English Pronunciation

Vowels: long o sound /oʊ/

Listen to the long o sound

ESL/ELL/EFL long o sound pronunciation

long o illustration

How to pronounce the long o sound

The long o is a two-sound vowel that ends in a brief w sound.

Part 1: The body of the tongue is pushed back and in a low-to-mid mouth position and the bottom teeth can be felt along the sides of the tongue.

Part 2: The sound moves into a w sound by raising the jaw slightly while closing the lips into a small circle. The body of the tongue moves upward until the tongue is near the back of the hard palate.

Common long o spellings

spelling example   other pronunciations for spelling
o_e (VCe)[1] joke

oa[1] boat

ow snow

ow sound (cow)
o (CVC)[1] most

short o (box)
aw sound (dog)

[1] o_e, oa, and o spellings with the letter r
When the common long o spellings are followed by the letter r or the consonant of the o_e spelling is the letter r (as in the words for, soar and more), the sound is more likely to be pronounced as the or sound instead of the long o sound followed by the r sound. If the or spelling occurs on an unstressed syllable (as in the words honor and factor), a schwa+r pronunciation is also possible.

The long o sound in suffixes


Non-phonetic long o words

The long o sound is underlined in the following words:

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letter o spelling, long o, short o, or aw sound

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Sound Practice

long o

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