English pronunciation mistake – long and short “u”

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In my Pronunciation and Shadowing Courses, I evaluate each student’s pronunciation. One common mistake I’ve noticed is related to the letter “u” – several students have pronounced the word “public” more like pooblic. In today’s lesson you’re going to learn and practice the difference between the “long U sound” and the “short U sound.”

Short “U” sound

Examples – listen and repeat:

  • public
  • but
  • cup
  • lucky
  • fun
  • hug
  • truck
  • underwear
  • uncle
  • ugly

Long “U” sound

Examples – listen and repeat:

  • rude
  • stupid
  • tube
  • student
  • flute
  • June
  • include
  • rule
  • tulip
  • duty

Note: this same sound is also spelled in several other ways, such as “oo” (food), “ew” (news), and “ue” (blue).

How can you tell if a “U” has a long or short sound?

In general, the pattern is:

  • “u” + consonant + vowel = Long “u” sound
  • “u” + consonant + (end of word) = Short “u” sound
  • “u” + consonant + consonant = Short “u” sound

This is why it’s important to listen to English in addition to just reading it, so that you will have better pronunciation!

Speak English more clearly & confidently!

American English Pronunciation Course

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