Spelling the long vowel sound /ā/: a-e, ai, ei, ay

    /ā/as in ape Learning the long vowel sound a

Teaching point How to spell the long /ā/ sound:

1) In some words of more than one syllable you just need the letter a,
for example:

acorn apron alien agent basic basin data fatal

(more on this in the next Unit - Syllables: Vowel and Consonant Patterns)

2) Sometimes you need to add another letter, for example:

long vowel sound a long vowel sound a long vowel sound a long vowel sound a
a-e as in snake ai as in train ay as in pray ei as in reindeer
Add e on the end. Many words use a-e to spell the long /ā/ sound.
Some examples:
The next most common way is to use ai.


Some examples:
Use ay on the end of a word.



Some examples:
Only a few words use ei. (See Unit 21 for more on these words)

Some examples:
ale
ate*
grade
made*
trade
bake
brake*
shake*
stake*
male*
sale*
vale*
game
flame
frame
mane*
plane*
tape
grape
scrape
chase
gate*
grate*
plate
skate
paste
taste
waste*
brave
shave
blaze
graze
amaze
escape
inflate
translate
migrate
vibrate
behave
calculate
emigrate
estimate
hesitate

...and many more
aid
aim
paid
fail
mail*
sail*
tail*
snail
claim
main*
pain*
chain
plain*
stain
strain
vain*
wait*
gait*
paint
faint
waist*
again
afraid
entail
explain
complain
contain
detail
obtain
maintain
remain

...and many more
day
Sunday
Monday etc.
hay
lay
may
pay
ray
say
way*
clay
play
pray*
fray
tray
slay*
stay
sway
spray
stray
away
always
betray
dismay
display
decay
delay
essay
portray
relay

Rule breakers break spelling rules
grey (US gray)
prey*
they
obey
convey
survey
reins*
vein*
veil*
sheik*
(also sheikh)
reign*
neigh
weigh*
sleigh*
eight*
freight
weight*
Notes:
1) Words marked * are homophones. Please see page 6.
2) Words ending in -ace are in Unit 20.

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Some practice in spelling the long /ā/ sound
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Unit 7: Spelling the long vowel sounds

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Word lists and Games

a-e words - set 1
a-e words - set 2
ai words - set 1
ai words - set 2
ay words - set 1
ay words - set 2
American English spelling ay words - set 1
British English spelling ey and ei words
American English spelling ey and ei words