Pronunciation of the letter”u”


Here are some common pronunciation  patterns  for the letter u in English words, along with examples in transcription using the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA):


Short and Long Vowel Sounds:


Short /ʌ/:

u can represent a short vowel sound, as in bus /bʌs/, cup”/kʌp/, and luck /lʌk/.


Long /juː/:

u followed by a silent e represents a long vowel sound, as in cube /kjuːb/, tube /tjuːb/, and cute /kjuːt/.



qu Digraph:


/kw/: The combination qu represents the sound /kw/, as in queen /kwiːn/, quick /kwɪk/, and quiet /kwaɪət/.



u as a Consonant Sound:

/j/: In some words, u represents a consonant sound, as in unique /juːˈniːk/, where it sounds like yoo.



ou and ow Diphthongs:

/aʊ/: The combination ou creates a diphthong sound /aʊ/, as in house /haʊs/, out /aʊt/, and cloud /klaʊd/.


/aʊ/: Similarly, the combination ow also creates a diphthong sound /aʊ/, as in cow /kaʊ/, now /naʊ/, and flower /ˈflaʊər/.



Silent u:

Silent: In some words, u is not pronounced, but it affects the preceding vowel.

For example: guilt /ɡɪlt/ and guise /ɡaɪz/ have a silent u but influence the sound of the preceding vowel.



ue at the End of Words:

/uː/: The combination ue at the end of a word often represents the sound /uː/, as in blue /bluː/, true /truː/.



ui in Words:

/uː/ or /juː/: The combination ui often represents the sounds /uː/ or /juː/, as in fruit /fruːt/, juice /dʒuːs/, and rescue /ˈreskjuː/.



Here are some exercises along with answers and transcriptions to practice the pronunciation patterns for the letter u:


Exercise 1:

Short and Long Vowel Sounds: Write the correct spelling of the word based on the given transcription and meaning:


/bʌs/ – (a vehicle for transporting people)

Answer: bus


/kʌp/ – (a container for holding liquids)

Answer: cup


/juːnɪk/ – (one of a kind; not like anything else)

Answer: unique




Exercise 2:

qu Digraph: Fill in the blanks with the correct words.


A fast and agile feline is a quick ____.

Answer: cat


An extremely silent place is so ____.

Answer: quiet


A female ruler is called a ____.

Answer: queen


Exercise 3:

ou and ow Diphthongs: Choose the correct word for each sentence.

She injured her knee and is now using crutches to ____. a) maʊve b) move

Answer: b) move


The sun is shining brightly, and there’s not a single ____ in the sky. a) cloʊd b) clawd

Answer: a) cloʊd


Exercise 4:

Silent u: Identify the word with a silent u in each set.

a) guide b) guilt

Answer: b) guilt


a) guest b) guess

Answer: a) guest



Exercise 5:

ui in Words: Complete the sentences with the appropriate words.


She squeezed the orange to get fresh ____ juice.

Answer: fruit


The construction workers worked hard to ____ the new skyscraper.

Answer: build











click here Pronunciation of the letter “u”

click here Pronunciation of the letter “a”

click here Pronunciation of the letter “o”

click here Pronunciation of the letter “y”

click here The Phonics rules for reading and spelling

click here The Alphabet names in English