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Six Ways to Spell the Long I Sound


One of the reasons why English spelling is so difficult to learn is because often the same sound is spelled in a variety of ways. In past blog posts we’ve looked at how to spell the long /a/ sound, the long /e/ sound, and the long /o/ sound.

Here are the six ways of spelling the long /i/ sound:

  1. Just the Letter I
    Some words spell the long /i/ sound with just the letter i. These words are usually more than one syllable long with the long /i/ sound is in the first syllable.

    Here are some examples:
    • item
    • idea
    • iron
    • irate
    • crisis
    • final
    • pilot
    • silent

A few of the words that spell the long /i/ sound with just the letter i are only one syllable long. These words end with –ind, for example: kind, mind, and wind. You can practise spelling –ind words here.

  1. A – E Words
    Most of the time the long /i/ sound is spelled with an i in the middle of the word and an e at the end of the word.

    Here are some examples:
    • bribe
    • wide
    • life
    • hike
    • reconcile
    • time
    • shine
    • gripe

You can practise spelling i – e words here and here.

  1. IGH Words
    Another way to spell the long /i/ sound is with the letters igh. In these words the g and h are silent letters.

    Here are some examples of the long /i/ sound spelled with the letters igh:
    • high
    • thigh
    • bright
    • knight
    • slight
    • nightmare
    • twilight
    • highlight

You can practise spelling igh words here.

  1. IG Words
    A few words spell the long /i/ sound with the letters ig. These words end with the letter n.
    Here are some examples of long /a/ words spelled with the letter ig:
    • sign
    • resign
    • design
    • consign
    • align
    • assign

You can practise spelling -ign words here.

  1. Y Words
    Often at the end of a word and sometimes in the middle of a word, the long /i/ sound is spelled with the letter y.

    Here are some examples:
    • by
    • dry
    • sly
    • shy
    • apply
    • deny
    • identify
    • multiply

    You can practise spelling y words here and here.

  2. IE Words
    In four words, the long /i/ sound is spelled with the letters ie at the end. More ie words are also made by adding a suffix to words ending with y.
    • tie
    • die
    • lie
    • pie
    • applied
    • denied
    • identified
    • multiplied

If you’d like to learn more about spelling long /i/ sounds, have a look at Unit 7 on our online spelling course. Subscribe to Spellzone for extra tips and plenty of practice.

Have a good week!


14 Dec 2016
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