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Y as a Vowel

It is more common to find the letter “y” as a vowel than as a consonant. Typically, the letter “y” is a consonant when it is at the beginning of a word, e.g., yes, you, yard and young. If the letter “y” is located in the middle or end of the word, it is often treated as a vowel. As always, there are exceptions, e.g., lawyer, canyon & beyond.

Y as a Vowel – Long E

When the letter y is found at the end of a word, it sometimes makes the long e sound as noted in the table below.

any early many ready
baby easy mommy really
body energy money safety
bunny every only sandy
candy family pantry story
city funny penny study
copy happy pretty sunny
country heavy puppy usually
daddy lady quickly very

When the letter “y” is found at the end of a word with more than one syllable, it typically makes the long /e/ sound.

Y as a Vowel – Long I

When the letter y is found at the end of a word, it can also make the long i sound as noted in the table below. We also wrote a post about Y word family which provides free worksheets.

ally cry fly ply sky spy
apply defy fry pry sly spy
buy deny July reply spry try
by dry my shy why

I once read when the letter “y” is found at the end of a one syllable word, it typically makes a long /i/ sound. However, over one third of the words above have more than one syllable.

The letter y can also sound like a short i, e.g., mystic and rhythm. In addition, when a vowel precedes the letter “y”, it often makes the “y” silent, e.g. day & key.

1 comment… add one

  • Thanks for the great info!

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