So-called “short u”
The so-called “short u” sound is an informal term that means the short sound of the letter u which is IPA phoneme /ʌ/.
- Examples: strut, butter, cultivate
The term “short u” should only be used when the spelling is actually “u”. It's confusing to say "love is pronounced with short u". If this sentence had to be spoken it would be better to say "love is pronounced with the STRUT vowel". Alternatively it could be said "love is pronounced like the short sound of the letter u".
The terms “long u” and “short u” are not recommended is because the opposition between /ʌ/ and /juː/ (“long u”) is not only a difference in length, but mainly a difference in quality.
- as the last vowel: adult, bun, bus, but, cut, fun, gun, just, luck, lunch, much, must, result, run, stuff, such, sun, truck, up, us
- u followed by a double consonant C1C1: butter, summer, tunnel
- with a suffix a single letter is doubled: cutter, funny, runner, sunny
- u followed by two different consonants (VC1C2): husband, number, Sunday, thunder, under
- with a suffix two letters are unchanged: lucky, lunched, resulting
- Exceptional case: u followed by one consonant and a vowel (VCV): study
|“Short”||“Long”||Long rhotic monophthong
“Short” vowel spelling
“Long” vowel spelling
|A||/æ/ trap||/eɪ/ face||/ɑː/ start||/eə/ square||/æ/ carry|
|E||/e/ dress||/iː/ we||/ɜː/ term||/ɪə/ here||/e/ cherry|
|I||/ɪ/ kit||/aɪ/ price||/ɜː/ girl||/aɪə/ fire||/ɪ/ mirror|
|O||/ɒ/ lot||/əʊ/ hope||/ɔː/ north||/ɔː/ store||/ɒ,BrE ɔːAmE/ torrid|
|U||/ʌ/ strut||/juː/ cute||/ɜː/ nurse||/jʊə/ cure||/ʌ,BrE ɜːAmE/ hurry|