A long vowel is a vowel sound that is pronounced the same way as the name of the letter itself. For example, the long U sound is pronounced like "yoo," as would be the case in words like "lure" and "tube." By contrast, the short U sound is pronounced more like "uh," as in words like "cub" and "tub."
Long vowel words, then, are words that contain a long vowel sound. It's important to note that the spelling of a word and the way it sounds don't always match up so perfectly. Words like "few" and "beauty" also contain the long U sound. Similarly, the long A sound in "bake" and "gate" can also be spelled like "ay" (as in "pay") or "ai" (as in "paid"), among other variations.
To understand this further, let's look at some more examples of long vowel words.
Now that you understand long vowels, check out this Vowel Words chart to find vowels with each of the long vowel pronounciation sounds:
A great way to understand how long vowel words work is to see them in action in full sentences.
The long A sound is featured in the words in bold.
The long E sound is featured in the words in bold.
The long I sound is featured in the words in bold.
The long O sound is featured in the words in bold.
The long U sound is featured in the words in bold.
The English language is filled with all sorts of confusing words. The word "read" can rhyme with "fed" (short E sound), but it can also rhyme with "seed" (long E sound), depending on which verb tense you're trying to use with "read." As you continue to brush up on your knowledge of vowels and how they work, why not study words that end in a silent E? There are a lot of them! For something more creative, check out these assonance examples too.