What Are Long and Short U Vowels? The English language works in a funny manner. Long and short u vowels are few of those instances. Now, what is the concept behind them? Its simple, if there is a word where you must say “Ew”, then it's a long U word. If you don't have to but there is a U present in the spelling, then it's a short U word. Let us give you some examples: Long U Words: Students, rude, stupid, cute, etc. See what happened? You literally have to say Ew in them. Short U Words: Cup, mug, hug, uncle, etc. You don't even feel like there is u there, but spelling-wise it is there. So its essential that your students grasp the concept of these words. There are kids who mispronounce short U words like they are the long ones.
As far as "Long u" vowels you will also see that the u_e combination, ew, and oo can make the same sound as a standard long u. Did you know the noun with the longest number of letters? It's a hill in New Zealand. It is called: Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwenuakitnatahu. Come on Kiwi-land you couldn't curb the letters, just a bit? The most common long "u" words are: music, student, use, cute, huge, tube, rule and flute. The most common short "u" words are: bud, bug, cut, cup, fun, jug, run and tug.