Long i and short i sounds in English

the letter i

All vowels in English can be pronounced with either a short sound and or a long sound. For example: “paper” and “paternity”. Today, let’s work on the vowel “i” which tends to be difficult for French speakers. First, let’s review all English vowels together: a, e, i, o, u.

Short “i”, like SIT — Long “i”, like BIKE

Here are some words with the long “i” first, then the short “i”:

  • file/fill
  • mice/miss
  • fight/fit
  • night/knit

Short “i” sound, like SIT

imagine, engine, famine, pig, quick, bit, zip, hill, brick, sick

Long “i” sound, like BIKE

bike, stripe, file, night, bright, light, site, high, why, fly, apply, satisfy

Practice: make a sentence with the following words:

sit / site

hit / height

pin / pine

file / fill

fight / fit

Some words have both sounds in the same word: crisis [cry-sis]