Welcome to this Seattle Learning Academy video lesson.

How to pronounce the short i sound

The short i sounds like (short i). It's the vowel sound in the word sit (s sound, short i, t sound).

The short i sound is created with the tongue rounded upward. You'll probably be able to feel your top side teeth with the sides of your tongue.

(short i) sit (s sound, short i, t sound)
(short i) sit (s sound, short i, t sound)

Repeat the short i after me: (short i)

Our short i key word is sit: sit

When saying the short i sound, be careful that the front of the tongue isn't too high. If it's too high, a long e sound (long e) will result. Listen to the difference between the short i sound and the long e sound (short i, long e), ship/sheep, grin/green.

Common spellings

The short i sound has two common spellings: the consonant-i-consonant spelling and the consonant-y-spelling spelling.

Examples of consonant-i-consonant are:


The initial consonant is not necessary for the consonant-i-consonant spelling. So if I can have a short i sound in the word sit, I can also have it in the word it.

Examples of consonant-y-consonant include the words:


Be careful of the consonant-y-consonant spelling, though, because this spelling can also be used to spell the long i sound, which sounds like (long i). An example of this is the word cycle.

Short i in suffixes

The short i sound is also an unexpected vowel sound in of a number of common suffixes. While the -ing suffix is phonetic and pronounced /ɪŋ/, with a short i sound, just as we'd expect, the -ive, -ed, and -ate suffixes are less intuitive and have some considerable complications.

The -ive suffix is pronounced /ɪv/, with a short i sound, despite the final letter e. Listen to the -ive suffix in the following words:


The -ed is ending pronounced /ɪd/ with a short i sound when -ed follows a d sound or a t sound. Listen to the -ed ending in the following words:


Examples of words with the -ed ending pronounced without a vowel sound include the words dressed and smiled.

Finally, listen to the -ate suffix, pronounced /ɪt/, with a short i sound, in the following words:


The -ate suffix is especially tricky because it's only pronounced as /ɪt/ when it's used for adjectives (like accurate and passionate) or nouns (like certificate).

When the -ate suffix is used for verbs, it's pronounced as /eɪt/ with the long a sound. Examples include evaluate and decorate. This is unusual; most suffixes don't have different pronunciations based on parts of speech.

Non-phonetic words

In addition to the complex suffix patterns for the short i sound, there are also a few non-phonetic words to be aware of. The following words are all pronounced with a short i sound though we couldn't guess it based on their spelling:



  1. with
  2. this
  3. still
  4. since
  5. kid
  6. win
  7. pick
  8. city
  9. listen
  10. sister
  11. visit
  12. middle
  13. kitchen
  14. finish
  15. specific

Thank you for watching this Seattle Learning Academy video lesson.

EXIT: a kitten sitting in the kitchen