What Is the Difference Between Long and Short Vowels?

The sound of a long vowel is held longer in pronunciation than the sound of a short one. Whether the vowel is short or long depends on its position in the word and the letters around it, with short vowels being somewhat more common than long.

Long vowels are pronounced like the name of the vowel, as in the "a" in "bake," while short vowels have unique pronunciations associated with each of those letters. "Y" is sometimes considered a vowel, most frequently pronounced as a long or short "i," but taking either of the sounds of an "a" or an "e" in other instances.