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English Sounds and Spelling (#7), by Dennis Oliver

 

English Sounds and Spelling #7:

 

The / ey / and / e / sounds (the vowel sounds in gate and
get) are similar in pronunciation: both are made with the
tongue toward the front of the mouth, but / ey / is more
tense than / e /. To many learners of English, / ey / and
/ e / sound very similar or even the same. To a native
speaker of English, however, they are completely different.

Here are some examples of words in which the use of
/ ey / or / e / is the only difference:

words with / ey /
 

words with / e /
     

Abe
 

ebb
     

 bait / bate
 

bet
     

cane / Cain
 

ken / Ken
     

deign / Dane
 

den
     

fail
 

fell
     

freight
 

fret
     

gate / gait
 

get
     

hail / hale
 

hell
     

jail
 

gel / jell
     

 late
 

let
     

mate
 

met
     

Nate
 

net
     

pate
 

pet
     

quail
 

quell
     

rain / rein / reign
 

wren
     

sail / sale
 

sell
     

shale
 

shell
     

tail / tale
 

tell
     

 wail / wale
 

well

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