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English Sounds and Spelling (#5), by Dennis Oliver


English Sounds and Spelling #5:


Many languages have a sound that's similar to the English
ey / sound (the vowel sound in say and they). In languages
that use Roman (Latin) letters, this sound is usually a "pure"
vowel and is often shown by the letter
e. In English, / ey / is
two sounds (a combination of "pure e" and "i") and
it has many common spellings:


  bay, clay, day, gay, gray, hay, lay,
may, pay, play, pray, say, slay, spray,
stay, stray, sway, tray, way

  bail, bait, braid, chain, daily, fail, frail,
gain, grain, hail, laid, lain, maid, mail,
maim, main, nail, paid, pail, pain, paint,
plain, quail, quaint, raid, rail, rain,
sail, slain, stain, strain, tail, train, trait,
vain, wail, waist, wait, attain, complain,
detain, entertain, explain, refrain


ace, ache*, age, ate, bake, bale, bane, base,
came, cane, cape, cave, date, face, fade,
fake, fame, fate, faze, gale, game, gave,
gaze, glade, glaze, grace, grade, grate,
graze, hale, hate, haze, jade, kale, lace,
lake, lame, lane, late, made, male, mane,
mate, maze, name, pace, pale, pane, pate,
pave, phase, plane, quake, race, rate, rave,
sale, same, sane, save, scale, space, spade,
stake, stale, take, tale, tame, tape, vane,
wade, wane

* ch, here, acts as a single consonant (/ k /)



grey*, hey, obey, prey, they

* also spelled gray


ei /
  rein, skein, veil, vein
deign, feign, reign
eight, freight, neigh, sleigh, weigh

* C = consonant



Special Note:

Be careful! Many words have the same sound, but
different spellings and meanings--for example,

ate / eight; bail / bale; faze / phase; hail / hale;
lain / lane; made / maid; mail / male; main / mane;
pail / pale; pain / pane; plain / plane; pray / prey;
rain / reign / rein; sail / sale; slay / sleigh;
tail / tale; vane / vein; wait / weight; way / weigh

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