500 Common Words: U in Up, the Schwa Sound

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The schwa sound is the most common sound in English. It is our neutral vowel. This means that the mouth remains in a neutral, relaxed position. The IPA symbol is ə.

The easy part is the sound. The hard part is the spelling. Because this is our neutral sound, it can be spelled with any vowel. We frequently use this sound in words that have become very common and on unstressed syllables.

Use the video to listen and repeat common words.

The Words

a, about, above, again, ago, among, appear, bird, blood, but, certain, color, come, common, complete, contain, correct, country, cover, develop, direct, does, done, during, early, earth.

* If a word has more than one vowel, the schwa sound is in bold print.