English Vowels

Under­stand Eng­lish Vow­els – Fine Tune Your Knowl­edge

Did you know that Eng­lish vow­els in cer­tain word end­ings have dif­fer­ent mean­ings?

If you know the mean­ings, it's eas­i­er to under­stand what  the word means, and to pro­nounce the word cor­rect­ly. This helps you speak more clear­ly, and helps you speak Eng­lish bet­ter if you know what end­ing to apply. As well as this, it gives your Eng­lish com­pre­hen­sion a boost!

The Eng­lish vow­els in most vow­el word end­ings are pro­nounced with the schwa vow­el /ə/ that makes the last syl­la­ble the weak form or de-stressed form. So the vow­el isn't said as it's writ­ten . It's said as the schwa vow­el- a short ‘u' sound. 

Let's have a look at some.

Eng­lish Vow­els In Word End­ings and Their Mean­ings

      Mean­ing     Noun End­ings             Exam­ples
 One who…..    ant,  ent,  er    ser­vant, pres­i­dent, teacher (Amer­i­can accent- the ‘er'  in teacher is said as ‘er' not as a weak syl­la­ble-schwa )
 One who prac­tices….    ist    pianist
 State or qual­i­ty of Being……  age  stop­page, wreck­ing, mar­riage
 ance  dis­tance, entrance, impor­tance
 ancy  expectan­cy
 ence  pref­er­ence, patience, dif­fer­ence
 ency  excel­len­cy
 ice  ser­vice


  Mean­ing   Adjec­tive End­ings         Exam­ples
 Relat­ing to…….  al  nat­ur­al, spe­cial, offi­cial
 Inclined to……  ant  impor­tant
 ent  excel­lent, com­pe­tent, rev­er­ent
 ish  child­ish, fool­ish
 Can be…..  able  com­fort­able, change­able, eat­able
 ible  vis­i­ble, edi­ble
 Full of….  ous  ner­vous, famous, dan­ger­ous
 y  mud­dy ( the ‘y' is said clear­ly as ‘ee' or ‘i' and not said week­ly )
That which was…. ed baked, walked
 en  stolen, eat­en, bro­ken

So please pay atten­tion when you're pro­nounc­ing the Eng­lish vow­els end­ings. Say them with the schwa vow­el or de-stress them (except for the ones I have not­ed as not the de-stressed form).

Best wish­es, Esther

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Aus­tralian Accent

British Accent

Amer­i­can Accent