Phonics & Spelling

International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA)
Short & Long Words
g, h, w, y, r, l, s, qu-, -ng, -nk
Other Rules
th – th
Odd Spellings
Verb Plural & Tense
Adjectives → Adverbs, Comparatives & Superlatives

International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA)

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æ ɛ ɪ ɔ ʊ ə ʔ p b
ɑ e i o u ʌ t d
ju k ɡ
ɔɪ ər
ɚ t͡ʃ d͡ʒ
s z
l f v
m j ʃ ʒ
n r θ ð
ŋ w hw h


Doc on Google Drive | Simple HTML | Utah govt’s ‘Vowel Combinations’

Short IPA IPA Long (includes)
a æ ae aigh
-ay a_e
e ɛ i ee ea
i ɪ ie eigh
ai -y i_e
o ɑ oe ough oa -ow o_e
u ʌ ʊ u / ju ue ough ui
-ew u_e
Hard  IPA  IPA Back
ar ɑɹ ɔ aw augh
au wa  al
er ər / ɚ / ɝ ow ough ou
ir ər / ɚ / ɝ ʊ ou oo
or ɔər / ər ɔɪ oi -oy
ur ʊər / ər

Short & Long Words

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Short Long
tack take
tech teak
tick tyke
tock toke
tuck tuke
back bake
beck beak
bick bike
Bach boke
buck buke
Mack make
meck meek
Mick Mike
mock moke
muck muke
bat bait
bet beat
bit bite
bot boat
but boot
Matt mate
met meet
mitt might
mot mote
mutt moot
cat Kate
ket keet
kit kite
cot coat
cut cute
pat Pate
pet Pete
pit pight
pot pote
putt poot
hat hate
het heat
hit height
hot hote
hut hoot
gnat Nate
net neat
knit night
knot note
nut Newt
sat sate
set seat
sit sight
sought (ɔ) sote
soot (ʊ) suit
Single-letter Double-letter
Short Long Short Long
tap tape tapping taping
sit site sitting siting
hop hope hopping hoping
mop mope mopping moping
dot dote dotting doting
run rune running runing


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Stops   Double Stops
voiceless voiced voiceless voiced
p b pp bb
t d tt dd
c, k g ck gg
Fricatives   Double Fricatives
s z ss zz
f v ff
θ ð th th
ʃ (t: -tio-) ʒ (j, s: -sio-) sh
Liquids & Nasals   Double Liquids & Nasals
l ll
r rr
m mm
n nn
ŋ ng

Usually, the purpose of doubling these consonants is to clarify that the vowel before is short.

Stops have two sounds, one when before a vowel, one after the vowel—a “stop” and a “start” version. Doubling a stop in a spelling usually indicates pronouncing both the “stop” and “start” sounds. Examples are: bubble, daddy, wiggle, happy, little, and chicken.

For non-native speakers…

Practice stops by sandwiching them between vowels and repeating them as an exercise. For example with “b”: bababababababa. Do this with all Stops.

Practice “l”, “th”, and all “l” combinations by sticking your tongue out, relaxed, the entire time. Practice “bl”, “fl”, “pl”, etc. by sticking your tongue out the entire time, even spitting like a baby would.

If “l” is a problem, which it can be for some far eastern speakers, practice “l” by putting the tip of your tongue behind your lower front teeth and pronouncing it with the middle of your tongue against your top front teeth.

g, h, w, y, r, l, s, qu-, -ng, -nk

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(practice words, may not be real words)

-ang -ing -ong -ung -ank -ink -unk
g- gang ging gong gung gank gink gunk
h- hang hing hong hung hank hink hunk
w- wang wing wong wung wank wink wunk
y- yang ying yong yung yank yink yunk
qu- quang quing quong quung quank quink quunk
br- brang bring brong brung brank brink brunk
cr- crang cring crong crung crank crink crunk
dr- drang dring drong drung drank drink drunk
fr- frang fring frong frung frank frink frunk
gr- grang gring grong grung grank grink grunk
pr- prang pring prong prung prank prink prunk
tr- trang tring trong trung trank trink trunk
bl- blang bling blong blung blank blink blunk
cl- clang cling clong clung clank clink clunk
fl- flang fling flong flung flank flink flunk
gl- glang gling glong glung glank glink glunk
pl- plang pling plong plung plank plink plunk
sl- slang sling slong slung slank slink slunk
sp- spang sping spong spung spank spink spunk
spr- sprang spring sprong sprung sprank sprink sprunk
st- stang sting stong stung stank stink stunk
str- strang string strong strung strank strink strunk
sk- skang sking skong skung skank skink skunk
scr- scrang scring scrong scrung scrank scrink scrunk

Other Rules

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-ange- angel change mange range strange
-aste baste haste paste taste waste
(soft C) “s”
ce ice nice piece cease certain
ci city cite cinema recite cinder
cy icy cycle mercy cyclone fancy
(soft G) “j”
ge forge bulge charge cage huge
gi giant gist imagine ginger magic
gy Egypt edgy gym energy gypsy
sm- smoke smite smooth smack smart
sn- snack sneak snap snail snake
sw- swag swim swipe switch swap
qu- quack quake quite quiet quick
tw- twang twas tweak twice twitch
-bl wobble table fable stable marble
-ckl cackle tickle pickle trickle chuckle
-dl doodle noodle poodle puddle muddle
-pl apple maple staple people couple
-tl cattle brittle bottle rattle kettle
-stl = “sl”
thistle whistle castle hustle bristle
-cious conscious precious gracious delicious vivacious
-tion nation solution affection option fiction
-ssion (ʃ)
discussion expression commission impression session
-sion (ʒ)
vision decision occasion conclusion provision
sh shoot shake shatter shop show
ch chocolate chow cheap chicken chime
-tch- = ch catch match latch witch ketchup
-dg- = j judge ledge bridge hedge badge
-ture (chur) mature fracture capture lecture rapture
creature texture posture mixture picture
sculpture culture fixture vulture moisture
future structure puncture feature nature
-eo- chameleon dungeon luncheon pigeon surgeon
people leopard Geoffrey theory yeoman
-eu- euphoria Eugene deuce feud pseudo
neutron therapeutic euphemism Pentateuch Zeus
-mb = m lamb comb climb tomb bomb
kn- = n know knight knee knock knob
gn = n gnat gnaw gnarl gnash gnostic
align arraign benign foreign design
bt = t subtle debt doubt doubtless doubtful
wr- = r write wrong wring wrap wreath
sc- = s science scissors scene crescent ascend
ps- = s psychology psalm psalter pseudonym psychiatry
pn- = n pneuma pneumonia pneumonic pneumatic pneumatology
ch = k ache echo chorus school stomach
chaos chemist orchid scheme mechanic
technology architect anchor monarch orchestra
f- k- p- s- x- -ed = “t” scoffed walked shopped hissed boxed
-s -es = “z” dogs slabs moms dads zones
-ks -ts -ps = “s” tacks lights taps mitts mops
-kes -pes -tes = “s” takes wipes likes bites writes
-fs -ss = “s” miss kiss bliss laughs gaffs

th – th

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θ — voiceless ð — voiced
thorn third this they
thin fourth that their
thirsty fifth these them
thief sixth those thy
theater seventh there thee
thaw eighth than thou
thing ninth then thine
thank tenth themselves thyself
thick eleventh
therapy twelfth another other
thrive thirteenth father scathe
think thirteen mother breathe
math thirty brother seethe
weather teethe
thousand thirtieth feather loathe
booth path leather gather
bath python tether either
teeth truth worthy rather
youth something bathe another
north panther clothe soothe
south marathon clothing smooth
both thermos
oath thunder thereabout the
strength thread thereafter therein
broth month thereunder thereby
wreath breath thereupon thereof
thigh through thenceforth thereon
thumb thought though thereto
mouth earth therefore therewith

Odd Spellings

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cry by to bee
dry my two be
fry me too
fly be who by
try he do buy
pry we shoe bye
why she
sly won their
spy hi one there
shy high once they’re
lieutenant Yosemite albeit been
colonel corps niche sugar
what queue facade ocean
island those quay tortoise
hors d’ oeuvres caveat mishap hare
read recipe awry guard
was debris epitome listen
of have elite christen
great Greenwich paradigm woman
laugh bologna choir women
could come kind breath
would some hind dread
should done mind bread
child does find half
mild comb wind calf
wild tomb bind behalf
olive affirmative pejorative aggressive
live correlative missive laxative
give offensive expensive expressive
cursive adjective explosive derivative
creative sensitive conclusive demonstrative

Verb Plural & Tense

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Continuous Present +ing Simple Present +s Simple Past +ed (regular)
(VERB) +ing
(long vowel)
(VERB) +s (VERB) +ed
eat → eating like → likes talk → talked
see → seeing see → sees add → added
walk → walking walk → walks chew → chewed
push → pushing run → runs earn → earned
rain → raining rain → rains fax → faxed
(VERB)  e  +ing (VERB) {s sh ch x o} +es (VERB) e +d
live → living cross → crosses fence → fenced
bake → baking fish → fishes gaze → gazed
come → coming hatch → hatches name → named
hide → hiding box → boxes pause → paused
write → writing go → goes taste → tasted
(VERB) ie→y +ing (VERB) y→i +es (VERB) y→i +ed
die → dying carry → carries carry → carried
tie → tying study → studies study → studied
lie → lying try → tries try → tried
vie → vying fly → flies fly → flied
belie → belying verify → verifies verify → verified
(VERB) DD +ing
(short vowel)
(VERB) {ay ey oy uy} +s (VERB) DD +ed
wrap → wrapping play → plays wrap → wrapped
chat → chatting portray → portrays mop → mopped
plan → planning obey → obeys chat → chatted
swim → swimming enjoy → enjoys plan → planned
win → winning buy → buys zip → zipped

Adjectives → Adverbs, Comparatives & Superlatives

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Adj. → Adv. (+ly)

(ADJ) +ly (ADJ) y → i +ly (ADJ) le → ly
bad → badly angry → angrily ample → amply
loud → loudly busy → busily feeble → feebly
smart → smartly happy → happily gentle → gently
quiet → quietly lucky → luckily simple → simply
slow → slowly noisy → noisily terrible → terribly

Adj. → Comp. (+er)
Only if not using more _

(ADJ) e +r / +er (ADJ) y→i +er (ADJ) DD +er / not ‘n’
quick → quicker sly → slier big → bigger
long → longer happy → happier fat → fatter
slow → slower easy → easier clean → cleaner
nice → nicer messy → messier mean → meaner

Adj. → Supl. (+est)
Only if not using most _

(ADJ) e +st / +est (ADJ) y→i +est (ADJ) DD +est / not ‘n’
quick → quickest sly → sliest big → biggest
long → longest happy → happiest fat → fattest
slow → slowest easy → easiest clean → cleanest
nice → nicest messy → messiest mean → meanest