
deep, fee, feed, feel, feet, flee, fleet,
foresee, glee, green, greet, heel, knee,
meet, need, peek, peel, peep, preen,
queen, reed, reek, reel, see, seed, seek,
seem, seen, seep, screen, sheep, sleet,
speech, speed, steel, steep, tee, teem,
teen, wheel

  bead, beak, beam, bean, beast, beat,
bleat, cheat, clean, cleat, cream,
dream, feast, feat, freak, gleam, heal,
heap, heat, knead, lean, leap, least,
meal, mean, meat, neat, pea, peak,
peal, peat, read, real, sea, seal, seam,
scream, sheath, steal, steam, stream,
tea, teak, team, veal

  eke, mete, scene, these, compete,
complete, concede, concrete, convene,
discrete, effete, mete, theme

  cheese, fleece, freeze, peeve, sleeve

  breathe, ease, eave, grease,
lease, peace, please, tease

  belief, chief, grief, lien, thief

  achieve, believe, niece, piece,
receive, relieve, reprieve, retrieve

  ceiling, either*, neither*

  conceive, perceive, receive

i, iCe
  chic, ski, machine

* C = consonant



Special Notes:

1.   The words either and neither are also
pronounced with the sound / ai / (the
vowel sound in I, eye, buy, sky, and pie).

Be careful!

Many words have the same sound, but
different spellings and meanings.


bee / bee;
beat / beet;
feat / feet;
knead / need;
lean / lien;
meat / meet / mete;
peak / peek / pique;
peal / peel;
real / reel;
sea / see;
seam / seem;
scene / seen;
steal / steel

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