English Pronunciation

Vowels: long u sound /ju/

Listen to the long u sound

ESL/ELL/EFL long u sound pronunciation |

long u illustration

How to pronounce the long u sound

The long u is a 2-sound vowel similar to a y sound followed by an oo sound.

Part 1: The long u begins with the jaw mostly closed and tip of the tongue very close to the tooth ridge (similar to a y sound).

Part 2: The sound transitions into an oo sound by closing the lips into a small circle while lowering the front of the tongue. At the same time as the front of the tongue lowers, the back of the tongue raises.

Common long u spellings

The spellings for long u and oo sound are quite similar. (The oo sound has one additional spelling, oo.)

spelling example   other pronunciations for spelling
u_e (VCe)[1] cute

oo sound (rude)
ue[1][2] fuel

oo sound (clue)
ew[1] few

oo sound (chew)

[1] A long u spelling is generally pronounced as a long u (not an oo sound) sound when it comes after the following consonant sounds:

  • m sound
  • k sound
  • f sound
  • b sound
  • v sound
  • h sound

Following other consonant sounds, these spellings are more likely to be pronounced as the oo sound.

[2] ue spelling
The -ue spelling is usually silent when it occurs at the end of a word and follows the letters g, ng, or q (examples include the words fatigue, tongue, and unique). An exception is the word argue, which ends in a long u sound.

The long u sound in suffixes


Non-phonetic long u words

The long u sound is underlined in the following words:

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Long Vowel Minimal Sets


u_e spelling, oo sound or long u

Long Vowels Minimal Sets

Sound Practice

long u

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